An Ungodly Fry-Up
I’ve always found Stephen Fry an entertaining actor even though I disagree with the direction of his social activism. Last weekend he flew into Sydney to deliver a lecture at the Dangerous Ideas Festival, having done so he flew out the following morning. The size and value of his ‘environmental footprint’ on our fragile global gasses is a moot point, but never mind, such is the world of environmental hypocrisy.
The thrust of his lecture was that ‘Liberalism’ is dead. His answer, in a nutshell, was that we should all be nice to each other, stop arguing about petty matters such as gender and identity politics and that we all should be better than we are. Fair enough, but hardly profound.
I note in his comments however that even the liberal progressives are beginning to accept the reality that the very ethical, political and social construct that they have done their best to destroy is on its last legs. At long last the legions of commentators foreshadowing the grave plight of ‘Liberalism’ – perhaps the noblest intellectual and moral legacy of Christendom – might be getting their message across.
‘Liberalism’ is a social construct based upon, in large part, trust and mutual respect; personal civility; the rule of law; duty and obligation; freedom of speech, expression and religion; a clear sense of identity; an innate sense of spirit and an appreciation that we, as individuals, are not the centre of the universe.
None of the aforementioned attributes accurately describe our society. For forty-plus-years we have resolutely ignored the most obvious signs of encroaching decay. We ignored them because we were too dumb to recognise them, to bone-idle to do anything, too cowardly to stand up for what we believed – or perhaps we were just too damn greedy, Godless and self-centred we couldn’t give a continental toss.
So sad is our plight, so dim our intellects, we have to be told by an overweight celebrity actor that our existing social foundation sucks!
I have made reference to two words in this short piece which will, I know, be jarring to many of you – the first was Christendom and the second Godless! Shock horror! Not the dreaded R….. word!
Let me again restate what I mean by these terms. I have defined and I used the term Christendom to refer to: “the religious and secular body of Christians of the world subscribing to the shared values and ethics inspired by Jesus Christ and exemplified by Western Civilization. . Note: I use the word ‘secular’ to mean a-religious, indifference, exclusion or rejection of religion or religious considerations. [Mirriam Webster].
I use the word Godless to mean the outright denial of a Being or Spirit [or beings] beyond ourselves, beyond the here and now, that should be the source of, or inspiration for, moral authority.
In the context of these words I do not mean tub-thumping religious zealots. They are as anathema to me as they doubtless are to you. No one individual is correct in the debate about God – and extreme religious bigotry can have dreadful consequences. But this is not the Godliness to which I refer.
I refer to the private acceptance of the ‘idea’ that there is something deeper within us, our Soul if you like, that if neglected, leads us into a spiritual and social desolation wherein we become fixated upon ourselves, our problems and our desires. My ‘idea’ of Godliness transcends religious specific faith but is rather an encompassing whole wherein all faiths, formal or private, co-exist. The fact that I am a most imperfect Christian does not exclude other faiths – far from it. My idea of Godliness is a plea to awaken the spirituality that exists within us all.
Stephen Fry got one thing dead right – we all deserve to be better.