The initial reporting of Cameron's speech to the church of england in which he talked about Britain's Christian heritage didn't really bother me, a conservative pushing "Christian values"? Hardly all that new. But, I've been reading up on what he actually said, and there are two issues I have with it.
It's the old argument of where do we get our morality from, and the religious crowd will often claim their book to be the only true source of morality. We know there are many problems with this, we'll read the bible today and just shrug off the fact that the Bible will teach you that killing people for their sexuality is ok, that killing people who don't share your belief is ok, that killing people for their sexual practices is ok, also, did you know? Slavery is cool too.
But no, Cameron and those alike will ignore those bits, they'll pick out the nice agreeable statements on from the bible. People in support of gay marriage, such as Mr Cameron will interpret or simply ignore that parts of the book they proclaim should be a basis of our societies morality. What exactly are they doing when they cherry pick the good bits of their bible out? They're creating and determining their own morality. Something that people have been doing since well before the invention of magical sky wizards and virgin births.
They pick out the morals and teachings that have been common across civilisations that existed well before christianity and other religions, or civilisations that simply had never been in contact with such religions. But because of the need to survive in an increasingly secular Britain, religious groups claim these as their own. I'm not denying there are some nice teachings in these religious books, I'm arguing that they're not exclusively Christian values.
They're human values. Values that have evolved with us, we no longer accept that slavery is an ok thing to do, we no longer accept that the racial and sexual discrimination is ok, because we have developed our own values based on what we observe, we know there is no justifiable reason behind racial or sexual discrimination, and thus as a society, we have decided that it isn't ok.
Claiming these as "Christian" values is not only wrong, it's simply unhelpful in a multi-cultural Britain, a Britain full of various different faiths and lack of faith. (more below)
Britain is a Christian country
Officially, yes. Britain is a Christian country. We have a state religion, and I have little problem with that. The Church of England is perhaps the best thing for a secularist, it's full of moderates who have adapted their view of the bible to reflect scientific discovery and societies evolution. It is something that damages religion, it doesn't aid its growth, it aids its downfall. As much as moderates like to criticise fundamentalists, it is those who are helping the cause of the religion more than they are.
But the comments, in context of claiming Britain needs to put more importance on Christian values, are labelling Britain to actually be a Christian country, which implies that the population is one that puts the same importance of those Christian values and principles high up in their life. But this couldn't be further from the truth. Practicing Christians are of an absolute minority, and the figures of the various religious surveys, including preliminary data based on how people answered the 2011 census are showing even those who label themselves are Christian are no longer a majority in this country in the 18 - 35 age bracket, with their bracket claiming a smaller portion than those who claim to be 'non-religious'.
I won't put too much importance on this strange phenomena that pushes people to label themselves under a certain religion, but don't actually believe in their God/s, but label themselves because they feel as a culture, part of this religion. "Culturally Christian" is a term usually used by these people, which is enforced by comments like those made by David Cameron. It's a phenomena that people are waking up to, realising it's stupidity in a modern world where religion is struggling to remain relevant.
That is the non-religious perspective, but then we look at those of other religions. Islam, the second largest religion in the country, but one that still is a minority relatively. It is said to have a large percentage of practicing muslims in comparison to the entire religious population. What about Hinduism? Buddhism? Jewish? Sikhism? Forcing this label on a country doesn't help divisions within these different cultures and faiths, it doesn't help the need for better integration within some communities, something Cameron himself has talked about in the past.
This is a categorisation that marginalises MORE of the population than it includes. David Cameron's determination to push Christianity to a higher position than it currently holds in British society is wrong. Pulling up Britain's Christian history is irrelevant, we move on, it's something certain groups of politicians often have issues with, this looking back to a "better britain", a golden age in which Britain held a much higher position in the world, the highest in fact. They make the correlation between a higher religious importance back then, and Britain's international success at expanding its empire and try to bring it all back again.
I had gained a little more respect from me after his comment at the tory conference the other week "I don't support gay marriage despite being a conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a conservative" It implied he, himself didn't put much importance on his own religion, but I guess that's gone.
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