Not in God’s Name by Jonathan Sacks is next up on my reading list. I see it is the #1 Best Seller in Christian Theology on Amazon. Which is interesting considering the author’s faith…
I wonder if that is saying something Christians need to hear. The accusation that religion is not part of the solution but part of the problem, because it leads to war, terrorism, violence, oppression and abuse, is a common one. My natural reaction as a Christian leader is to point out that the religion I follow is absolutely not like that, but incarnates the principle of self-giving; and that religion is easily co-opted into war but it isn’t usually the cause of it. But maybe – and this is the strength of Sacks’ book – we have to fess up to the fact that faith often lets itself down and does choose oppressive options; and is also far too easily co-opted by others into actions and attitudes it should never have adopted. We need to do better.
So here’s a cheer for the Archbishop of York’s response, for instance, to the outrage in Tunisia (see text below); for some decent prayers to use tomorrow about it; and let’s take seriously the Huff post survey that more than half of Britons think religion does more harm than good; and the same Huff post’s new series Beyond Belief on fearless Britons who’ve have used their faith to create positive change within their religion. One of the lead stories at the moment on their excellent webpage is, for instance, about a Christian social worker who is helping protect children from Christian abusers. Sometimes we have been part of the problem and we need to say so – and try hard to be part of the solution – and if there is truth in our faith, then we will not be working alone as we do it.
A Statement of Condolence, Empathy and a Call to Prayer
by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu
I want to express my deep condolences to the families of those British holiday makers who were brutally murdered in Sousse, Tunisia. At times such as these, words can seem so limited and futile in the face of brutality and horror. To the bereaved and to those who were wounded in the attack – you are in the thoughts and prayers of many of us.
My thoughts also go to the family of the manager beheaded by his driver in Lyon, France; and to those murdered and injured in Kuwait.
There is a yearning amongst so many people to respond to these acts, to respond in a way which builds up rather than destroys.
(Read on below the fold).