December 21, 2005


Stop apologising for being Christian (Simon Heffer, The Telegraph, December 21st, 2005)

So, in common with many who have suffered from the secularisation of the European mind since the mid-19th century, I must make my way down the Cresta Run to the grave without the considerable comfort of religion. However, as I do so, I rejoice wholeheartedly as an atheist that I live in a Christian culture, and I know that, in that undeniably hypocritical act, I am not alone.

Indeed, it is not just those who, like me, were born into Christian families who feel this way: so do many Muslims and Jews, and it is one of the reasons that they are so happy to live in our country and be surrounded by that culture.

It is bewildering, therefore, that there should apparently be people here who take such offence at Christmas, and against whom a brace of archbishops feel the need to take up their croziers. I suspect they are very few in number and exert an influence far in excess of their real strength. Like all extremists and bullies, they deserve no tolerance at all.

They might merit some of our pity: if they shut themselves off from the Christian culture, whether from the beauty of the liturgy, the serenity of church music, or from admiring the reticulated tracery of an east window, then their lives can only be deeply impoverished. They must also conduct a pretence that some of our most fundamental institutions are expressly Christian: notably our monarchy, and the Established Church of which our monarch is Supreme Governor. Parliament still begins each day's deliberations with prayers.

Our oldest schools and universities have intrinsic links with the Anglican Church. Our very system of justice is implicitly Christian. Our history is Christian since the dawn of the seventh century. More to the point, it is by the will of the majority, in our democracy, that all this remains so.[...]

The modern Left exercises a militant anti-Christianity not so much because of a cultural cringe in the face of immigrant minorities, but because of its general wish to dismantle history. Once you have erased Christianity, you have erased (or at least made appear irrelevant) much of the past 1,400 years. "Modernisation" in all its political forms is about the tabula rasa, and there are few ways of creating one of those so effective as the destruction of the traditional faith.

These are the noble sentiments of a civilized man, but it is hard to be overly-cheered by the thought that the future of Western civilization lies in the hands of decent atheists trying to defend their Christian heritage.

Posted by Peter Burnet at December 21, 2005 6:04 AM

It is hard to find anything to disagree with in the quoted part of the essay. (no time to read the whole thing).

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 21, 2005 7:46 AM

take a few minutes and read the whole thing. it's terrific.

Posted by: Reader in Orlando at December 21, 2005 3:40 PM

And when you have successfully removed the Cross from your culture ("PRIMITIVE SUPERSTITION! WE'VE EVOLVED BEYOND THAT!"), you will find you have removed the only part of it that could stand against the Crescent.

When there is no more Cross, the Kaaba will still beckon from its Arabian desert.

Posted by: Ken at December 21, 2005 3:57 PM

Hey, Ken, LTNS.
(If you're the Ken of the 160 IQ, who really, really likes to quote Orwell...)

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 21, 2005 7:21 PM