Sunday, April 23, 2006

Men Without Religion ...

"Just can't keep in a righteous man's position."

Joel Edwards of the Evangelical Alliance expands this Gregory Isaacs theme.

"Politicians are happy to embrace the pragmatic benefits of Britain’s faith communities who now have a seat at every conceivable table of policy making in Britain. But this is happening precisely at a time when the volume of legislation is going against the values of religious communities on a whole range of moral issues from abortion and human sexuality to family life and education. Public servants want our goods but not necessarily our gods.

If we are to build better communities based on Respect, the idea that we are congenitally and corporately Fallen is a politically astute starting point. It means that mass murders, child abuse, racial intolerance or company fraud may disappoint us deeply but they will never shock us as we legislate against them. Politicians don’t have to preach about ‘sin’ and ‘Fallen-ness’ but these spiritual signposts should not be defaced in the name of progress or professionalism.

Consequently, Christian faith suggests that a recovery of a ‘culture of respect’ begins with a renewal of our Fallen-ness or at least recognition of our need for it. Great transitions in British culture have taken place as a result of changed values which have been internalised. This was true of the Reformation, Wesley’s revival and Wilberforce’s mission to abolish slavery and see a ‘reformation of manners’ As the French philosopher Tocqueville affirmed in his 18th century studies of American life it was the ‘habits of the heart’ which shaped the culture of the people"

Amen to that.

"Inevitably the individualisation of choice yields a harvest of personal moralities. Quiet simply it’s hard to know what’s right from wrong. Our society had a long run-up to our dysfunctional society. Asbo’s were a long time coming. A 1940 survey amongst teachers showed that the seven most serious matters for them included chewing gum, running in corridors and dropping litter. By comparison in 1990 teachers were complaining of problems such as guns, alcohol, suicide and assault"

"One thing is clear: in the absence of a moral consensus and apart from a willingness to share a common ancestry in God, legislation will fail to arrest our growing culture of disrespect."

"Philip Johnson is right to point out that since 1997 we have had over two dozen criminal justice acts introducing a catalogue of offences. “If the first wave of initiatives failed,” he asks, “why should the new measures succeed; and if they are working, why do we need even more?”[17] It is a reasonable question. In pursuing a new culture of respect the Government would do better to put more resources on informing attitudes rather than added to the maze of legislation."

Bang, bang, bang. Nails smacked firmly on head.

Joel Edwards came here from Jamaica when he was nine years old. If there are any Church of England bishops with his vision, or with his knowledge of British history and culture, they're keeping remarkably quiet about it.


AntiCitizenOne said...

If you think forcing people to submit to an invisible bully will make any difference then you are "having a laugh"

A better target to attack would be the culture of entitlement that grows up around coerced-collectivism (socialism).

Cyrus said...


In view of the link to the Jesus Army site, I'd like to remind you what Theodore Dalrymple wrote about them in a piece which I found via a link on your site:

This aside, although I'm not an evangelical I agree with a lot of what Joel Edwards says.

Stephen Newton said...

He takes a very long time to get there, but all Edwards is saying is that a common religion is essential to the creation of a common moral code.

This is nonsense.

It also shows how weak the argument for God has become: 'believe not because it's true, but because it's good for you.'

Larry Teabag said...

So self-hating liberals bad, evangelical Christians wallowing in their Fallen-ness good. Got it.

"If you don't believe what I say then you're evil" seems to be the gist of it - standard Christian-Right fare really.