Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Freeloading freeloaders

If I offered an annual prize (and perhaps I should) for the quote of the year, the 2008 prize might well go to John Benton, leader, with his wife, of the parenting classes that Rach and I have been attending for the past 3 weeks.

The final class of three was last night, and John said that our country was

freeloading on our Christian heritage.

Now, he was talking, naturally, in the context of child-rearing. But, I would argue that this same idea could be applied to much of our culture. As a nation we’ve swallowed – hook, line and sinker – the notion that we should do things if they feel right, enjoy them when we do them, and if we happen not to enjoy them, seek therapy to find out how we misinterpreted our own desires, and get it right next time.

Of course, I’m exaggerating and generalising wildly, but the point is that some decades ago before postmodern thinking, our crime rates were much lower; our children more obedient and schools safer; our concept of duty towards our neighbour more strong.

And so now, when these things can no longer be taken for granted, and the standards of common decency and manners we once cherished are no longer shared, it seems to me that when we complain about the behaviour of civil society, we’re freeloading on our Christian heritage by assuming we can abandon previously pervasive biblical standards and norms, without experiencing the consequences.

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