Malcolm Armsteen wrote:
Britain is a Christian country in one, very important sense.
For most of the last thousand years the legislative, judicial, artistic and literary life of the country was inextricably linked to religion. The fact that I, and others, deplore religion and its effects doesn't alter that.
As a result we have a society, polity and heritage that have ideas and symbols of a particular religion ingrained into them.
This is a dilemma. I have no desire to see young people indoctrinated but I also would not wish to deprive them of the magnificence of the King James bible, or the allusions to religion in Shakespeare, Keats, Manley Hopkins or James Joyce. I do not want them to be barred from seeing religious art. I certainly don't want to abandon our laws, which it seems to me take the most sensible and secular elements of Abramic teaching and place them in a civic context.
I think that prayers in parliament, or council meetings, the wearing of crucifixes do not denote a religious, as opposed to secular society. I want to keep a secular society. But a secular society which understands its own origins, roots and principles, which can look at the achievements of religious people in the past and strip away the faith but appreciate the human genius. I don't have to believe in god to marvel at the work of Grinling Gibbons, or a medieval cathedral.
After all, when I marvel at the pyramids I don't instantly want to worship Re or mummify my cat, do I?
What did the Christians ever do for us, eh?
Much of our legal principles - most of which I agree with.
Social reform and social justice.
The abolition of the slave trade.
There's more, but I've yet to finish my first coffee of the day.