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Food From Thought

Church Compliant

Church Compliant

It may be true of other Christian denominations, but we see it most clearly with the Church of England. The C of E, remember, was brought into being in order to do the bidding of an absolutist monarch, to give Henry VIII exactly what he wanted, and to keep out any other influence, particularly that of the West’s traditional spiritual leader.

Things haven’t changed, except the nature of the person(s) in power, the ruler ship. After the absolute monarch, power in England passed to the aristocracy, the landowners, the squirearchy, the captains of industry and commerce, and finally – in our own day – to the media, the opinion-formers, popular “culture”, the “chattering classes”, and not to forget our supposedly-democratic political leaders.

The C of E has always toed the line of this ever-changing ruler ship, and probably it always will (when, in recent times, an Archbishop of Canterbury has publicly opposed a Prime Minister or government policies, this was not an exception to the rule, but an adherence to it; it was simply that, at these times, the Prime Minister of the day had become seriously detached from the views of the media, the opinion-formers, etc., etc.).

The problem today is that those with real say in our world no longer have even a debased political reason for supporting “religion”. Most are materialists (in all senses of the word), some quite openly so.

Others seem to adopt a postmodernist approach to religion – it’s fine as long as its principles are never allowed to interfere with such things as the pursuit of power, wealth, and real politik. The C of E – as in the past – complies with the ideas and values of the present ruler ship, and so we should not be surprised if the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, brings in some belief or practice which has never been part of Christianity before, and which flies in the face of the Church’s tradition, or its long-held interpretation of the Bible.

It is not that the Church always institutes something wrong, but that it does it for the wrong reason – not because Christian truth and rightness requires it, but because it is “politically correct”. The Church of England’s history and tradition has made it behave this way; contrast it with the very-different tradition of the Roman Catholic Church in England; would anyone expect it to bow the knee to the Establishment, the media, fashionable pundits, etc.?

The C of E may, in the past, have been in the hands of the people in power, but they were in no way possessed of purely-this-worldly values. Granted space and time, it would be possible to document exactly when the Church gave in to this new pressure, and abandoned its rejection of what the New Testament writers call, with warnings, the “things of this world”, and concentration on the next.

It would be possible, also, to list dozens of quotations from the Bible and many other Christian writers, warning us of the wrongness and futility of this compliance. But postmodern “Liberal” understandings of Christianity allow the C of E’s leaders to disregard all of this, since now, the ongoing development of truth (or its “evolution” – that ubiquitous word) can allow us to remake everything just as we would like it to be, fulfilling our own (perceived) needs. Do I exaggerate? Am I simply presenting a parody? Perhaps slightly, but only to reveal clearly the reality of things.