A couple of weeks ago, the Sunday Times published, as its lead in its "News Review", an article by a man, who 26 years ago, left our sunny shores for a life "across the pond". Last year, he returned to Britain to live, and now, aged 48, he writes about the Britain of then and now. He, more than most, can clearly see the differences between the Britain of 1985 and the Britain of today and many of his comments are uplifting. Britain is now a less class ridden society, he says, and given the violent class warfare at the time, of the miners versus the Thatcher government, one can see his point. But he saves his biggest statement on "volte face" for religion.
I quote - "What's gone of course is the C of E. Religion itself seems to have been wiped away from the cultural map in Britain in ways unimaginable in faithful America. I see the merits of secularism more clearly now. It takes constant exposure to American fundamentalism to feel relieved by the prosaic dismissal of the spiritual by the English. I wonder whether this has really truly changed. Anglicanism, as founded by the first Queen Elizabeth, was always about the blurring of doctrinal difference, the aversion to looking into others souls, the modesty of a limited spiritual imagination epitomised by the Book of Common Prayer."
Well, this article lifted my spirits no end. Being here day in and day out, one sometimes wonders whether humanism or atheism is making any progress at all, or whether we are simply banging our heads hard against the wall of entrenched religion and especially Chistianity. But here is a man who has been away for 25 years who can see real change in our society! Hoorah!