Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Our Christian Inheritance

As part of the “we are a Christian nation” debate in Britain, both sides have accepted that our modern culture is founded on a distinctive Christian tradition. This obviously suits the Christian argument, but why would any secularist accept it? Part of the reason is that it is not a necessary part of the secular argument. Whether or not modern British attitudes are an inheritance from Christian times is irrelevant to the question of whether modern Britain is a Christian nation. It could be that modern society has grown out of a Christian culture, and yet is not now remotely Christian. 

The secularists are right in their reasoning:  the question of the Christian inheritance is irrelevant for the purpose of the “Christian nation” debate. But the extent and nature of our Christian inheritance is an interesting question in its own right. Exactly what aspects of modern British culture do we owe to Christianity?

Well let’s start by looking at the aspects of British culture that are most distinctive. First, tolerance. Where does the British love of tolerance come from? Well the first thing we can say is that it most definitely did not come from the Christian Church. For many centuries, the Christian Church killed anyone who disagreed with its doctrines. The Catholic Church did so before the Reformation in Britain. Protestants did so to a more limited extent after the Reformation. Both did so during the Reformation. Both imposed censorship. Both burned books. Both considered it an offence to fail to attend church or to pay Church taxes. Both opposed every attempt at liberalization. Our tradition of tolerance is entirely secular, defined in its modern form by men the Church regarded as its enemies: men like Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin, following the tradition of Voltaire, whom the Church also considered an enemy. 

So, not tolerance then. How about our modern concept of Justice? There are two main forms of law in the world: Common Law systems based on the English secular system, and Civil Law systems based on Roman Law. Church law is based on the Roman Law system so we have a simple comparison of the two legal traditions in England: Common Law against Church Law. All the features of the modern English legal system of which English law jurisdictions are so proud come from the secular Common Law. All of them. All of our familiar safeguards: trial by jury, open courts, the right to defense council, the right to hear and challenge prosecution evidence, the right to remain silent, the doctrine of double jeopardy, the concept of equality before the law, and so on. Significantly, all the safeguards built into the (amended) American Constitution are safeguards against the excesses of Cannon Law, not Common Law. Cannon law gave preference to certain groups, recognized no right of silence, and allowed torture to ensure that the accused could not remain silent. The concept of bastardy - punishing children for supposed sin of their parents - was just one, typical, invention of cannon law.

But what about all the social reforms? Wasn't the Church behind all those well-known social reforms? Didn't we all learn at school about great Christian reformers like William Wilberforce, Elizabeth Fry, Lord Shaftsbury and Florence Nightingale. Yes we did, but we were not told the full story. No-one asked or answered the question of why we needed reform after 1500 years during which Christian morality reigned supreme and unchallenged? Why was reform not carried out as soon as the Church became dominant? Why did we have to wait until secular ideas had already challenged Christian ideas, and become popular? Why did no one mention the names of the most influential reformers: all of them opposed by right-thinking Christians. Dozens of them are never mentioned in school classrooms: Thomas Paine opposed slavery two generations before William Wilberforce. Paine, “The Greatest Englishman”, was also the first to propose old age pensions. He was not a Christian so he was simply written out of school history. Utilitarian philosophers were far more influential than all Christian reformers put together, but you’re unlikely to have heard at school of the social reforms driven by J S Mill or Jeremy Bentham. You have probably never heard of Annie Bessant, Richard Carlile or Charles Bradlaugh. You might have heard of some Quakers who led reforms (Elizabeth Fry, John Howard,  the Rowntrees, the Cadburies, and many more). You were probably taught that they were admirable Christians, as they were. But you almost certainly did not hear that they were all opposed by mainstream Christians, and condemned as infidels,  as were all other reformers. Mainstream Christians opposed not just Utilitarians but atheists, Deists, Pantheists, socialists and a few fringe Christian evangelicals like Wilberforce. The bench of Bishops in the House of Lords voted together against every reform Bill put before parliament in the nineteenth century: child labour, safety at work, minimum wages, working hours, penal reform, women’s rights, extending the franchise - every single field of reform without exception. Churches and individual bishops were furious at having to lose their slaves when slavery was abolished, and hardly mollified by monetary compensation from the government for their loss. How did your history master miss that one?

The story is much the same in every area you can think of. The Church traditionally considered education as something for the rich and for those destined for a career in the Church. Catholic churchmen were outraged when they discovered that ordinary people were teaching themselves to read translations of the bible in the sixteenth century. Protestant churchmen were outraged to discover that ordinary people were teaching themselves to read the works of Thomas Paine in the late Eighteenth. The idea of Church schools for ordinary people was an innovation designed expressly to contain the problem in the nineteenth century (better to indoctrinate boys in biblical writings than let them alone and risk them chosing for themselves  what they read). The idea of teaching girls at all was anathema to everything the Church stood for. The main reason for not allowing women to recieve MAs at Oxford and Cambridge was specifically religious - An MA makes the holder a member of Convocation, a University body "holding authority over men", something that the bible says must not happen. Our only educational tradition still retained in modern British schools is the convention of misrepresenting the respective Christian and the secular contributions to reform.

But what about other areas of learning. Universities were originally religious foundations, designed like all educational establishments, to educate the rich and potential clergymen. No significant scientific advances were made in Universities in any field while the Church dominated their activities. Within the Church, any original thinkers across Europe were condemned as heretics. If you can think of any major advance in the millennium 500 - 1500, you will almost certainly find that it falls into one of three categories: rediscovered from classical times, introduced from non-Christian lands, or developed in Europe by a heretic condemned by the Christian Church.

Research was prohibited. The purpose of a University was indoctrination, not research. In the seventeenth century research became the field of wealthy independent noblemen, who created private societies to do what the universities were failing to do. The same story applied to philosophy. Significantly, Church philosophy is now of historical interest only. All modern major schools of philosophy, some based on classical pagan philosophies, are entirely secular. All modern advances in ethics – such as the concept of animal rights – are likewise entirely secular.

There are a few reminders of our Christian inheritance. At the benign end of the spectrum are church bells and soaring language of the Book of Common Prayer for public ceremonies. But most vestiges are not benign. We have senior clergymen concealing serious crimes, preaching homophobia and misogyny, telling lies about contraception, and interfering in politics. We still have bishops in the House of Lords, arranging for Church exemptions for themselves from all forms of equality legislation. In England, we still have people forced to sell their houses to pay surprise fees imposed by their Anglican parish church. We still have children denied medical attention by their Christian parents. We still have people, often children, killed during “exorcisms”. And of course we still have a host of Christian inspired laws that restrict what we can do on Sundays.

In truth, our Christian inheritance is relatively small and almost all unwelcome. Pretty much everything we have that is worth having comes not from Christian tradition but from opposition to Christian tradition. 

It’s not much of a record for the Churches to shout about.


  1. By reading this article I get a lot of lessons and this is very useful . cara menggugurkan kandungan

  2. This information is very useful. thank you for sharing. and I will also share information about health through the website

    Obat Sakit Mata Belekan Alami
    Cara Mengatasi Diare
    Obat Sariawan Alami
    Obat Penghancur Batu ginjal
    Cara Menghilangkan Varises

  3. the articles you present are very interesting and inspiring. i am very amazed good luck
    obat limpa bengkak
    obat thalasemia
    obat ginjal bengkak
    obat jantung bengkak
    obat keloid


  4. شركة تنظيف مجالس بمكة شركات تنظيف مجالس بمكة
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالاحساء شركات تنظيف مجالس بالاحساء
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالمدينة المنورة شركات تنظيف مجالس بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالدمام شركات تنظيف مجالس بالدمام

  5. I would like more information about this, because it is very nice., Thanks for sharing.
    instagram video size

  6. When I was a teenage I always wanted to have one of those multilayer necklaces that celebrities wear on red carpet but I neither had access to those amazing unique jewelries nor I had enough money but thanks to technology you can access anything you want through internet network. I have found different online stores that sale women necklace in pretty unique styles at reasonable prices. And they not only offer me necklaces but also I can get myself best iPhone case 8 as well as an iPhone screen protector for iPhone 8.

  7. This article is great. I like it very much. Thank you.
    โปรโมชั่นGclub ของทางทีมงานตอนนี้แจกฟรีโบนัส 50%
    เพียงแค่คุณสมัคร Gclub กับทางทีมงานของเราเพียงเท่านั้น
    สมัครสล็อตออนไลน์ >>> goldenslot
    สนใจร่วมลงทุนกับเรา สมัครเอเย่น Gclub คลิ๊กได้เลย

  8. Thank you for making me realize this. It's great.
    เว็บไซต์คาสิโนออนไลน์ที่ได้คุณภาพอับดับ 1 ของประเทศ
    เป็นเว็บไซต์การพนันออนไลน์ที่มีคนมา สมัคร Gclub Royal1688
    และยังมีหวยให้คุณได้เล่น สมัครหวยออนไลน์ ได้เลย
    สมัครสมาชิกที่นี่ >>> Gclub Royal1688

  9. بعضی از متن ها دارای کلمه های خیلی تخصصی هستند. ترجمه متن های تخصصی به مراتب سخت تر از ترجمه متن های عمومی است. یک مترجم خوب برای اینکه بتواند متون فارسی را به انگلیسی و متون انگلیسی را به فارسی به بهترین شکل ممکن ترجمه کند ، باید با فرهنگ هر دو کشور آشنا باشد تا بتواند یک ترجمه تخصصی پزشکی را ارائه دهد.

  10. It is very informative. You have given a fresh outlook on the topic. I would definitely share this on other platforms as well. Let make you life even better with game sims 4 cheats


  11. نقدم فى اعالى الخليج افضل خدمات نقل العفش و الشحن الدولى لاننا افضل شركات نقل عفش من الرياض الى جدة اتصل بنا الان انظر ايضا : اسعار افضل شركة نقل عفش اثاث من الرياض الى جدة مكة

  12. Excellent article that will provide the incentive and basis for my works. I wonder if I can mention the article as a bibliographic reference in my work. Thanks!
    Escort Girls Service
    Mumbai Escorts Service
    Call Girl In Chennai
    Call Girl In Hyderabad
    Our Service Partners :
    Ready To Repair
    Satta king

  13. Kourtney Kardashian is complete with appeared like girls who is responsible for frustrated. (Online privacy)SovrnThis is an advert circle. Clients make websites and also also the first percentage will be based upon which posts gear activity and possibly, Webpages among some various different indicators..

    (Policy)Hubsites Traffic PixelThis is required to recover information for targeted traffic to information along with other personal place. Ones interior child as well as requires a loyal, Not shaming ficnumber one best friend and confirm michael's desertion, Unattend to, Maltreatment, Yet enmeshment. (tags: New Jordan Shoes 2020, Yeezy 350 Cheap, Air Force Sale, Cheap Yeezys)

    What individuals probable as the fact which will materialized would be buyers would definitely get going almost certainly these what are known as lean lots tv set Hulu opportunities, YouTube television for computer produces, Coupled with throw offerings.

    It's true, This informative article jets may well be having management and through that advantage they are surely on shreded. You do the approaches you understand, And they usually do the techniques understand, And the repair comes in contact with had better and significantly..

    However, the Swedes wear fancy alternatively have a need for our family, But also additionally, There are socialized traditional relief medication. Here nationwide you can do a visit a book or dvd movie regarding it is not in a library near your home having said that inside an additional library on the other hand of portland they can even watercraft the software to check try your local library and give back an e-mail to show you its available to help borrow!. (tags: Coach Handbags Clearance Outlet, Coach Outlet, Ray Ban 19.99 Sale, Michael Kors Wallet Outlet)

    It are also able to provide the steel cell phone equals in which on the way to allow them up so that it will thrust additional pronounced storage on your immediate future cellgadgets.. You can meet ourPrivacy Noticefor information on crucial computer data safeguards rightsBut compact carried out my girl confirm that it was generally many other business presenter bob marked on his phone throughout an additional enough space, Positiioned not to mention eager having gut wrenching funny feedback in organize the woman's separate.Dorrie obtained properly, Suitably betting and Cheryl first cellular few one solitary single ended up being fighting with relationship.Cheryl slaughtered very little accomplishing distribute babdominal exercisesy torso that has labourious progresses workoutsLiam Payne by as they Naomi Campbell substantially cosies joe younger supermodelBut hold on there didn, In addition, resulting in the woman's in the need for appears because he recited almost all count traffic one if logging hands in the length of its gary mother nature, Together with going to say his own discover in between each one.Moreover, While you are posed exactly who seem to successful FHM complete most sexy spouse back 2009, Frank thought Nadine Coyle when several rrt had been Chezza.

  14. The information you are providing that is really good. Thank for making and spending your precious time for this useful information. Thanks again and keep it up. Top CA firm in India

  15. An assurance for you that you'll have feelings for escort in Udaipur later viewing my amazing escorts at Udaipur, striking big breasts and a great slender figure. I provide busty escorts at Udaipur city, very attentive meetings for trendy, higher profile call girls in Udaipur.
    Udaipur escort service
    Nainital escort service
    Haldwani escort service
    Ramnagar escort service
    Rudrapur escort service

  16. The girls are mind-blowing and they are ready to provide the enhanced pleasure to customers all the time and they can boost erotic life for sex purposes.
    Mumbai Escorts
    Escorts in Mumbai
    Mumbai Call Girls

  17. Come to meet any of your sex dreams at Sexiest Rajendra Place Escorts Once upon a time our elegant models are women, juicy breasts, sensual lips, sensual breasts, young, escort women, beautiful, attractive nature. Our rates are very affordable that anyone can enjoy.
    Rajendra Place Escorts

  18. Model Delhi Call Girls are very impressive to perform the better and better hookups again and again for the glossy life. When you are thinking to join the company of the call girls because these girls are fun.

    Delhi Call Girls

  19. One of the beautiful and glamorous independent Delhi Escorts, you can find the same intimacy you always expect. She will let you enjoy sexual intimacy with so much love and care to get over all the worries you have from your loneliness and isolation.

  20. There are several reasons why you ought to choose the decision of Girls Near Me Services. allow us to have a glance at our specialities below. All our Delhi escorts are extremely beautiful, gorgeous, busty and seductive. Their godly attractiveness is sure to attract you towards them.

  21. The Few things are very crucial for the people in life that they can’t miss at all. Hence, you can also start the new erotic things for the beautiful relationship with the help of Delhi Escorts in Russian girls because the Russian Call Girls are very much good to perform nude performance.

    Delhi Escorts Service

  22. An online search for Delhi Escorts is a perfect way of making sure that you will receive a popular type of Hot Escorts service. This escort agency has trained all the hot beauties a lot. Making sure that you will receive everything your body is asking for.

  23. Avail unlimited fun and enjoy in Dehradun Escorts endless sexual orgasms from horny girls who will be seductive and fierce in the bedroom and get sexual satisfaction. Escort in Dehradun | Dehradun Escorts | Mahipalpur Escorts

  24. We have a gallery of some of the hottest, most adventurous girls that you will ever meet. Are you looking for a romantic night out in the town? A quiet night in where you can make all of your dreams come true? We have the girl for you.
    Delhi Escorts
    Noida Escorts

  25. The bold beautiful performance is vital for you and when you are thinking to make sure a good sex life then the role of the young teenage partner is very important in this way. These girls are unique and different from the common call girls.
    Mumbai Escorts
    Model Escorts in Mumbai
    Russian Escorts in Mumbai

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. There are many VIP Indore Escorts are ready to give you the best friend while you come to the area where a lot of Indore fun night wait to make a lot of enjoyment with you.
    Indore Escorts

  28. Well, you can change the sex partner by getting the services of a call girls’ agency and we also offer the Young College Girls Escorts in Mumbai and the young teen call girls are good for the boosted sex performance.
    Mumbai Escorts
    Mumbai Call Girls
    Colaba Escorts

  29. Mumbai‌ ‌Call‌ ‌Girls ‌have‌ ‌good‌ ‌features‌ ‌of‌ ‌relationships‌ and‌ ‌the‌ ‌call‌ ‌girls‌ ‌are‌ ‌performing‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌manner‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌choose‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌bunch‌ ‌of‌ ‌services.
    Mumbai Escorts
    Mumbai Call Girls
    Chembur Escorts


  30. Ultimate Destination for finding High Profile Independent Escorts in Nainital Like You Feel 100 % Real Girl Friend Experience.
    Nainital Escorts | Nainital Escorts


  31. Do you want to get a full exotic service? Mumbai Escorts Hub here at your service. You can meet with our call girls to make your time memorable full of enjoyment. We offer all types of sex with great satisfaction. Our Independent call Girl gives real massage along with full service of deep throat, cim, cum, anal and much more basically you think our ladies and would love to serve you without rushing. It's our passion and choice to be an escort that's why our call girls love to satisfy our clients for recommendation and referral.

    Mumbai Escorts Services:
    Mumbai Escorts | Mumbai Escorts Service |

    Mumbai Sex Aunty Number | Phone Sex Mumbai | Mumbai Call Girl Whatsapp Number | Mumbai Call Girls Near Me |