Thursday, August 12, 2010

Political or Religious?

Many people around the Blogsphere are re-posting this fine article by Johann Hari he talks about how British Christianity is suffering a slow whiny death and that it's about time we had a proper secular constitution in our green and pleasant land.

I must say I agree with him. It's about time the official "Church" of England decides if it's an extension of the Conservative party or an actual religion. If the latter then I think it needs to work a lot more on it's reason d'etre or the trends suggest that what Hari is saying will more than likely come true (as much as David Cameron is desperate to reverse it). If however it's the political path it craves then it needs to stop pretending to be a religion, drop the charity status, publish an anti-gay, anti-abortion, unequal-rights manifesto (if that's what it really stands for), let go of the schools and say goodbye to the unelected privileges given to its Bishops in the house of Lords.

Here is a quick excerpt from the article so you can get a flavour,

And now congregation, put your hands together and give thanks, for I come bearing Good News. Britain is now the most irreligious country on earth. This island has shed superstition faster and more completely than anywhere else. Some 63 percent of us are non-believers, according to an ICM study, while 82 percent say religion is a cause of harmful division. Now, let us stand and sing our new national hymn: Jerusalem was dismantled here/ in England's green and pleasant land.

How did it happen? For centuries, religion was insulated from criticism in Britain. First its opponents were burned, then jailed, then shunned. But once there was a free marketplace of ideas, once people could finally hear both the religious arguments and the rationalist criticisms of them, the religious lost the British people. Their case was too weak, their opposition to divorce and abortion and gay people too cruel, their evidence for their claims non-existent. Once they had to rely on persuasion rather than intimidation, the story of British Christianity came to an end.


G said...

Extension of the Tory party? I'm about the only Anglican I know who would admit that I supported them. To a man, woman and vicar, the rest seem to be either Labour or - more likely - Lib Dem.

Personally, I'm ready for disestablishment any time. We have no rights over the law.

Steve Borthwick said...

G, perhaps I should have said the Tory party assumes it is..

I agree with you, disestablishment would be rational and fair, I think we are in a minority though.