In a timely interview Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, a Church of England bishop of Pakistani background, explains why some young people in Britain are increasingly drawn to Islam and are ignorant or even contemptuous of Christianity and the Christian heritage of England. To understand the full import of what Bishop Nazir-Ali is saying below, one must understand that many British schools are actually Church of England schools run with state funding in which the teaching of religion is a school subject. In these schools and the state schools, the bishop suggests, Christianity is no longer presented as a viable option for today's youth, mainly due to the political incorrectness of such a view in a multi-faith society. The 2011 UK census recorded a continuing precipitous decline Christianity in the UK, particularly in adherence to the established Church of England, which could see Anglicanism become a minority faith in the land of its origin within a generation. Bishop Nazir-Ali's diagnosis of what ails the Church of England is that essentially it has "lost its salt" and has no voice with which to speak to secular England. There is a warning here for all church bodies in Western societies: churches which soften their teachings in order to blend in with secular society in the misguided attempt remain "relevant" actually accelerate their irrelevance.
"British schools are helping to boost Islamism with politically correct lessons that tell black pupils that slavery was entirely the fault of English and Americans, and omit the long and vicious history of Arab slave trading, according to an influential Church of England bishop.In an exclusive interview for our Telegram podcast, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali – a Pakistani-born scholar who resigned as Bishop of Rochester in 2009 in order to train Christians facing persecution – says "the Churches have generally capitulated to secular culture and therefore cannot bring a distinctive voice to public debate".They have neglected human relations, especially the family, in favour of "welfarism" that teaches that the state should provide all the goods that citizens need. All this adds up to the slow death of people's sense of themselves as spiritual beings – and this affects "even people who go to church".Bishop Nazir-Ali, a theological conservative who opposes the ordination of actively gay clergy, is now president of Oxtrad, which "prepares Christians for ministry in situations where the Church is under pressure and in danger of persecution". He claims that, in addition to ignoring the current persecution of Christians in the Islamic world, secular Britain brushes aside historical evidence of Muslim aggression."If you ignore what really happened to give a lopsided view of history in the interests of political correctness, you can't blame [young] people if they move to something else that has a less critical view of itself," he says. Christianity appears so apologetic that students naturally gravitate towards self-confident Islam. Meanwhile, "the Churches' engagement with the secular world becomes capitulation to it".As an example of political correctness in schools, the bishop discusses the way black pupils are taught about slavery.He says: "If you teach black people from African or the Caribbean that slavery was perpetrated on them [only] by England and the whites in the United States, they are then given a narrative that Islam is the great liberator from slavery – without mentioning that the Arab slave traders were on the east coast of Africa and West Africa before the British and the Americans."You are never told about how in the attempt to end the slave trade, the evangelicals from the Churches were opposed by Arab slave traders. I have walked along the path that Livingstone took, and as churches were built along that path the Arab slave traders were burning them down."Religious education in British schools offers "a smorgasbord approach in which you set out all the exotic things that people can taste but you don't give them a vantage point from which to assess what they are experiencing," says Bishop Nazir-Ali.""It would have been quite possible to take the Christian faith as a point of departure for studying other faiths in a constructive and open way, but this is not being done, so you can't blame young people for growing up without any kind of orientation."