Loss of faith in faith

Melanie Phillips:

Oh God! Tony Blair has confessed to religious faith being ‘hugely important’ to him during his tenure as Prime Minister.

The full force of the secular inquisition will not hesitate in pronouncing its anathema upon him for committing this heresy of religious belief.

For as Mr Blair also admitted, he was previously unable to be open about this key element of his character because ‘Frankly, people do think you’re a nutter’.

Too right they do. Especially these days when people turn themselves into human bombs and blow countless innocents to bits in the expectation that they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in paradise.

Islamic terrorism and the demented beliefs that fuel it have given all religion a bad name. But this kind of death cult can scarcely be equated to the ‘turn-the-other-cheek’ pieties of Christianity.

Besides the antipathy to religious faith goes far wider and deeper than fear of terrorism. It is the outcome of a dominant secularism which claims that faith and reason are irreconcilable, and that belief in a supernatural creator is the equivalent to believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Though most people still say they believe in some kind of God, religious faith has become progressively more enfeebled and unable to resist the secular onslaught. Hence the enormous success of books such as The God Delusion by the biologist and militant atheist Professor Richard Dawkins.

He and his followers have created a climate of rampant intolerance towards religion, in which to acknowledge personal faith is to risk professional and social ostracism.

Yet the foundations of British society and Western civilisation rest upon the Bible and Christianity. It is the concept of a rational creator that lies behind the rationalism of the West. The idea of equality — fundamental to Western liberalism — derives from the belief that all human beings were created in the image of God.


There is much more. There is not just intolerance toward people "of faith." There is a perception of venality an charlatanism that pervades this intolerance. Attempts to make moral equivalence arguments about devout Christians and exploding Muslims also show the prejudice. But, I have never seen a story about an exploding Christian engaging in mass murder of non combatants.


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