Forums

 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages 
The Erosion of Christianity in Britain
Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 24, 25, 26  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> Religions & Cults
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
rynner
Location: Still above sea level
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 11-11-2006 22:01    Post subject: The Erosion of Christianity in Britain Reply with quote

Quote:
Archbishop condemns public atheism
Bonnie Malkin, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:30pm GMT 11/11/2006

One of the most senior figures in the Church of England has criticised the “systematic erosion” of Christianity in public life.

Dr John Sentamu has said atheists were damaging Britain's religious heritage
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, last night spoke out against official government Christmas cards which merely wish “Seasons Greetings” and the use of Santa on stamps instead of images of Christ.

He also criticised a decision by Plymouth Council to end free parking on Sundays in case it offended people who worship on other days, and complained about the use of “first name” rather than “Christian name” on official documents.

He said that “illiberal atheists”, who aim to avoid causing offence by removing faith from public life, “end up offending everyone”.

Archbishop Sentamu also cited a decision made by Birmingham City Council eight years ago to rename Christmas “Winterval” which was intended to avoid causing offence to people of other religions.

He said that Mark Santer, the then Bishop of Birmingham, had led a campaign, supported by other faiths, to make the council switch back.

Archbishop Sentamu added: “In the eight years since Winterval there have been many other instances and decisions where Christianity is being systematically eroded from public view - more often than not in the fear of offending those who would not be offended in the least or because of the mistaken belief that Christianity has no role to play in the public arena.”

Speaking to church lay readers at a dinner in Newcastle, he added: “This systematic erosion is subtle, with minor changes which drip by drip erode centuries of Christian heritage and identity.

“Examples can be seen all over officialdom: the change in official Government cards from “Happy Christmas” to “Seasons Greetings”, the change to the asking for a “first name” instead of a “Christian name”, the slow chipping away at the foundational heritage that gave birth to those values we all share.”

http://tinyurl.com/y5k5b6

This sort of thing has been touched on in other threads, but perhaps it deserves one of its own.

Personally, I have rejected the Christian religion, but I recognise the part it has played in the history of this country, and the fact that it is a traditional part of our culture.

As such, I am happy to have it around, and am deeply perturbed that misplaced ideas of Political Correctness (largely driven by response to aggressive activity by Islamic extremists) are trying to expunge Christianity and its symbols from our culture.

I am happy to decide for myself which symbols I will respect (and how, and why) without some PC jobsworth telling me what to think.
Back to top
View user's profile 
ghostdog19
PostPosted: 11-11-2006 22:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

"first name" in place of "Christian name" makes sense to me. It also makes reasonably sound theological sense too.

"Winterval" on the other hand sounds pants. "Hogswatchnight" sounds much better.
Back to top
View user's profile 
Mr_NemoOffline
Joined: 09 May 2006
Total posts: 294
PostPosted: 12-11-2006 06:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

ghostdog19 wrote:

"Winterval" on the other hand sounds pants. "Hogswatchnight" sounds much better.


Yep, I would agree with replacing "Winterval" with "Hogwatchnight" Very Happy

But...wait!, wouldn't that offensive to non Xtians? Rolling Eyes
Back to top
View user's profile 
beakbooOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Total posts: 635
Location: The Home for Bewildered Gentlebeaks, St Peter's Close.
Age: 51
Gender: Female
PostPosted: 12-11-2006 10:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I'll probably get shouted at but I'm offended when people ask for my "Christian name", I don't like people assuming I'm something I'm not. Or at work when customers say "the Christian name is Mohammed...". It just makes them look so ignorant and unthinking. Atheists don't "aim to cause offense" as this bishop puts it, we just want to be treated with a bit of respect and not have Christianity shoved down our throats all the time.
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Rrose_SelavyOffline
Exquisite Elemental
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
Total posts: 1638
Location: Stranded in Sub-Atomica
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 12-11-2006 12:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Bishop is talking a load of Bull. Seems you can have Public Christiianity but not Public Atheism. Santa Claus for Adults is OK as long as it's his version. It's a bit rich for him to accuse others of being Illiberal. But then, he has a vested interest (no pun intended) - I would hardly expect anything else

For a start Xmas was conveniently hijacked with various non Christian festivals such as the birth of Mithras (25th Dec) and Saturnalia.
It makes sense to have a Midwinter festival in the coldest darkest months -

-
Back to top
View user's profile 
Black River FallsOffline
I wear a fez now.
Joined: 03 Aug 2003
Total posts: 7407
Location: The Attic of Blinky Lights
Age: 45
Gender: Female
PostPosted: 12-11-2006 12:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

The Bishop is talking a load of Bull. Seems you can have Public Christiianity but not Public Atheism.


Agree entirely. Some people are for freedom of belief when it's their system of belief they want freedom for, but not anyone elses. If we have freedom of belief, it has to extend to the freedom not to believe too...
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
ghostdog19
PostPosted: 12-11-2006 15:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rrose_Selavy wrote:
The Bishop is talking a load of Bull.


Or as I like to call it, Papel Bull! Wink

you've been a great audience, thank you very much and goodnight. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile 
Pietro_Mercurios
Heuristically Challenged
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 12-11-2006 15:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlackRiverFalls wrote:
Quote:

The Bishop is talking a load of Bull. Seems you can have Public Christiianity but not Public Atheism.


Agree entirely. Some people are for freedom of belief when it's their system of belief they want freedom for, but not anyone elses. If we have freedom of belief, it has to extend to the freedom not to believe too...

Exactly.
Back to top
View user's profile 
Rrose_SelavyOffline
Exquisite Elemental
Joined: 06 Jan 2003
Total posts: 1638
Location: Stranded in Sub-Atomica
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 12-11-2006 19:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting historical take on how the established religion and the State has in the past been determined by time and human social forces rather than an absolute "God moving in mysterious ways" from Atheist Starkey

Quote:
The Sunday Times November 12, 2006


Henry was wrong. Put religion back in its box
Our outdated link between church and state is dangerous in a fundamentalist era, says historian David Starkey




I adore much about the Church of England, profound atheist though I am. I raise funds for its cathedrals and parish churches, which I regard as absolutely intrinsic to the fabric of England. But because of what is happening with Islam, the sweet, confused C of E has, alas, to be disestablished. Britain must become a secular state.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, without even pondering the consequences, we have imported a significant community amounting to about one in 25 of the population who are at a different stage of religious development.

Founded in the 7th century, Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity. In Islamic time, it is still AD 1400. They haven’t had a Reformation, let alone an Enlightenment. And they treat their religion with the same kind of passion that we did when we burnt heretics.

The point is this. Because certain privileges were retained for the established Christian churches, there is the argument from equity. This says that because the right to have faith schools has been accorded to the Church of England, Judaism and Catholicism, therefore we must give it to Islam.

Similarly, in the House of Lords we have the extraordinary situation where religious leaders sit ex officio in the legislature. Only one other country entertains the practice — the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now it is being suggested that because bishops are represented in the Lords, therefore rabbis, Catholic archbishops and imams should also sit there. This, in the early 21st century, is grotesque.

What is the solution? Last weekend the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that Britain may be too weak to resist Islamic fundamentalism “unless there is some reclaiming of the moral and spiritual tradition which created this country”. I think his history is simply wrong.

For it wasn’t a Christian tradition that created modern Britain but the reaction against it. This means that, rather than reprivileging Christianity, we should deny privilege to all religions. Instead we must regain the Enlightened confidence to put religion back in its box and assert once more that the separation of church and state is the foundation of modernity.

And nowhere is this lesson better taught than in our own history. From the time of Christ to the Middle Ages, Christianity made a clear distinction between the sacred and the secular. That position was completely reversed in England when Henry VIII made himself the supreme head of the church. He had started as the most passionate defender of the papal monarchy. But he wanted a son — and he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn more.

Eventually, Henry came to think he was actually Christ on Earth. And he and subsequent kings of England believed they had the absolute right, as God’s anointed, to change the religion of their people according to their own lights.

The Church of England now became a mere means to that end, by turning itself into a body that saw its prime function as preaching obedience to the monarch. The whole Christian doctrine of the separation of church and state was stood on its head.

In short, Henry introduced genuine totalitarianism for the first and last time in English history. The resources at the disposal of a 16th century king were, happily, not those of a 20th century dictator. But the aspiration was identical. Henry was the English Hitler-cum-Stalin, ordering the confiscation of the monasteries and instituting a reign of terror.

However, the fact that Henry assumed supreme religious power at the Reformation, when there was acute religious tension, meant that the monarch became a disputed figure in a way kings had not been in the Middle Ages.

The result was that the English, the first to experience this totalitarian fusion of church and state, were the first to get out of it. They were even the first to develop the doctrine of tyrannicide, which endorsed the deposition or murder of a monarch of the “wrong” religion.

Henry, once again, had set this in train by establishing an extraordinary rule of succession by which each one of his children was to succeed to the throne in turn, despite the fact that two were daughters — and bastards. He could never have realised that each would change England’s religion.

Edward took us towards extreme Protestantism, Mary to extreme Catholicism and Elizabeth to a strange middle ground. Her successor, James VI of Scotland and I of England, was the only monarch in the 16th and 17th centuries not to try to change religion in England — although he started to do so in Scotland.

His son Charles I went too far, flirting with rituals that seemed too Catholic. As a result there was civil war: the king lost his head, the monarchy was abolished and Oliver Cromwell became lord protector. But we soon discovered we couldn’t do without a king, and the monarchy was restored.

But restoration solved nothing and the whole process started again. Charles II sponsored an aggressive Anglicanism that tried to suppress dissent and excluded both Protestant dissenters and Catholics from civil rights. It also left England weak, divided and profoundly old- fashioned.

Thus, by the late 17th century, the failing English monarchy had two alternative pathways to modernity — those of the Netherlands and Louis XIV’s France. The solution came when England was conquered by Holland in 1688.

The Dutch conquest showed how far we had sunk — but also how far we could rise. For England now got a king, William III, who was so contemptuous of the idea of sacred monarchy that he scoffed at his own coronation, whose rituals struck him as preposterous and papist.

This was the real origin of modernity in England. Naturally, being England, we didn’t do it properly. But we did begin the process of shifting the relationship between the church and the state.

The royal supremacy became much weaker. The monopolistic claims of the Anglican church were progressively chipped away. And forms of toleration and civil rights were introduced. They were imperfect. But they were sufficient to bring about a watershed in English history.

Within 30 years of our defeat by the Dutch, England was the leading European power and 80 years later it emerged as the first world power.

But now we need to learn the lessons once more. For religion is on the march again. Tony Blair and George Bush pray together and make war together. Messianism — the fusion of political power and pseudo-religion — was the basis of all the great 20th century tyrannies. And even in Britain the monarchy has resacralised, with the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 being a throwback to the full medieval rites of sacred monarchy. And the Queen believed it.

I think Prince Charles sort of believes it. But differently. In many ways, with his pioneering commitment to the environment, he is marking out an effective new role for the monarchy. But on the issue of religion I think he is in deep and dangerous waters with his avowed determination to be Defender of Faiths.

For modern Britain needs neither a new Henry VIII, the first Defender of the Faith, or heaven forbid an Islamic caliph who also called himself Commander of the Faithful. Instead we need a tolerant secular state in which there is a level playing field for people of every faith — and none.

Otherwise, it will be back to the dark days before 1688 with a vengeance.




A new series of Monarchy by David Starkey begins on Channel 4 at 9pm tomorrow. His book, Monarchy: From the Middle Ages to Modernity, is published by HarperPress, £20













Copyright 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd.




http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-525-2449504-525,00.html
Back to top
View user's profile 
MythopoeikaOffline
Joined: 18 Sep 2001
Total posts: 9794
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 13-11-2006 11:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rrose_Selavy wrote:
For a start Xmas was conveniently hijacked with various non Christian festivals such as the birth of Mithras (25th Dec) and Saturnalia.


Good point. Perhaps we should indeed stop calling it Christmas and call it whatever it was originally called? Very Happy

Ha ha, only joking - actually, I think we should just leave it alone, despite the fact that I dislike Christmas (desk-thumping atheist that I am).
Back to top
View user's profile 
H_JamesOffline
Ancient Cow (&)
Joined: 18 May 2002
Total posts: 3495
PostPosted: 13-11-2006 11:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't say it bothers me - I've never felt any cultural association with CofE christianity. Christmas, on other hand, is very important to me, as a family thing (my family are non-believers, too). It should still, obviously, be called christmas. And they should bring back hanging for whoever invented "winterval".
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
XanaticoOffline
Justified and Ancient
Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Total posts: 1104
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 13-11-2006 12:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should refer to it as yule.
Back to top
View user's profile 
ghostdog19
PostPosted: 13-11-2006 12:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to think that these measures not to offend can sometimes be offensive in themselves.

This morning on the news a Muslim woman was interviewed with regard to this name change business, and as a representative of another faith she stated that Muslims didn't find it offensive that it should be called Christmas, reminding the interviewer that this was a country where Christianity was the main religion.

It's not like people are going to change the name of Ramadan or Diwali. It would appear that Birmingham City Council, in efforts to create a more multi-cultural atmosphere plans on doing so by stripping any public event of it's culture. Can we safely assume that in the interest of multi-culturalism, Ramadan will be given a new name, as will Diwali? Not likely.

Rolling Eyes
Back to top
View user's profile 
lupinwickOffline
Joined: 24 Sep 2005
Total posts: 1645
PostPosted: 14-11-2006 12:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
LONDON - Christian and Muslim Britons joined forces yesterday to tell city officials to stop taking the Christianity out of Christmas, warning this fuelled right-wing extremism.

They attacked local authorities that used such titles as "Winterval" for their Christmas celebrations and avoided Christian symbols in case they offended minority groups, especially Muslims and Hindus.

The question of how best to integrate Muslims into European society, which has Christian roots but is increasingly secular, has become a burning issue, with Britain playing its part in the debate after years of promoting multiculturalism.

The Christian Muslim Forum, set up by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Church of England, complained that taking the Christian message out of Christmas played into the hands of right-wing extremists who then accused Muslims of undermining Britain's Christian culture.

"The desire to secularize religious festivals is in itself offensive to both our communities," said Dr. Ataullah Siddiqui, vice-chairman of the forum.


Source

Interesting take on it. Personally I'm not too bothered, I adhere to my vaguely christian views and personally I think the whole PC thing has gone to far.
Back to top
View user's profile 
Dingo667Offline
I'm strange...but true
Joined: 27 Aug 2004
Total posts: 1813
Location: Deep in the Fens, UK
Age: 47
Gender: Female
PostPosted: 14-11-2006 13:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a few stories from people on here that make me cringe regarding any PC stuff but this one stands out:

"The monthly news letter that is circulated at work last month contained the announcement that the "C" word is no longer to be used. The "C" word in question was "Christmas". No staff are allowed to send Christmas cards and the company Christmas party that is held yearly in London has been replaced by a staff awards presentation. During this presentation every office will get an award with nobody excluded.
Directly below this announcement was a page and a half description of Ramadan with a reminder of how important it was to respect the beliefs of all muslims, especially at this time of year."



More idiocy: http://www.capc.co.uk/stories.htm
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> Religions & Cults All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 24, 25, 26  Next
Page 1 of 26

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group