12 May 2008

Christian MPs in Great Britain on the Causes of Their Country's Unhappiness

I don't know why St. Louis Catholic has become the monitor of the demise of Great Britain, but so be it. The travails of Great Britain in the recent year have been documented here before-- persecution (again--still) of the Church, the complete surveillance society, loss of faith, loss of identity, etc.

The Religion Correspondent of the Times, Ruth Gledhill, writes a story about how some Christian Members of Parliament blame the country's woes on the loss of Christian faith. Ms. Gledhill seemingly writes tongue-in-cheek, but the conclusions drawn are obvious. Great Britain has lost the faith, even the mere semblance of faith. And its reliance on the secular humanist solutions to problems is having the inevitable effect.

The MPs themselves, though they correctly identify the problem as stemming from the loss of Christian faith and values, still seem mired in the attitude that the government is still the primary caretaker of persons, as though if Christians stress a positive message the government will follow suit.

When the putative Archbishop of Canterbury throws his hands up in the air and whimpers that they will just have to accept Sharia law, there is a problem too large to ignore. But the change must begin as an interior one from the people themselves. That is what their pastors must encourage.

From the full story:

Heaven knows why we are all miserable now, say the Christian MPs

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The primary cause of unhappiness in Britain is not lack of material wealth but a loss of faith in God and religion, a group of MPs says today. In a new report on wellbeing, a crossparty group of Christian MPs echoes concerns raised by the Conservative leader, David Cameron, who has emphasised repeatedly the importance of action to improve society’s sense of “wellbeing”. They say that the Christian voice is not being respected properly because it comes across too often as “negative”.

Steve Webb, a Liberal Democrat MP, said: “Over the years, many of us who are MPs rooted in the Christian community have been concerned that our voice in the public square can come across as being too negative.

“We are easily identified by what we are against, but less clear what we are for.” He said that, despite material wealth, society lacked a sense of wellbeing. He argued that this had been caused by the erosion of religious values.

The report claims that despite the recent emphasis on “happiness” studies in some schools, and the debates on British identity and wellbeing, Britain is becoming increasingly miserable.

It says: “One impetus behind this project was our sense that there is a strong feeling of disaffection among the inhabitants of these islands. It seemed to us that our national sense of wellbeing is at a low ebb; people are wanting something more out of life.”

[...]

The MPs say that all legislators, charities and companies should subject decisions to a fivefold test, such as whether the action will encourage people to develop positive relationships in their families and communities and whether the action is socially and globally responsible.

The authors, who besides Mr Webb and Mr Streeter include the MPs Andy Reed, Alistair Burt and Caroline Spelman, say in the foreword: “Given all the advances of recent years, we seek to understand why a sense of human wellbeing – happiness if you like – is not more widespread.”

They conclude that it is the absence of certain key values, rather than material things, that is the primary cause of so much discontent. The report says: “Our solutions, therefore, do not involve yet more law or increased taxes, but rather a call to reexamine the decisions taken in every sector of society in the light of crucial life-changing principles.”

[...]

Citing recent research that suggested that, despite material advances, people today were no happier than 50 years ago, they call for a radical change in the nature of public rhetoric. “We must not weigh happiness in pounds sterling, nor measure success in university degrees,” they say. Although one of the authors admitted to The Times that the values outlined in the report were ones that flowed from the Christian faith, in the report they argue that their principles are applicable to people of all faiths and none.

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