Has Secularism Doomed Great Britain?

Personally, I’d say, “Yup.” 

Elevating government above God ALWAYS results in a moral and social decline;  Not to mention, harsh, Old-Testament-Wrath-Of-God-type punishment…

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)

Godlessness has doomed Britain
The Jerusalem Post
No Holds Barred: Atheism equals nihilism, neither of which are fertile ground for a national resurgence.

Britain today has become one of the most godless societies on Earth. Its principle ‘religious’ exports today are thinkers who despise religion. From Richard Dawkins, who has compared religion to child abuse, to my friend Christopher Hitchens, who titled his 2007 book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, the British have cornered the market on being anti-God – at least the Christian and Jewish varieties.

While 92 percent of Americans believe in God, in Britain only 35% do and, according to Britain’s National Center for Social Research, 43% say they have no religion. The percentage of those affiliated with the Church of England dropped from 40% in 1983 to 23% in 2009.

In truth, though, if Britain’s Christian tradition is dying out, the leaders of the faith have only themselves to blame.

Europeans are in the habit of making fun of American evangelicals as backward religious knuckle-draggers who believe that Adam and Eve actually ate apples with a talking snake. But for all this condescension, evangelical Christianity in the United States represents the single largest voting bloc in the world’s main superpower. One out of five Americans identifies as a born-again Christian – something inconceivable in Britain. American evangelicals build mega-churches that draw thousands of worshipers, while British churches are empty. Leading evangelical pastors like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen enjoy vast cultural influence among millions of Americans, while in Britain no religious figure could even hope to compete with William and Kate in exciting the youth.

One key difference is that in America, there is no official state church. There is no archbishop of Canterbury, no chief rabbi, no official defender of the faith.

Religion lives and dies in America like a commercial enterprise, and is therefore highly entrepreneurial. If pastors excite their congregants with a message that is uplifting and relevant, they can be sure the pews will be filled. If they deliver sermons that send would-be worshipers into deep comas, their churches (and alms plates) will be empty.

My British friends argue that the demise of religion is a good thing, proving sophistication in sharp contrast to the religious hobos of America, who speak in tongues and talk to dead people.

I beg to differ.

In his 1997 book A History of the American People, historian Paul Johnson makes the case that the remarkable growth of the US, from pioneering backwoodsmen to the most powerful and innovative nation on Earth, was fueled largely by religious fervor. From the piety of the Pilgrims to the faith-based values of the country’s founders, to the belief in manifest destiny and even the marketing of Coca-Cola as “the real thing,” Americans tamed the wilderness with the faith that their nation is a new promised land, destined to illuminate the Earth with the torch of freedom and the light of human dignity.

British influence in the world, in contrast, has gone off a cliff over the past century. I would argue that the new, militant atheism that is becoming characteristic of Britain is a key reason. Atheism is a philosophy of nihilism in which nothing is sacred and all is an accidental.

While it has some brief, flashy moments, life is purposeless and meaningless.

There is no soul to illuminate and no spirit to enliven – just decadent flesh. Human love is a prank played by our genes to ensure the propagation of the species, and poetry and faith are shallow distractions masking the inevitability of death . Men are insemination machines incapable of ever being truly faithful, and women are genetically programmed to seek out billionaire hedge-fund managers, the better to support their offspring.

This decline of faith and optimism may account for why Britain – once the most advanced nation on earth, which gave the world parliamentary democracy and inimitable centers of higher learning – is today more famous for exporting reality shows like Big Brother and Project Catwalk. For while religion affirms the infinite dignity of the human person, its absence robs life of its sanctity. Universal exploitation and humiliation for fame and fortune are the inevitable outgrowth.

Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807, ending it completely three decades before the US, with Christian abolitionists like William Wilberforce taking the lead against that abomination.

But a century later, Britain is better known for football hooliganism, the gratuitous degradation of women in its most-circulated publications, and one of the highest out-of-wedlock birthrates in the world.

True, America has many of these same problems, and a great deal more of its own. But the spiritual underpinnings of the American republic ensure that values are constantly debated, and that soul-searching is a never-ending element of the national discourse.

It just goes to show how important it is to “keep the faith.” Were Britain to rediscover its own, it might find a lost sense of mission and a once-glorious sense of purpose.

The writer is the author of Honoring the Child Spirit: Inspiration and Learning from Our Children and Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life.

Explore posts in the same categories: Opinion, Religion

7 Comments on “Has Secularism Doomed Great Britain?”

  1. In my opinion having watched recent BBC tv. Yes atheism / secularism is dooming great britian. And worse yet islam is filling the void not because it is true but because it gives its adherants a flawed outlook on the afterlife.

    I will pray for the UK and ask Almighty God to bring back the Holy Spirit to give power to those Christians who remain in that Country. The ENTIRE UK needs revival and social change to bring back from destruction!!

  2. PB-in-AL Says:

    Dr. B., thanks, that’s a really good read!

    I agree, everything I see and read from the UK seems to show its moral state has been cast adrift. I think that the reason that islam is growing in the UK, aside from immigration and birth, is that it offers something that we all feel is necessary to life: faith in something. That said, it’s a sorry option, but considering the anti-Christian stance that much of the UK’s bureaucracy exercise, it’s no wonder islam grows and Christianity shrinks.

    I agree with “islams not for me” in prayer that the UK turns back to its heritage, and rebuff the doctrines of hate and death: i.e. islam and evangelical atheism (a la Dawkins and Hitchens).

  3. Gonzo Says:

    A psychologist friend of mine commented to an assertion of mine that the knowledge of right vs wrong is not as innate as humanists would like to believe. He suggested that evidence indicates that there are certain innate characteristics which makes knowing right vs wrong possible, however, various issues that influence the individual immediately following birth will have the greater impact.

    I assume that of those influences, culture, parenting, media exposure, religious exposure, sense of spirituality, and the ingraining of “normality” based on the repetition of actions and thoughts, will all affect a persons sense of right vs wrong as they mature, with certain conditions of thinking becoming hardened at the ripe old ages.

    I see no problem with a society having a documented “moral gauge” with which to compare baseline morality against the collective of a society’s conditioned sense of appropriate behavior. Religion has provided such a moral gauge for an exceptionally long time. Where religion seems to fail is when prescribed dogma no longer withstands the type of logical analysis afforded to a world with such tremendous insights in physics, astrology, various world cultures, and access to massive amounts of information.

    IMHO, for those who cannot separate the increasingly obscure-seeming dogma from the underlying moral code, the individual simply reverts to a sense of inward fulfillment for righteousness. To be honest, I believe that’s where it belongs anyway, but with the exception that one should compare religious texts and principles against individual belief to maintain an accurate sense of morality.

    Put another way, religious text and a self-actualized individual uses a map to plot their own path to righteousness, where religious dogma is like a GPS system telling you where and when to turn.

    These opinions are entirely my own of course.

  4. Gonzo Says:

    Where there is no moral gauge, there can be teachings and acceptance of ideals of another kind.


  5. Robert Hagedorn Says:

    Adam and Eve, apples, and the talking snake? Something’s going on here. For a surprise, do a search: First Scandal.

  6. Dukem Says:

    The story is another proof to the saying, ‘there is the government way and there is the right way’. The government run church in England is a failure, while the non-government Church in the USA is alive. Fortunately for us, the founders of the USA sought freedom from the government religion.

    The secular devolution from right and wrong opens the way to “many paths” since there is no longer the moral compass for discernment of direction.

    Nihilism is a symptom of ‘spiritual insanity’ where without God, the human mind spirals into mental illness and self destruction. After a life of godless wrong choices, the demented mind sees fewer and fewer choices along the spiraling path until suicide and death of others is the only remaining choice.

    Any surprise that when islam denies the Christhood of Jesus (thereby teaching anti-Christ and denying the power there of), that isalm has become a destructive religion of hate that worships death of self and of others?

    “Ishmael shall be as a wild-ass among men; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” – Genesis 16

  7. tgusa Says:

    I hear the Brit royals are visiting the Hollywood haters my state, They all went down to skid row to see what they have nurtured. I cant believe we allowed these haters in after what has been done to once Great Britain. They should have been banned, you know, like the Brit guvmint did to Mike Savage. Go back to where you came from and screw that up some more, leave us alone. Oh and take Hollywood with you when you go.

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