OCOMEALL YE FAITHFUL; Forget Those Who Say Religion's Irrelevant. Spirituality Is Making a Comeback -- and Thank Heaven for That, Says Repentant Sinner JONATHAN AITKEN

Daily Mail (London), December 24, 2009 | Go to article overview

OCOMEALL YE FAITHFUL; Forget Those Who Say Religion's Irrelevant. Spirituality Is Making a Comeback -- and Thank Heaven for That, Says Repentant Sinner JONATHAN AITKEN


Byline: JONATHAN AITKEN

MY FIRST Christmas event this year was on December 1, at a packed St Michael's Church, in London's Chester Square.

After exquisite singing by an amateur choir, the former head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt brought tears to many eyes by reading out a letter from a young soldier in Afghanistan to 'the Geezer upstairs'.

Then I went north of the border to the Church of the Nazarene in Perth, whose carol service filled a record-breaking 3,600 ticketed places at 2pm, 4pm and 7pm sessions, even in the bad weather. When I last spoke in that church four years ago, its carol service attracted a crowd of about 350.

The traditional message of O Come All Ye Faithful is being heeded to a remarkable degree. Cathedrals and big city churches are reporting a huge leap in attendances. Westminster and Oxford cathedrals, which specialise in beautiful choral music, have doubled their number of services to cope with popular demand.

Does this have a deeper spiritual significance? Some observers suggest the swing back to traditional Christmas celebrations is an antidote to the poison of political correctness that would have Christmas replaced by a Winterval or some such other non-Christian nonsense.

Nostalgia Others believe we are entering a phase of greater pious nostalgia as shown by Selfridges' announcement that their sales of religious Christmas cards have soared by 30 per cent.

I think the new mood goes deeper. The truth, although atheists won't like to hear it, is that there is growing evidence that Faith may be making a comeback. This is not a rush to religion. It is a more subtle trend often outside the footprint of traditional churchgoing. As the old power structures of arrogant materialism and political authority crumble, there are unmistakable signs of rising spiritual interest. Maybe this is because so many former landmarks of reliability (such as banks) have become part of tomorrow's problem.

As the coming decade will be the age of anxiety, it's natural that many people should have begun their own processes of questioning today's failing certainties.

What is being discarded is the aggressive secularism and militant materialism of theme-and-my-bonus mindset. The search is on for deeper meanings, better values and that 'need for something more' which seeks a spiritual dimension to life.

To assess the reality of such searchings this Christmas, here is a personal portrait of events, conversations, faith-based good works and signs of spiritual optimism which I have encountered just in the past few weeks. I understand this territory because, since coming out of prison almost ten years ago, I have been searching for and finding stronger spiritual foundations.

At first, bucketfuls of cynicism were poured over my Christian journey. Privately, I was more sympathetic towards those cynics than I let on. For my early weeks as a mature theology student threw up many selfdoubts about 'getting religion' and 'foxhole conversions'.

But after a painful process of stumbling, doubting and even wondering whether I had lost my marbles, the seeds of faith slowly took root in me, just as they seem to be growing today in many other searchers. So from that same path, here are some snapshots which provide evidence in support of the trend towards greater spirituality.

In November, I took part in a debate at the Oxford Union where a packed chamber of 19 to 22-year-olds argued over the resolution 'Britain should return to Christian values'.

After a passionate four-hour debate, students voted 245 to 235 in favour of values based on Jesus' teachings.

But do not be fooled into thinking that this spiritual energy at Oxford and several other universities is an elitist phenomenon.

At the other end of the social scale, there is a renewal, unequalled since Victorian times, of activity by faith-based action groups within deprived communities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

OCOMEALL YE FAITHFUL; Forget Those Who Say Religion's Irrelevant. Spirituality Is Making a Comeback -- and Thank Heaven for That, Says Repentant Sinner JONATHAN AITKEN
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.