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August 12, 2005

Comments

Jonathan

What a BORING article. I am an Englishman and come from a long line of English people. I don't think that the English find God an embarrassing subject, I just think that they are mostly disinterested in going to church or being spoonfed dogma and values that they don't buy into or agree with. This does not make them atheists or God-haters, it just means that they have other things in their lives that they pay more attention to or they follow their own brand of spirituality.

You don't have to go to church every Sunday and tithe your earnings to be a SPIRITUAL person. The problem is that Americans seem to come from a very God-fearing and preachy sort of culture, whereas the English (like a lot of European peoples) don't feel the need to shout their religious or spiritual affiliations from the rooftops and shove it down people's throats.

If anyone is Christian, Jewish or Muslim then that is fine, good luck to you. But that does not mean that others have to follow suit or turn to religious zealotry in a vain quest to convert the world to the bible. The monotheistic religions are all great world religions, but I mostly see them as a set of spiritual paths that people MAY choose to undertake or not.

Whatever your religion, whatever your belief-system or lack of, more power to you.

Damozel

Thanks for 'reading'!

chris h

"A slightly senile uncle,who lives in the attic"
Possibly the most perfect description of the english attitude toward church and religion i have come across,bearing in mind i am one of the ninety four percent of the non-godbothering and didn`t find your article boring in the least,quite the contrary.
I think our ambivalent attitude to religion derives from "god" given plagues, religious wars that made merrie england resemble the modern day middle east and a not unreasonable belief that someone who tells you they know what god thinks is probably lying, and trousering what lands on the collection plate.
God has been used against the british,papal control from rome,monarchs after that professing god-given authority and then Cromwells insane religious dictatorship,the equal of anything that might happen in Iran or Saudi.
We have even used god to beat ourselves up in modern times,the secular battles that have scarred northern ireland are only now abating and much work still needs to be done.
I deplore the fact that Tyndall was burnt for printing the bible in english,but at least that allows it to be read at home, in private, out of harms way, where it should be.
Charles Darwin was voted in 4th place in a top 100 britons poll,creationism will have an uphill struggle in britain.

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Alan

Makes me smile, what you wrote. Applied to me as much as anyone, really. God IS an Englishman; but He's not senile. He is love, as you will know. And love, well, we can't live without it, can we? For all the protestations against God I think the British have a quiet faithfulness. A subdued deference. A little spark of relgiosity. Some more so than others, why not? It's exactly like the whole royal thing. One must be somewhat ambivalent. It's just how it is. One mustn't frighten the horses, dear boy. One must know one's place. Yet one is invited to partake of the grand charade as much or as as little as one desires. Even to set one's heart against it if it so pleases one. But there is a penalty in that. Excommunication. Hence America! Oh, well, maybe that's stretching it a bit. Anyway, it all gets sorted out in the end. One big happy family, no? Or have I lost my marbles again... Thanks for posting. Makes my day.

Cheers!

Alan

PS Actually, my daughter once said to me "I am God". And she's Irish. So go figure, huh? I guess God lives in us all which is how it should be, no?

F@Wian

Great article. It epitomises exactly the way my family thinks and the kind of spiritual environment I grew up with in England in the 60s-80s... I was C of E christened, confirmed etc, but I was always hungry for Something Other. The C of E liturgy is beautiful, but I always had the feeling that I was sitting outside - that I couldn't understand what was going on. It was more of a traditional social thing, and asking questions didn't help. Christ was a sort of fairy-tale figure in a stained- glass window; an ideal, a hero even; but not someone I could know personally. No-one ever said I could. ('Perish the thought!' I hear my parents saying.) No-one in my family could have answered my questions if they had wanted to. So I kept things to myself and my dissatisfaction with life worked its way out through being obnoxious at home.
It was embarrassing and awkward for them all when I had my own 'sudden injection of God-consciousness' at university in a thoroughly biblical manner. Since then, I have been a source of discomfort for parents and siblings - I don't fit in any more. Especially since marrying a German who is as embarrassingly, wholeheartedly enthusiastic for that Jewish Messiah as I am. His own family find him strange now, as well.
I read 'Watching the English' by Kate Fox, over the summer - hilarious and extremely apt.
Thanks again.

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