Hitchens defeats Tony Blair in debate on whether religion is a force for good

He appeared to win over the audience, which voted two-to-one in his favour following the debate, which argued the motion “be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world”.

Mr Blair, 57, who became a practising Christian while studying at Oxford University, said: “It is undoubtedly true that people commit horrific acts of evil in the name of religion.

“It is also undoubtedly true that people do acts of extraordinary common good inspired by religion.”

He pointed to the good done by faith based organisations, including the millions of lives saved in Africa and care for the mentally ill, disabled and destitute.