There is at this time a noticeable hostility towards the Christian Faith. A demonstration of this was realised at the last General Election. The then leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron found himself under unbearable pressure to compromise his Christian principles. Having first given way to this pressure he later repented that decision, choosing instead to follow his conscience and resign from his leadership role. He is an honourable man who chose Christ over his political ambitions and cares about his reputation. He made a stand for his faith when he could have lived the lie and fulfilled his political ambitions. Tim Farron has made many remarks since and a speech. Here are a few extracts which are hard-hitting and to the point. The speech was made to an audience at the Theos Think Tank. It was titled: What Kind of Liberal Society Do We Want?
“….Christianity is disliked by the public. If you actively hold a faith that is more than an expression of cultural identity … you are deemed to be far worse than eccentric. You are dangerous. You are offensive.”
“People talk about shared values today. “But when they do, what they mean is ‘These are my values – and I’m going to act as though they are also yours and will demonstrate contempt for you if you depart from them’…
“John Stuart Mill is the father of modern liberalism. He spoke of many threats to liberty. Amongst the greatest that he identified, is the tyranny of opinion. In ‘on Liberty’, he says the following. In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.’
Written in 1859. Spine–tinglingly relevant to 2017.
Mill says that the quality of our ideas and of our society is enhanced by free expression of competing world views. Society is stale without that. He is clear that our liberty is at risk when we all feel a pressure to start thinking the same things. Even more at risk when it is the express intention of those who hold those views to encourage this universal assimilation. Social media feeds this. Maybe ten years ago we thought social media would lead to a greater democracy, greater individual empowerment, the flowering of thousands of unmediated, unfiltered, unspun viewpoints and opinions. How naïve does that sound now? Today social media fuels groupthink, pack mentality and depressing conformity – not to mention a disgraceful lack of civility and decency. The tyrants of opinion have their secret police behind millions of keyboards.’ “Christians have more reason than most to be alarmed.”
The above is quoted with the kind permission of Tim Farron MP. That permission does not mean that he agrees with all that is written on this blog site, or even in this article. But in regard to this matter of how the Christian faith is seen we are I believe united in the conviction that Christianity is under sustained attack.
That last paragraph of the passage quoted by Farron is as neat and accurate a description of what is faced today by dissident voices as I have ever heard or read. No free society should feel comfortable in the face of such a testimony. And in case you suspect otherwise, I am not a supporter of the Liberal Democrats nor have I ever voted for them. But we ought I think consider what kind of society is content to see this happen; and then shrug it off as if it matters not at all. Why should a conscientious objector to those who seek to impose their mindset on others be pulled down because of their beliefs? These comments and quotes from a top liberal politician give some idea of the level of threat there is to Christians brave enough to speak out. Tim Farron may not be a Thomas Cranmer, a true martyr. An archbishop who was executed for his faith in the 16th century, having recanted of previous remarks spoken against his conscience. I tend to believe that sometime not so very far advanced someone in a Western country will be called upon to fulfil a similar destiny, although under current laws, not capital punishment. Unless at some future point Sharia Law is imposed upon some sufficiently weakened European country.
Tim Farron has shown the courage to stand up for his faith in a land hostile to evangelical Christianity. That lone act has ensured that high office will never be his. In the present age he is a rarity in this country, a man who sacrificed his reputation and ambitions for his faith. On the basis of this evidence he upholds the truth that God created this world and set commandments, statutes and decrees in place to ensure its safekeeping, very much like a manufacturer’s terms and conditions. Break them and any guarantees associated with that product working well, safely, or at all, become null and void. I believe we have broken many if not most of these conditions. So, the threat of the consequences, even retribution becomes real. God is not mocked without consequences.
Farron was asked a question, caught off guard and made a reply he regretted. We Christians are not so far removed from persecution. The West is the only part of the world where Christians are free to speak and live out our faith. But those freedoms are becoming narrowed down in one sphere after another. There is something called a tipping point when an expression of disfavour becomes something else. While writing this my thoughts turned to the Jewish girl Anne Frank. She was born in Frankfurt Germany in 1929 and grew up a happy child full of life. In 1933 Hitler became leader of Germany. Anne’s family realising the threat moved to the Netherlands in 1934, and she continued her contented life. She made new friends, was speaking Dutch and going to school in her new country. Anne and her family felt safe once again. In 1940 Hitler invaded the Netherlands. Anne who had written her famous diary while in hiding was discovered and eventually died of typhus in a concentration camp. This was in March 1945. Sixteen years passed between her birth and and a life filled with reasonable expectations, and her tragic death. That is a measure of how fast change can happen. History seems to meander slowly along until suddenly, without much warning you get a violent acceleration and everything changes. We are experiencing an accelerating change towards whatever the future holds. But if Post Modernism is a form of Marxism, which some people think it is, then realise that persecutions from the extremes on the left of politics have in the past created gulags, labour camps, and mass killings on a scale which dwarf Hitler’s fascism. We rarely hear about the atrocities of the left; of Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot in Cambodia. Stalin caused the deaths by starvation of between 5.7 to perhaps to 7 million people in the 1932–1933 Ukrainian famine caused by the collectivisation of agriculture policy. And that was just the beginning of the horrors.
It might be a good idea if these regimes were highlighted in our schools and universities as a warning to a generation such as ours. We are totally unprepared for such a change. Why? Because we are for the most part clueless about history, which makes the present all the more scary. Look around you and see what is happening. We have a care for refugees, and rightly so, but what about others who are for the most part starved of notice. Please watch the video below.