Ed West Ed West

We should encourage and promote ‘Cultural Anglicanism’ in schools

In this week’s magazine Douglas Murray has struck up a friendship with Professor Richard Dawkins, despite things having started rather badly when Douglas previously suggested that the professor’s failure to criticise Islam was just him ‘showing his survival instinct’.

Well, no one can accuse Dawkins of being shy on that front now, and the Professor recently received a sort of auto-de-fe for stating Islamophobic facts. But he was never a big fan of multiculturalism, at least the cultural relativism side that sought to treat western science as no better than the wacky beliefs of hunter-gatherer tribes; this has put him in conflict with some fellow opponents of the Church, who saw the arrival of other religions into British life as a chance to undermine Christianity by treating all faiths equally, in the hope that they’d become equally irrelevant.

That, clearly, has not happened, and Dawkins now says he feels ‘Anglican nostalgia, especially when you look at the competition’. He also admits that he would feel ‘deprived’ if there were no more churches: ‘I’m kind of grateful to the Anglican tradition for its benign tolerance. I sort of suspect that many who profess Anglicanism probably don’t believe any of it at all in any case but vaguely enjoy, as I do… I suppose I’m a cultural Anglican and I see evensong in a country church through much the same eyes as I see a village cricket match on the village green. I have a certain love for it.’

Those who do not respect their own religions tend to end up respecting someone else’s, but Prof Dawkins does offer a sort of remedy for the train wreck of multiculturalism.

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