The Queen is right – our national religion is a force for unity and a channel of peace.
William Blake famously asked “And did those feet, in ancient time, / Walk upon England’s mountains green?” The short, factual answer is, almost certainly, “No.” There is no evidence that Jesus ever made it to these shores.
If you have the cast of mind of Richard Dawkins, that’s it, end of subject. Jesus didn’t come here, and it is pernicious to have silly fantasies about it. Anyway, you say, Jesus is not the Son – or, as Blake’s next lines state, the Lamb – of God. It’s all a delusion, and the Professor Richard Dawkins Foundation for Enlightening People Stupider Than Professor Richard Dawkins has just proved by statistics that people calling themselves Christians know little about their faith and don’t believe most of what it teaches.
But of course this sort of approach does not satisfy most people. England, Britain, Jesus, God, poetry, identity, truth, faith – they are all mixed up somehow, and we care about them, even if it is hard to express why.
There is a great deal of talk around about faith, and why it matters for our society. In the past week, it has come not only from the Queen, in an interestingly strong intervention, but also from the Tory chairman, Baroness Warsi, who is a Muslim. Taking coals to Newcastle, Lady Warsi went to Rome to tell the Pope that Europe should become “more confident” in its Christianity. The former home secretary, Charles Clarke, is an agnostic, but he is chairing a series of debates with the excellent think tank Theos to promote the importance of faith in our public affairs. Before Christmas, David Cameron, asserting that Britain remained a Christian country, defended faith on the grounds that “we can’t fight something with nothing”. Read more
News category: Opinion.