In yesterday’s Times Online, Ruth Gledhill reports that according to a cross-party group of Christian MPs “The primary cause of unhappiness in Britain is not lack of material wealth but a loss of faith in God and religion”. In a new report on wellbeing, the MPs say that the Christian voice is not being respected properly because it comes across too often as “negative”. Not exactly a rocket scientist conclusion is it?
The report claims that despite the recent emphasis on “happiness” studies in some schools, and the debates on British identity and wellbeing, Britain is becoming increasingly miserable. It says: “One impetus behind this project was our sense that there is a strong feeling of disaffection among the inhabitants of these islands. It seemed to us that our national sense of wellbeing is at a low ebb; people are wanting something more out of life.”
The MPs say that all legislators, charities and companies should subject decisions to a fivefold test, such as whether the action will encourage people to develop positive relationships in their families and communities and whether the action is socially and globally responsible. The authors argue that if values related to relationships, responsibility, trust, self-esteem and potential – all with their roots in the Judeo-Christian beliefs that once underpinned Western legislative philosophy – were to have greater emphasis in society, everyone’s wellbeing would improve.
I supect many politicians (regardless of religious conviction) will be concerned with relationships, responsibility, trust, self-esteem and potential when they get a kicking in today’s Local and Euro elections. I wonder if the church is sending a special flying squad of chaplains to help them cope, or are they already getting expensive life coaching sessions paid for on expenses?
Flip your second home, vote in the house of commons, clean your moat, redecorate your house, tell a few lies, claim your expenses…surely there must be more to life than this?
For Ruth Gledhill’s full report see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3913720.ece
Chief Rabbi Sacks
Yet again thr writing of the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks in Credo today’s column in The Times Newspaper, gives a very clear and insightful account of what faith is meant to be. Writing about how Darwin pointed the way to an unselfish revolution, Sacks writes; ” Faith is the ability to see ourselves as joined to others by god’s love…it weaves it into our personalities, affecting all parts of the almost infinitely complex labyrinth of the human brain. No wonder that religion has survived, and that we need it if we are to survive. And it was Darwin who pointed the way. Religion binds people into groups. it creates altruism, the only force strong enough to defeat egoism. Selfishness is good for me and my genes but bad for us and therefore our descendants in the long run. In Homo sapiens a miracle of nature meets a miracle of culture: religion, which turns selfish genes into selfless people.”
God bless you Jonathan and we give thanks to God for the way you can communicate these things so powerfully…it must be a miracle of your genes!
For more from Sir Jonathan Sacks and Times Credo see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sitesearch.do?query=jonathan+sacks&turnOffGoogleAds=false&submitStatus=searchFormSubmitted&mode=simple§ionId=787
Filed under faith, religion
Chief Rabbi Sacks
Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, and he writes an occasional column in the Saturday edition of The Times. His contribution is frequently thoughtful, incisive and wise and today’s Credo is no exception. Rabbi Sacks delivers a thought provoking assessment of the law of probability around faith- prompted by the recent atheist bus adverts claiming “There’s probably no God so stop worrying and enjoy your life.” He writes, “The more science we learn, the more we understand how little we understand. The improbabilities keep multiplying, as does our cause for wonder.” Sacks then takes us on a brief trip through history from Abraham to Barack Obama to illustrate that reality has always triumphed over negative probability- who would have thoguht that “a small persecuted sect known as the Christians would one day become the largest movement of any kind in the world?”
Rabbi Sacks tells us that the man who invented probability theory, Blaise Pascall, gave up maths and science at the age of 30 to devote the rest of his life to the exploration of religious faith. Rabbi Sacks concludes his piece; “All the great human achievements…came through people who ignored the probable and had faith in the possible. So the bus advertisement would be imporved by a small amendment….”Improbably, there is a God.”