I write this blog after much prayer, hugely concerned by the ongoing polarisation of our society.
Many blame the current political situation, but I think this is too easy to do.
Our nation has always been divided over politics, but never have I seen such disdain and hatred for those ‘on the other side’ of the debate.
Something of real significance has changed in our cultural psyche, as a nation we have forgotten how to empathise and we have forgotten how to compromise for a greater good.
Politics has become dangerously personal and I am genuinely terrified as to where we are heading.
So what has changed?
Some say the rise of individualism, other’s blame the advancement of technology?
Both have isolated the masses into virtual groups of shared opinion, with little interaction with those who think differently.
But I feel that such theories overlook the most significant change in our society for over a millennia – the decline of Christianity.
The Christian world view is built on the fundamental belief of our Trinitarian God – Three distinct persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) yet totally one.
Less than one generation ago millions of us would meet in our local churches every Sunday and worship the God of both ‘diversity and union’.
We were all taught values (albeit not exclusive to Christianity) of Grace and Mercy, humility and empathy and we were called to follow Christ’s example and love the unloveable, defend the weak, seek justice and love our enemies.
Church played a huge part in building the tolerant and prosperous society that we all once lived in and there is no coincidence that the tragic decline in church attendance has led to opposite social outcomes.
But to what end?
We can of course look to other monotheistic religions whose deities are of singular personhood (and thus hinder any diverse expression), or we can collapse under the self-indulgences of polytheism?
We can continue to experiment (as we are) with secularism, but this has never ended well. Historically Atheist regimes unite their people under tyrannical oppression, or they simply collapse under the inevitable lawlessness of hyper individualism.
So what are our options?
I suggest coming back to church.
Friends, I am not arguing for a theocracy, neither am I declaring a perfect state under a Christianised culture (we are all sinners). I am just highlighting the obvious social problems that follow when the God of the Bible is rejected and His church neglected.
History will tell you that Christianity builds a healthier society, it promotes both “Unity not uniformity, Diversity not disorder” and it does this because it is uniquely built on the truth of who God really is.
It is only in Christ that we can begin to love our neighbour as ourselves, (whatever their difference) and reverse our social decline.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another, if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14