The UK is a Christian Country? Doesn’t Bovver Me, Mate!

There are mild reverberations from David Cameron’s statement in the Church Times  that the UK is a ‘Christian Country’.  This comment bothered a lot of people including Sir Terry Pratchet and AC Grayling (one of my favourite Philosophy scholars, as it happens!) who signed a letter to the Telegraph stating that Mr. Cameron’s remarks were ‘divisive’.

I am a Muslim who has lived in the UK for nearly eighteen years.I am free to practise Islam according to my understanding (something I am NOT free to do in an openly declared Muslim country, Malaysia). While in the UK, I can question and reinterpret my faith, in Malaysia I would be jailed and rehabilitated like one of Malaysia’s greatest scholars (you can read the story here).

Do I find Mr. Cameron’s statement divisive? Absolutely not! We need to understand that Christianity is a tradition. This means that it is a collection of beliefs, practices, customs or my favourite word, culture. Within this tradition, there are infinite ways of ‘doing’ Christianity, as it were. There are even Christians don’t believe Jesus was a real historical personality but use the myth of Jesus as a means of empowerment. In the UK, this is allowed and people are free to interpret the phenomenon of Christianity as they see fit.

What is important is not that Mr. Cameron made such a remark but rather what he meant by it. When Mr. Cameron says ‘this is a Christian country’, he does not mean it in the same as when we say Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state. The identity of Christianity here is benign, not malignant. . In no way did he mean that Christianity is the ‘official religion’ like how Islam is the ‘state religion in Malaysia’. In Malaysia, non-Muslims are psychologically disempowered with Islamofascists telling them how they’re hell-bound infidels and that their religious artifacts offend Muslims. This is not likely to happen in the UK.

So lets not worry about names too much. Names can bring infinite implications. Lets worry about substance.

About Farouk A. Peru
I am a human being in the world, blogging my existence. My thought systems may be found in my website:

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