09 April 2007

Our Ethical Heritage

Carsten Höller's 'Test Site'In belated celebration of my birthday (yes, it was a Good Friday, thank you), I today took the family to London, principally in order that my six-year-old, who recently studied the great fire of London at school, could visit the Monument. We also popped into Tate Modern while at St Paul's Cathedral, but didn't think much of anything that goes by the name of art in that building, with the exception of Höller's Test Site, though that's really just an oversized children's slide – the sun dial opposite the Tower of London was a far more interesting sculpture.

All that to say, I'm late getting to the papers today, but Bruce Anderson in The Independent makes for an edifying read this Easter Monday, expanding on the comments made by the Archbishop of Birmingham a couple of days ago:

In the West, we have a vast cultural and intellectual heritage. But our ethical heritage is sadly depleted. Its two wells were the Classics and Christianity. The Classical well has already ceased to function. The Christian one may run dry even before the oil wells.
He concludes, "In our dealings with Islam, it would help us if we had more confidence in our own values and traditions. In order for that to occur, as many people as possible ought to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ."  Given that I can imagine a number of people dismissively throwing their hands up at that suggestion, a good start at least would be for as many people as possible to understand the contribution that Christianity has made to Western culture ... a possible topic for one of our experts to address in a future edition of The Difference, perhaps?

(Yes, I did experience Carsten Höller's "voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind" – "unexpectedly bumpy" was the verdict.)


Ulster Man said...

I've just seen your link on Cranmer's blog, so I'm visiting. You've got a lot in common (he hasn't got a magazine, but he writes better!). All these issues are important to raise. The Church needs to be heard in the world. There's too much world in the Church!

Rebecca said...

Just finished watching The Bible Revolution on channel 4 - I hadn't realised how much we had the Bible to thank for freedom of choice, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression.

Anonymous said...

Having attended an Easter Day service in Derbyshire taken by a retired Bishop, perhaps the Church needs to enlist a few more (young) clergy if they wish to enlarge their congregations. Mind you - he did have us all laughing at his jokes!

Jean in Witney Oxon

Anonymous said...

Thankfully I can't get channel four in Egypt. I suspect they were discussing the Theodosian Code. We have the Romans to thank for that. I've nothing against the church but if your problem is with Islam then understand what you are facing. Most muslims cannot read classical arabic, even the arabs. There is no 'church' structure in Sunni Islam. If you ant to fight fire with fire you will need blind faith. Lets hear it for another Inquisition!

CuCu, Cairo

The Difference said...

CuCu, I welcome any comments from the Muslim world - I hope we can look forward to further contributions from you in the future. Your reference to Channel 4 confused me at first until I realised you were picking up on Rebecca's comment. The programme (a description of which you can find here) was in fact an exploration of the cultural legacy of Wycliffe, Tyndale and Cranmer, who fought against the Church to have the Bible translated and published in English.