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Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Church Of Nothing

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One of the great appeals that religion has had for people throughout history is that, through its particular doctrine a religion makes sense of existence for them. It gives purpose, it sets forth rules to live by and a corresponding moral code. And then there is the Church of England...

"Secret plan to avoid church gay split", a story from Britain's Telegraph website chronicles The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams' latest contortions in trying to hold together the Anglican Church which, largely under his leadership has so chipped away at its own core beliefs that as the saying goes, the center can no longer hold.

As one of the leading forces behind the Church's attempt to mainstream homosexuality and change the Church's longstanding doctrinal opposition to its practice even before his elevation to Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002 Rowan is now in the position of having to try hold the Church together as numerous dioceses and conservative factions threaten to leave the fold. His solution seems as ill considered as are most of his decisions. He plans to create a "parallel" church wherein these conservative factions operate under the guidance of foreign bishops, a sort of religious ghetto for those not fit to consort with decent folk. More liberal bishops are angered that Williams should consider letting these errant forces get their way in even this distorted manner and are threatening trouble of their own.

Williams' problem here and with the difficulty he has found himself in of late, dealing with the growing Muslim population in Britain is that he has placed the liberal mantra of "inclusion"and "diversity" above what should be the eternal doctrine of his church. Religious doctrine cannot by its nature be inclusionary. Christianity is not all things to all people. It makes demands of the faithful, demands cannot be made upon it. It is not fashion, changing with the whims of a given age. For it to have any real value a religion must stand outside of time and fashion. It may try to make itself understood in terms that a particular age may understand but its basic nature must be unchanging if it is to have any real meaning at all.

The Church of England is trying to be all things to all people and is instead becoming the church of nothing, shepherding a flock that is dwindling as quickly as its principles. It is at the vanguard of the forces of nihilism which now are ruling Europe into oblivion. Well, at least that is something it is doing well.

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