If Christianity Is Dying, We've Lost Our Place in the Universe

Article excerpt

Byline: MELANIE MCDONAGH

The Archbishop of Westminster has warned of a moral vacuum with Christianity 'almost vanquished' in Britain.

Melanie McDonagh argues that he is missing the real point First day: Fergie adjusts her daughter Eugenie's collar as she poses with Andrew for a photograph on arrival at the princess's new school in Windsor CARDINAL Murphy-O'Connor may be right in saying that Christianity has little influence on British moral behaviour and he is certainly correct in saying that people are looking for spiritual values in other areas.

He should know. A survey in this paper just before Easter showed that only a small minority of young people in London actually knew what Good Friday meant. If we don't know much about the Crucifixion, the death of Christ, and the Resurrection that followed it, then it's hardly surprising that we give Christianity a miss when it comes to moral values.

The trouble with the Cardinal's remarks is that they may be misunderstood to mean that the value of Christianity is simply that it improves people's moral behaviour.

Or indeed, that it provides a sense of spirituality, in a vague, British, Thought For The Day sort of way. Or that it has bequeathed uplifting architecture, like Durham Cathedral, which came top in a Radio 4 poll of favourite buildings.

Although all these things are true in their fashion, that's not the point of faith.

The point of Christianity is simply Christ.

Christians are followers of Christ. They believe that God's care for and involvement with creation culminated at a point in history, 2,000 years ago, when he entered our world, as a human being just like us, as a Palestinian Jew.

He didn't provide a theory of social relations or a doctrine of love; he offered himself. …