Post-Christian Europe needs followers of Jesus who understand that the Gospel is powerful in itself. We should not hold onto the privileges of old religious structures.
The Anglican Archbishop also asked religious groups to be “honest” and admit the “profound differences in what we believe and in the outworking of our faith.
Much has been said about atheists being aggressive towards believers, but what about believers themselves? According to Justin Welby, the leader of the Anglican Church, Christians can be much more intolerant.
In a speech to the Deputies of British Jews last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury said some of the worst hate mail he receives comes from Christians.
Welby told guests: “The worst poison pen letters I get are from other Christian groups on the whole.”
Christians can be the most intolerant of all the different faith groups in the UK, he said, despite Britain calling itself an inclusive society.
“The reality is that we do not as faith groups in our society always exhibit that secure tolerance to the world around us. (…) Christians are as bad as anyone at this - in fact, if I dare to be competitive, I think we're worse.”
HONESTY NEEDED TO POINT OUT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RELIGIONS
The Archbishop also said that in order to tackle extremism, faith groups must stop issuing “bland”, “anaemic” statements about what they have in common, and acknowledge their differences respectfully.
He said: “... we have to have the difficult conversations in safe spaces - and that's a very, very difficult thing to do.”
“Can we model confidentiality, transparency and genuine respect for one another? (…) We need to move to beyond inter-religious interaction in which we the usual suspects issue bland statements of anaemic intent... all desperate to agree with one another, so that the very worst outcome could possibly be that we end up acknowledging our differences”.
And concluded: “That is not enough in the face of the dangers we face at this time. (…) It is disingenuous and ultimately dishonest, because alongside all that we hold in common and all that we share, there are profound differences too in what we believe and in the outworking of our faith.”