Minority Status of Christians

The Spectator, by Tim Stanley:

All of this is doubly irritating in an age in which horoscopes are widely read and a significant slice of the population thinks Earth has been visited by aliens. The human race is no less credulous than it once was. It’s just that its taste in the fantastic has moved on. So we now live in a post-Christian society, surrounded by the archaeology of an almost forgotten faith. One of the jobs of Christians in the next few decades will simply be to preserve – keep the churches open, keep the assemblies going, keep the Church of England’s role as the national church. As Hector says in The History Boys: ‘pass it on, boys, pass it on.’…

Re-evangelisation of Britain, however, has to start with acceptance that Christianity is no longer in control of European society. Christians have to think and act like a minority. That means being as loud and righteous as other groups have been when pursuing their goals. Happily, legal funds now exist to defend people who are denied the right to wear a cross at work or refuse an unreasonable demand for customer service. We need to be more vocal about fighting for the freedom to preach in the street or to avoid participating in abortion. A fine is deeply irritating, imprisonment an injustice. But both might be blessings in disguise. If the cost of standing up for the tenets of the Christian faith is persecution then that’s the price that has to be paid – and it could stir the hearts of onlookers. Never forget that a martyr is a witness. And the Christian story required witnesses for it to be told.

Christians have to prove not only that they have a right to speak their mind but also that everyone else benefits from having a healthy religious culture. In the past few centuries, Christians have contributed towards the abolition of slavery, the clearing of slums, the fight against low wages and the resistance to totalitarianism. They still have many wonders to perform.

This is an essay from ‘Conservatism and human rights’, a collection of essays published by Bright Blue. Tim Stanley is leader writer for the Daily Telegraph and contributing editor for the Catholic Herald.

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.