Matthew Burns

HEADMASTER’S BLOG – WHAT DETERMINES WHAT WE’RE NOT

Today’s newspapers carry the news that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams has entered the debate about whether Britain is a Christian country. It strikes me as unfortunate that a political point-scoring squabble between Cameron and Clegg has been given legitimacy by his intervention. 

Rowan William’s argument was that less than 15% of the population attend church, therefore Britain has entered a Post Christian era. The former Archbishop is known as an academic and is currently the Master of Magdelene College, Cambridge so he knows the importance of building the foundations of an argument.

But the manner in which his remarks have been reported suggest otherwise as no justification is given for making the 15% the magic number to determine whether Britain is Post Christian. If 15% is for some reason important, then few institutions can claim that 15% of the population are regular participants.

We become a post-music, post-art and post-football nation. Quite simply, the argument, as it is reported, utterly fails to hold water.

But the former Archbishop, and his successor Justin Welby, have a point. If we value the Christian tradition, which has contributed so much to the social legal and educational framework of this country, then we must invest in it.

His comments may be taken as a depressing commentary or a sharp poke in the ribs that we must actively support that which we value. 

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