Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Unchristian Britain? It's not quite as simple as it seems

Cristina Odone at The Telegraph [here] says of Christians in Britain, "only those willing to experience martyrdom or pariah status dare speak of their Christianity."

She's right - up to a point. The problem the Church faces, of course, is that there has been a kind of unacknowledged, bloodless (in more senses than one) coup d'etat amongst those sometimes described as "the metropolitan elite" - aka the sceptics, with whom many of us were at University, who are now running both the media and academe.

This rings true for one coming of age in the the early 1980s: 
"...Middle-aged British Christians were raised in a world of familiar values and rituals: the justice system, charitable bodies, schools, holy days, church on Sundays… even Parliament and the Queen were steeped in a common Christian spirit. Being a Christian then was difficult — to love my neighbour as myself was as tricky in 1984 as it is in 2014; but the whole of the Establishment, its laws and leading figures and even its media, supported these values and were rooting for Christians to practice them.
Today, in our era of unbelief, the Establishment has withdrawn its support of Christian values. Those at the helm relentlessly push assisted suicide, refuse to prosecute 67 GPs who signed abortion consent forms illegally, try to ban faith schools, even try to edit the sacraments to include gay marriage...."
The truth is that, whereas there is  no instinctive hostility to the Christian faith among the general population (indifference is another matter, but it was always thus..), access to the media among those who would advocate a reasoned defence (as of a reasonable faith) of credally orthodox Christianity has been severely restricted, whereas the true extremists - the media darlings of liberalism (yes, admittedly, probably a majority of contemporary Anglican bishops - blame our desperately degraded system of theological education) and their much-needed fundamentalist mirror images - are granted most of the air time. The sight and sound of liberal 'reformers' in debate with with tolerant, convinced but reasoned (that word again) upholders of the historic tradition would simply not reinforce the prejudices our current crop of broadcasters wish to perpetuate. We underestimate at our peril  just how dependent members of the general public are for their sources of information on television, radio and (to a far lesser degree) the print media.   

Whereas the P.B.I. of the Church (look it up, if you need to: here's a timely link) just gets on with its work .... yet the way we are misrepresented, partly by the self-perpetuating         broadcasting oligarchy we ourselves help to fund, makes that already Sisyphean task more difficult as each year passes ...

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