Monday, 24 October 2011

Newsflash: buildings without foundations collapse!

Here's a sad entry from Peter Hitchens' blog:
I don't normally think of Dame Joan Bakewell as an ally in my campaign to re-moralise Britain. I tend to feel she did her bit to
de-moralise it in the Sixties. But I think she should be praised for pointing out what is missing in our country.

She said: ‘Religious commitment to charity and kindness has declined. Nobody learns that. They don’t learn it in their homes, they don’t learn it in their school, it’s seen as soft. It’s not what you’re about.

'You’re meant to stand up for your own individual personality, make your way in the world and good luck to you. Kindness, empathy,
generosity are all in short supply and people used to learn it from the churches – I learnt it at Sunday school. Where do you learn it now? I don’t know.’

Nor do I.
People who campaigned vigorously to remove Britain's moral foundations in the Christian faith, are now beginning to realise that buildings without foundations can't stand. If you cut the tree's roots off, then that works its way up to the fruits too. This isn't the first such confession from Dame Bakewell - see also, "As Joan Bakewell now admits, Mary Whitehouse was right about a lot of things".

It was easy for secularist revolutionaries to point out that pre-sexual-revolution Britain had a lot of moral hypocrisies. But replacing one set of moral hypocrisies with open moral decadence and rebellion plus a different set of moral hypocrisies was never going to be a solution - as people such as Mary Whitehouse pointed out and were widely ridiculed for doing. Modern secularism has no moral foundations, and cannot stand. Dame Bakewell learnt a lot of things from Sunday School, but played her part in engineering a society where, as she says now "nobody" learns those things. She enjoyed the privilege of living in a society where a lot of Christian assumptions still existed and the rebellion was still a "Christian" rebellion - that is, people still expected Christian standards to be observed in many areas. They relied on vestigial Christianity for many things. But though those fruits of Christianity may persist in vestigial form for a generation or a few generations, they can't last forever. In the end, the secularist assumptions have to drive everything else out. And then what are you left with? What solutions do you then have, in Dame Bakewell's case, the answer is "I don't know". Tragic.

In the Christian's case, we are left with a lot. Christians have shaped societies before, and can do so again. That a secularist settlement in the West is quickly falling down is no cause for dismay. When, under God's providence, one settlement falls down, it is so that in due time another may rise. Christians need to get down to the daily graft of teaching their children to walk in God's ways, and school them in Christ-centred, not secularist, ways of thinking. The end of the West is not the end of the world. The West as it has been is just one of many stages in the advance of Christ's purposes. It has been 2000 years since he ascended to receive all power and authority. Many settlements have risen and fallen since then, and will continue to do so, as he "puts every enemy under his feet". But a first part of our task is to actually understand our task and place in history, and many Christians in the West still need to understand this. Now is not the time to start embracing "the end is nigh!" visions of history as if the modern West were the be-all-and-end-all of existence; such leads to despair and inaction. Rather, now is the time to press forward with confidence. The question is not "should we fear secularism?" - the writing is clearly on the wall for secularism; it is an unstable and declining settlement. The question is how to build a God-glorifying future in post-secularism, whether it takes 10 years or 100 years to arrive. We don't know God's timetable, but we do have the instructions on daily living in the Bible to prepare our children and children's children for it.

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