Faith in Politics

Faith in Politics

Richard Harries, Darton Longman & Todd

The 2009 scandal in Britain over the extent and nature of expenses claimed by Members of Parliament caused Richard Harries to look for the Christian roots of British political values.

The political structures in Britain are significantly different from those inAustralia. This means that the way religion influences politics in Australia will be different from the examples the author gives but, nonetheless, his scholarly approach exposes a wealth of challenging ideas.

The six lectures include such relevant topics as

  • Speaking for God in a secular age
  • What makes us think God wants democracy?
  • Does God believe in human rights?

The first topic reminds us of the need to tease out the strands included in many of the words we use, such as secularism, secular culture, secular society, and secular age.

For example, Harries refers to a recent work by Amartya Sen in which he argues that a secular society is one in which the state treats all religions equally.

On the other hand, influential writers want to exclude religion from all public structures and institutions.

The discussion on democracy draws significantly on the life and writings of Reinhold Niebuhr and the final lecture examines national and religious identities.

While the discussion centres on Britain and Europe, the same issues arise for us in Australia.

Alan Demack

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