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Posted on Wed 1 July 2009

Standpoint: Only God Can Save Us from Ourselves

It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed since the launch of Standpoint with my article, “Breaking Faith with Britain”, in the inaugural issue. In that article, I tried to show how there was a descending theme of Christian influence on the systems of governance, the rule of law and the assumptions of trust in our common life. The ascending theme of the importance of the person as a moral agent and, therefore, as free was also seen to arise out of the biblical vision of humans as made in God’s image and as exercising stewardship in the world. This discourse became hugely important in the emergence of natural or human rights language, particularly, but not only, as it was developed by the Enlightenment. I noted that there had been an Evangelical-Enlightenment consensus in place until the 1950s, which had brought about huge changes in society in its attitudes towards slavery, the treatment of workers, universal education, care of the sick and the dying and a host of other areas of life. It has been the dissolution of this consensus that has created the situation in which we now find ourselves. A basically Judaeo-Christian framework for public life has been seriously weakened, some aspects of it have disappeared entirely and others survive only in vestigial form.

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