Even as a minority in Britain, Christians are persecuted

Even as a minority in Britain, Christians are persecuted

Jeff Jacoby: “Atheists’ bleak alternative”

FROM THE land that produced “A Christmas Carol” and Handel’s “Messiah,” more evidence that Christianity is fading in Western Europe: Nearly 99 percent of Christmas cards sold in Great Britain contain no religious message or imagery.

“Traditional pictures such as angels blowing trumpets over a stable, Jesus in his manger, the shepherds and three wise men following the star to Bethlehem are dying out,” the Daily Mail reports. A review of some 5,500 Christmas cards turns up fewer than 70 that make any reference to the birth of Jesus. “Hundreds . . . avoided any image linked to Christmas at all”—even those with no spiritual significance, such as Christmas trees or Santa Claus.

Presumably the greeting-card industry is only supplying what the market demands; if Christian belief and practice weren’t vanishing from the British scene, Christian-themed cards wouldn’t be, either. But some Britons, not all of them devout, are resisting the tide. Writing in the Telegraph, editor-at-large Jeff Randall—who describes himself as “somewhere between an agnostic and a mild believer”—announces that any Christmas card he receives that doesn’t at least mention the word “Christmas” goes straight into the trash. “Jettisoning Christmas-less cards is my tiny, almost certainly futile, gesture against the dark forces of political correctness,” he writes. “It’s a swipe at those who would prefer to abolish Christmas altogether, in case it offends ‘minorities.’ Someone should tell them that, with only one in 15 Britons going to church on Sundays, Christians are a minority.”

Meanwhile, the employment law firm Peninsula says that 75 percent of British companies have banned Christmas decorations for fear of being sued by someone who finds the holiday offensive. And it isn’t only in December that this anti-Christian animus rears its head. British Airways triggered a furor when it ordered an employee to hide the tiny cross she wears around her neck. At the BBC, senior executives agreed that they would not air a program showing a Koran being thrown in the garbage—but that the trashing of a Bible would be acceptable.

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  • Jacoby doesn’t articulate his point very precisely, I think. 

    It is not just saying you are Jewish or Christian, but it is actually incorporating the entire Judeo-Christian worldview into who you are that makes you truly religious. As Ghandi once said, I too would be a Christian if the “Christian’s” only did what Christ said. 

    You see religion in general doesn’t make you good, most likely the only person that can do that is you and those who raise you.  What it does is it gives people existential hope: by helping them understand who they are, and who we are as Man, and based on this understanding it helps them develop values that help them act as good men and women, and to teach their children to do the same. 

    The non-Christian is still faced with the same questions that we all must implicitly or explicitly answer, who am I, why am I here, etc.  The fundamental question is and always has been what is man. Religion, second only to telling you about God, tells you about man.  Obviously, whether what religion tells you is true or not is very important.  Christianity gives a very clear vision of man’s place in the universe, which is based on its revelation as well as its philosophical reflections, and based on this someone who accepts Christianity’s anthropology integrates it into his life, will become what most today would consider objectively good.  This is also more or less true of any reflective person who follows a philosophical anthropology that corresponds to reality.  However, and this is the point of Jacoby’s argument for the Judeo-Christian legal system we have inherited, assuming that the Judeo-Christian anthropology is true, it is also possible for the unreflective person to become good simply by following the social norms that are present in society.  If the Judeo-Christian view of man is correct then any undermining of our Judeo-Christian system of legal and social mores would by definition led to a corrupting of morals.  Ultimately, moral systems of values depend on how we understand man.  Judeo-Christianity provides a solid anthropology based both on theological reflections based on Revelation as well as philosophical reflections base on human experience and guided by the theological perspectives.  This perspective is the basis, even if we fail to realize it, for our moral and legal traditions, although it becomes less foundational daily as hedonistic conceptions of man become more widely accepted (at least among the elites).

    The atheist or agnostic who lives in the type of post-Christian paradise that Jacoby is lamenting in the UK, very well might be a good person based on a sound reflection on what man is, even without the Christian Revelation.  However, he just as well might not!  Of course one way or the other, today everyone thinks they are a good person, except the religious folk who realize they are sinners.  And faced with an Islamic view of man, which our happy post-Christian atheist in the UK will soon be forced to confront,  or even with another less true agnostic understanding of man, the Atheist will find it difficult to justify one anthropology over another, except by the principle of majority rules. However, this principle will soon enough be used against him.

  • I might insert ” and how you act” after “who you are” in RPFs meaty first paragraph, commenting on Jeff Jacoby’s piece.  My first reflexion on oriental culture when I viewed it in the Far East was:  My God, how Christian these people are!  Then in observing the way Westerners- know to them as Christians- acted, it was easily understandable why Christianity never took hold in that fertile setting.