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Can the Christian Church Provide Moral Guidance to the Western World in the 21st Century?
Publication date: 2002-12-27

Reforming Christianity to Provide Moral Guidance in the 21st Century

The realization that the people in today's world need moral direction has been expressed from time to time even in the 20th Century. Churchill spoke about a “religion of common sense”, John Major was calling “back to basics”. The need has been obvious — crime, immorality of every kind, dishonesty and corruption in government — the problems politicians keep talking about but fail to solve. In the past the source of morality in Europe had been Christianity, but in the course of the 20th century it has lost its influence, and no alternative effective source of moral guidance has emerged.

A week ago, Dr. Rowan Williams, the new Archbishop of Canterbury has delivered a lecture which was interpreted in some Media as an announcement of a new “moral crusade” by the Church of England.

The content of the lecture itself has little indication that this “crusade” will have any significant impact on the Human History. His attempt to summarize the present world scene is indistinguishable from what would have been written by a “left-of-left-of-center” political journalist. He sees the world through the prism of political cliches, which distort the reality to make it fit in with the political ideologies aimed at justifying arbitrary political power — that is abuse of government powers to favour the politicians themselves and their constituencies.

But, he does aim high by proposing “to engage with the social orders of the modern world … to articulate with as much energy and imagination as we [Dr Williams] can our [his] understanding of that larger story without which the most fundamental and challenging human questions won't even get asked, let alone answered.”

Can he succeed in his endeavour? And what fundamental questions he has to answer in order to succeed?

Dr. Rowan Williams's crusade is not his own private personal venture. He is acting in this crusade in his capacity as the head of the Church of England, and for that reason he is bound by the fundamental doctrines of his church. He has either to follow them as they are, or to change them publicly and officially. He cannot ignore them. If he does, he will be seen as a hypocrite and this will undermine his credibility.

The fundamental doctrine of the Church of England is based on deification of the personality of Jesus.

Jesus is considered as God and Son of God. And at the same time God is considered the Creator of the Universe.

One of the reasons for loss of the authority of the Christian church is that most people find it difficult to believe that it is possible for a man to be God and Son of God at the same time, or that a man could have created the Universe.

It is true that many of the present members of the Church of England, including the clergy, find it possible to remain within the Church in spite of their inability to believe the fundamental tenets of the Trinitarian doctrine. But the absence of clarity in this area is a serious obstacle in maintaining the credibility of the Church. People simply cannot believe in God, as it is defined by the doctrine of the Church of England. And without belief in God, they see no reason for belonging to the Church, or following its leaders.

The first fundamental question that Dr. Rowan Williams has to answer is “What is God?”, is it:

  1. whatever created the Universe, or
  2. Jesus the son of the Creator of the Universe, or
  3. the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost united in one Holy Trinity?

Besides the fundamental issue of the essence of God, there are many other important flaws in the Christian doctrine. But most of them follow from the deification of the personality of Jesus.

In order to be able to provide moral leadership Dr. Rowan Williams has to undertake the task of Reformation of the Church of England. The previous Reformation of the Church had been successful, and a new reformation is needed now. This task will consist in rejection of all the false ideas about God, the Creator of the Universe, and about Jesus, son of Mary, a man with rare, but not unnatural prophetic abilities.

An example of purification of the Abrahamic religion from the fallacies of the Trinitarian doctrine, as well as from the ethnic exclusivity of Judaism, is the Qur'an1, which Dr. Rowan Williams can use as a guide.

Once Dr. Rowan Williams understands that God is the Creator of the Universe, and that the purpose of religion is to guide Mankind to live in harmony with the Laws of Nature as ordained by the Creator, then he will be able to play a positive and constructive part in the life of Mankind by providing that much needed guidance. Without such understanding he will only add to the present confusion.

Notes:   -----   to top

1) The Qur'an is written in Arabic, and there are many translations. But all translations are inevitably restricted and distorted by the understanding of the translators. This should be taken into account. The same is true about any books on Islam. A good exposition of Islam in English is Islam in Focus by Hammudah 'Abd al 'Ati, who “directs his message both to Muslims and non-Muslims using a modernist tone with an ethical emphasis”.

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