Monday, 21 April 2014

When secularists start running leper colonies we should take their attack on Cameron seriously

An assortment of ‘liberal’ journalists, scientists and celebrities have today accused David Cameron of risking causing ‘alienation’ in society by saying Britain is a ‘Christian country’.

The 50 signatories to a letter to the Daily Telegraph say that Britain is largely a ‘non-religious society’ and warn about the ‘negative consequences for politics and society’ that the Prime Minister’s comments engender.

Interestingly, other faith leaders have defended Cameron. Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has spoken of the UK’s ‘deep historical and structural links’ to Christianity and Anil Bhanot, managing director of the Hindu Council UK, said he is ‘very comfortable’ with the PM’s description. Ironically, the Muslims and Hindus appear more tolerant than the ‘liberals’.

On one level the 50 correspondents are correct. The overwhelming majority of people in this country do not hold to core historic teachings of the Christian faith such as those we celebrate at Easter - Jesus’ divinity, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and return in judgement. Biblical teaching on ethics is also increasingly falling out of favour at a practical level – witness Britain’s family breakdown, spiralling rates of abortions and sexually transmitted diseases, epidemics of alcohol misuse, gambling, debt and obsession with celebrity culture, personal peace and material things.

In fact David Cameron has himself described his faith as fading and reappearing ‘like Magic FM in the Chilterns’.  His support of same sex marriage, his weakness on opposing abortion and defending Christian conscience along with his glaring omission of any reference to Christ’s death and resurrection in his Easter address make it highly likely that Jesus and his apostles would not have recognised the PM’s faith as orthodox. He may profess Christianity, but as I have previously argued, actually fails Luther’s test of confession.

But at another level the prime minister is quite correct about Britain being ‘Christian’. After all, 59% of Britons still self-identify as Christians according to the 2011 ONS survey. And there is no doubt that Christian influence on British society has been immense.

In his speech on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Cameron said that the Bible had ‘bequeathed a body of language that permeates every aspect of our culture and heritage… from everyday phrases to our greatest works of literature, music and art’.

Our politics too, he said, owed to Christianity everything from ‘human rights and equality to our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy’ and ‘from the role of the church in the first forms of welfare provision, to the many modern day faith-led social action projects’. Not only did it place the 'first limits on Royal Power’ but, even more significantly, ‘the knowledge that God created man in his own image was… a game changer for the cause of human dignity and equality’.

Cameron correctly echoed Margaret Thatcher who once said, ‘we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible’ and illustrated this with a list of foundational Christian values including ‘responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love…pride in working for the common good and honouring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities…’

All of which raises the question why these 50 atheists and secular humanists are so incensed by the Prime Minister’s references to the Christian faith. Is there a deeper issue here?

Telegraph blogger Toby Young has rather provocatively suggested that ‘the liberal metropolitan elite’ despise Christianity because it poses a challenge to their moral authority. These people constitute ‘a secular priesthood’ , he argues, who see ‘anything that suggests there might be a higher source of authority than them when it comes to matters of right and wrong’ as ‘a direct challenge to their status’.  What greater threat to our moral status than the ‘God-man’ Jesus Christ who asserted that he was both our Saviour and Judge?

But is there, perhaps, also a hint of jealousy? Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), the late journalist and author was a secular humanist for most of his life (before a late Christian conversion), but, like the PM, was honest about Christianity’s social impact. He said, ‘I’ve spent a number of years in India and Africa where I found much righteous endeavour undertaken by Christians of all denominations; but I never, as it happens, came across a hospital or orphanage run by the Fabian Society, or a humanist leper colony’.

Come to think of it, the secularists haven’t actually been at the forefront of the sort of community-led initiatives the PM has been praising either – where are the secularist food banks, night shelters, street pastors, debt-counsellors and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres?

So my challenge to the 50 secularists is this – bleat as much as you like, but if you really want to be taken as seriously as Christ himself as a life-changing and community-transforming force, then please demonstrate to us how secularism can transform societies and communities for good? Where is the historical legacy? Where is the evidence that secularism is a positive society-transforming power? 

After all, actions speak louder than words. And Jesus said that the real test of a tree was its fruit.   

20 comments:

  1. "but I never, as it happens, came across a hospital or orphanage run by the Fabian Society, or a humanist leper colony"

    Love it

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  2. Actually I have met a Fabian who runs projects in women's prisons. She is also Christian, mind. Probably not good to stereotype people, eh? ;-)

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  3. Doc

    Superb article!

    'What greater threat to our moral status than the ‘God-man’ Jesus Christ who asserted that he was both our Saviour and Judge?'

    There we have the problem of the political elites since time immemorial.

    The political elites, once they assume power, believe as if (in the Hegelian sense) the State is the moral Absolute. That is, political power alone decides what is right and wrong: the legal and fiction of homosexual 'marraige' (for example).

    Every time a political leader and his caste have faced Jesus and the Judaeo-Christians it has been one unmitigated disaster after another.

    Now let's see some of those on the casualty list:

    1. The Caesars;
    2. King Charles I;
    3. King George III;
    4. Hitler;

    For example.

    Next up?

    1. Obama;
    2. Cameron;
    3. The entire leadership of Red China;
    4. That pot-bellied dictator in North Korea: oink, oink.

    As a 'heathen' I am beginning to understand why the Judaeo-Christians win.

    They have no conception of ultimate defeat: their LORD cannot be executed twice - and neither can they (because of the ressurection).

    I hope that all my enemies may be hypocritical Judaeo-Christians.

    It is the practising Judaeo-Christian: I most fear.

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    Replies
    1. Further, I can now see why the Judaeo-Christian keeps on winning.

      When your enemy asks to be forgiven by your LORD, He forgives without consulting you Judaeo-Christians as the victims.

      That must mean that every time someone spits on or hits a practising Judaeo-Christian he has spat on or hit Jesus himself - first.

      The historic example being that man from Tarsus, Saul, later known as Paul.

      My.

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    2. This is really irking me.

      If my 'thought-path' is correct - by rejecting this Jesus of yours - its continuation of it means my defeat and ultimate ruin.

      This Jesus of yours is no meek, mild mannered, gentleman.

      Coming from a Sikh background (a soldier's religion and worshipping that moment between Life and Death on the battlefield) - this LORD of yours must be the ultimate warrior.

      This 'Man-God' is truly what my ancestors sought to find - and died without ever knowing Him: the 'Universal Soldier'.

      Delete
  4. Of course secularism is transforming communities for good. Without presenting an extensive list, Oxfam, The British Red Cross, MSF, UNICEF, are just the first secular charities that spring to mind. That is not to say they do not have people of faith working for them, however religious conviction is not a driving force behind any of these organisations.

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    Replies
    1. 'Of course secularism is transforming communities for good.'

      It has been tried :

      Stalinist Russia - persecution of Jews.

      Nazi Germany - persecution of Jews.

      Now - Jews in eastern Europe must register.

      Yes?

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    2. I think you'll find Oxfam was started by the quakers

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    3. Henry Dunant and Gustave Moynier, co-founders of the International Red Cross Movement, were Calvinists in their upbringing. Dunant, in his final years, became anti-religions and an athiest (source: wikipedia)

      Delete
    4. 'I think you'll find Oxfam was started by the quakers'.

      My reading of history is that when the Quakers preached, in yesteryear, the earth quaked.

      Now all that the peole hear from them is a deafening silence - and a faint rustling of their dresses to marry homosexuals.

      Tell me 'Christian' am I correct?

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    5. 'Dunant, in his final years, became anti-religions and an athiest (source: wikipedia)'

      Does that mean that the foundational humanitarian principles (a matter of historical record) of the Red Cross (the symbol of Christ's execution) lose their power for the historian?

      If a single Hindu converted to Judaeo-Christianity - would that suggest Hinduism is a false religion?

      Or five?

      Or ten?

      Or fifty?

      Delete
    6. 'however religious conviction is not a driving force behind any of these organisations'.

      Then why bother since evolutionary theory is the alternative (and Darwin's conception of racial superiority).

      After all in such a conception of origins, the victims of famine, earthquake and war are a mere collection of cells.

      Cells die, renew and die.

      What a waste of effort by these organisations - and as taxpayers we must cease to fund them in order to be consistent with Darwinian theory.

      Delete
    7. You 'white left-liberal-progressive' boys have been the subtle race supremacists for nearly two hundred years:

      On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

      Charles Darwin, M.A.,

      Fellow of the Royal, Geological, Linnæan, etc. societies; Author of Journal of researches during H. M. S. Beagle's Voyage round the world. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1859

      Delete
    8. To the civil servants and particularly the 'Equality and Diversity' officers at the Treasury - Blair and Brown rubbed the noses of the 'social conservative' in Diversity.

      Ah! But you rub the noses of blacks and Asians - with the circulation of the Charles Darwin £10 note in racism: 'Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life'.

      Say, Nick Griffin you bankrupt!

      Eat your heart kid.


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    9. Are you kidding? No secular charities? Just about every single charity out there- I would argue that the Christian charities are the minority? Since when were cancer research or the teenage cancer trust or the british heart foundation religious charities? I am proud to be British and will accept that historically it is a Christian country but to say that now is to offend all of us that are not Christian. Our faith or lack of, is not what makes us British. Also the qualities listed "responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love…pride in working for the common good and honouring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities…" are certainly not exclusively Christian, funnily enough people can decide ALL BY THEMSELVES that they are going to be a good person.

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    10. 'people can decide ALL BY THEMSELVES that they are going to be a good person'.

      A liitle more observation and a little less ignorance would make you look grown-up.

      Fathers have to constantly remind their children to be good.

      Delete
  5. The AHA did great work in Haiti after the disaster - great work to prevent the spread of cholera.

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  6. Great article! straight to the point as always :-)

    There was one thing about that "open letter" that puzzled me though.

    Why wasn't Richard Dawkins' name on the list of signatories?

    Can anyone shed light?

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  7. Regarding the AHA's "great" work in Haiti - they raised 50.000 dollars and made a big song and dance about that. This does not even start to compare with the funds raised by Christian and Jewish charities for purposes relating to Haiti and earthquake - many with donations in the range of many million dollars. See here:

    https://philanthropy.com/article/Haiti-Earthquake-Relief-How/125912/

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  8. thanks for sharing and your opinion..

    ReplyDelete

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