There has been a lot said about the debate between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair. Ian Linden at the Guardian has a good take on this.
Religion creates a framework in which it is possible to love extravagantly, to be a champion of compassion, to sacrifice self-interest and even self, to be a saint. It makes it possible to do the unsafe, to risk, to live on the margins, to allow hope to be the only security, above all to forgive.
Religion it is not so much a “force for good in the world” as an inspiration to strive for, a pursuit of goodness. It holds out the possibility of an alternative world and a new humanity.
The article is well worth reading.