George Carey claims that Christianity is one generation away from extinction….[and he] has a point. The forces of atheism are ranged against us and, as he points out, too many Christian clergy cannot stand up to the challenge. They are too ready to dilute their ethos ”“ look at what has been happening with faith schools, both Anglican and Catholic.
But before we give up on the faith of our forefathers, let’s consider three new factors. Pope Francis, Justin Welby and the backlash effect. The extraordinary impact of Francis has been felt not only among his immediate audience ”“ Italians, who are now retuning to Mass ”“ but, incredibly, among the intelligentsia that is traditionally so sceptical of Christian values. Jonathan Freedland, who is neither a Christian nor a conservative, went so far as to predict that in college dorms around the globe, students will replace their posters of Che Guevara with ones of Francis. Justin Welby’s impact has been more subtle, but he too has shown Christianity in a new light: inclusive, compassionate, and above all truthful. No wasting time and effort on false gods like money, celebrity, status.
Both men have struck a chord. Christians ”“ and many non-Christians ”“ have grown weary of the relentless pursuit of shallow goals. We have grown weary of being mocked for holding dear our heritage and its immortal values: charity, honesty, humility, and love. “Backlash” sounds too violent for a Christian response, but that is what I believe is taking root. I see it in the effort to block porn on the internet, the generous reaction to the Philippines’ disaster, the distaste for bloated bankers and for OTT, twerking celebrities.
Read it all.