A subversive faith

There has been some public debate recently about religious education in schools, especially the suggestion that it should include atheism, which to me seems to defeat the object of having any religious education at all! Out of the woodwork have come all those who would just love to get rid of religious education all together. WHY? Apart from faith schools it has already been turned into teaching about religions, useful in our multi cultural society perhaps, but hardly likely to 'corrupt' the pupils by bringing them to religious faith. Whereas in the past we relied on religious education to help our children to learn about moral values by teaching them knowledge of simple truths expressed in things like the ten commandments, we now seem to rely on a very different approach and where has it got us?

The digitally simulated voice of a secular society proclaims its own lack of values, promoting instead, in its cyberspaces and theme parks, a soul less and aggressive materialism which seems to come before all else.

In the secular society we have created for ourselves, it is the state that takes many of our decisions for us, moral or otherwise. It's not just cyberspace and theme parks that symbolize the society we have become, most of the media expose us to lifestyles we feel we must buy into, while feeding us a world view that perhaps doesn't quite give the whole picture.
This secular society, while professing tolerance, hates religion, especially Christianity. What frightened of a bunch of old ladies and do gooders who worship a Jesus, meek and mild, where's the harm? Historically it is hatred of Christianity's power; before the creation of the modem State, it was Christianity that largely determined how nations and peoples were governed. More important for today however, is the fact that religion, Christianity, is a bit more radical than the watered down version presented by many of our Churches. Christianity is radical and it is political it is concerned for the well being of the polis, society, that means the well being of every person in it.
Christianity's political radicalism stems from the CROSS. 2000 years ago, those in control did not like Jesus's message which seemed to question the established order of things and subvert their authority. Jesus's message is no more popular today.
Why is it, as Rousseau proclaimed, 'man was born free but is everywhere in chains?', that is as true today as it was at the dawning of the 18th century enlightenment.
Why do we still have very poor people in our country when the state tells us it looks after everyone and we appear to be surrounded by so much wealth?
It's OK to be a Christian as long as you don't make too much fuss and collude with a society which is based on a notion of state that progressively strips away more of the sacred and replaces it with the profane.
Good Friday reminds us of the conflict that has always existed between God's ways and the ways of human society without God. At the heart of the Christian Gospel is a radical message, subversive, anarchic even; for though it does not advocate chaos, it does seriously challenge things as they are. The CROSS is a dangerous reminder to us that the STATE has no power to save, whatever its claims it still doesn't seem to have given its citizens that liberty and freedom for which JESUS DIED.

May the Risen Lord bless you this Easter.

Father Keith