By Shirley Edwards
January 11, 2014
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Christianity in the UK
[These are my views as a woman living in England, on how the culture and spirit of my country has changed over 50 years. Why the country does not feel protected or strong any more, how it has lost, and is losing it values and decency, and how we are daily losing our free speech.]
On Christmas Day, I found myself reluctantly listening to the queen’s speech. It is usually a sombre event, but it is still as ‘traditional’ as the roast turkey and sprouts, and the Christmas pudding and crackers are in many homes across the country at this time of the year.
As the clock struck three, and families left the washing up, abandoned the dining table, and stepped over the gold and silver wrapping paper, I wondered if the message would touch the nation, at a time when people would be watching and listening together. Would the message truly reflect the state of the country and encourage its citizens.
The queen spoke about the need for ‘reflection’, and also her ‘hope’ for the future. Speaking about her own reflective moments, she recalled the pledge of service she had made 60 years ago at Westminster Abby at her coronation. She believed many good things had remained constant over the years, such as the ‘importance of family.’
After dutifully thanking the armed services, and those who work on Christmas day, she then went on to speak of the renewed hope and happiness for the future when a new baby comes into a family. Referring to her new grandson, she said that “he has been christened in to the joyful faith of Christian duty and service”
As the happy scene ended, and the music faded, and families slowly returned to them selves, it was then my very own after dinner game of scrabble commenced. The Christian sentiments were words I had heard so many times, based on the values we should all hold dear; but something didn’t fit, no matter how nice it had been delivered.
A lot of people today in the UK have very real fears for the future, especially for the next generation. The country is overwhelmed with mass immigration and high unemployment. They are sometimes afraid to speak out for fear of being labelled hateful, as they wonder how many more people this small island can accommodate. Moral standards have dropped. The importance of family, which many have tried desperately to hold on to and fight for, has become broken down and dismantled. Division is being created. What will happen amidst this chaos?
Many see the storm clouds on the horizon, rather than a bright star of hope.
Has Christian duty and service spoke up enough to protect the values we should have all held on to, and has Christianity been persecuted and discriminated into silence?
Being somewhat disappointed with the church over many long years, for their failure to express the truth on so many issues, I know I am not alone in seeing the demise of Christianity in the UK today. Like others, I am one that has gone my own way, discovering ‘the way’ outside the confines of a church.
Yet, I cannot forget the love I did discover when I did sit alone inside its old stone walls. Maybe it was the age, and the foundations upon which it was built that silently spoke to me. There was stability and strength within. Its revelations were never imposing, yet painfully honest and freeing.
I have also wondered how many people have turned to other faiths, or completely lost their own. And what has filled the void?
The battle against Christianity in the UK has most certainly been challenged and displaced by the imposing belief of humanism. A religion all of its own, but minus any hope or need from an unseen God.
It has shouted so much about human rights and fairness, pretending to be its friend, that it has entwined itself within every workplace and school, resulting in many beliefs being seduced into submission, in favour of something which only appears to be more right and compassionate. Its ‘fairness’ has never applied to all. It has used the age old excuse of antiquated beliefs being the downfall of man, yet fails to see that the cause of nearly all of our suffering stems from believing and doing the wrong thing. It promotes freedom as being the right to choose, without highlighting that certain freedoms can also lead to death.
I believe that as some leaders of the church made friends with the changing views of a secular world, it argued over what it truly believes and stands for, creating its own brand and ideal of Christianity, contributing to the chaos. No line was drawn in the sand. It has become a selection box of whatever you would like to choose. It has lost some respect.
The ideals it should have been protecting have been violated. The consequences of which have been devastating on the British way of life.
And as reformers within The Church of England present changes to the ‘wording’ of the traditional christening service so there is no mention of sin, submission and repentance, there are those who maybe wonder what the next generation will consider to be Christian duty and service?
Already being tested in over 1000 churches until Easter, it is also reported that during the christening service, the congregation is no longer asked to “submit to Christ as Lord” as the idea of submission is considered too controversial, particularly for women!
In 2010, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. George Carey reflected the battle for Christianity when he wrote “Christians in Britain are too soft and should be more outspoken in defence of their beliefs”
He said: “I think we need a tougher church. We Christians are very often so soft that we allow other people to walk over us and we are not as tough in what we want, in expressing our beliefs, because we do not want to upset other people.
“We have got to be more outspoken.”
Stressing the importance of the issue, the former Archbishop said: “I worry about my grandchildren”.
In recent years ‘discrimination’ against Christians in the UK has become very noticeable to those who follow the faith. It is encouraging to see that there are Christians, despite the division within in the church, who are now standing up and exposing this much more vocally.
Hope has also certainly been re-established through Christian Concern and The Christian Legal Centre in the UK who have been working hard to defend churches and individuals who adhere to their faith. Their cases highlight that freedom of expression is no longer available to Christians outside of a church building.
They have recently represented:
Dr Richard Scott, a Christian GP who is currently under investigation and is in danger of losing his job after sharing his faith with a patient during a surgery meeting.
Colin Atkinson, a Christian van driver who was forced to remove a palm cross from his van after 15 years. Christian Concern launched a campaign to highlight the injustice and Colin was subsequently allowed to return to work.
Gary McFarlane, a relationships counselor who was dismissed from his job because he said during a staff training day that he was not sure whether he was comfortable with giving sex advice to homosexual couples.
Shirley Chaplin, a nurse who was banned from working on hospital wards for wanting to continue to wear a cross around her neck, a cross which she had worn as a front-line nurse for almost 30 years
The number of cases where Christians feel marginalized and discriminated in the workplace also continues to grow on a weekly basis. It appears that there is a force which wants to make them a silent minority, most especially when it comes to having a say on such Christian values as the sanctity of life, marriage, and freedom of speech.
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The knocking down and the building up of a new religion may be something which is rapidly taking place.
Will it win?
Whether people believe in God or not, and that Jesus is a myth, the facts are that Christian values work. The conduct of his life and the way he overcame evil, is a wonderful example. The battle to suppress and kill that example seems to be no different from 2000 years ago.
It didn’t win.
© 2014 Shirley Edwards - All Rights Reserve
Shirley Edwards was born and lives in Great Britain. She has always worked in administration, but have also taught and studied complimentary health. In administrative roles, she has worked within The Church of England. She also worked for some years as a volunteer within the hospice movement.
Shirley has an interest in all health issues, loves the British countryside, and enjoys writing. She is thankful for talk radio and loves listening.
Shirley has always been concerned about the loss of freedoms in her country, also the demise of America, a country she loves for the original reasons on which it was founded. She believe in the Pursuit of Genuine Happiness.