Monday, February 09, 2009

Blair and humanism

Blair speaking at the US National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC:

"Neither do I decry the work of humanists, who give gladly of themselves for others and who can often shame the avowedly religious. Those who do God's work are God's people.

I only say that there are limits to humanism and beyond those limits God and only God can work. The phrase "fear of God" conjures up the vengeful God of parts of the Old Testament. But "fear of God" means really obedience to God; humility before God; acceptance through God that there is something bigger, better and more important than you. It is that humbling of man's vanity, that stirring of conscience through God's prompting, that recognition of our limitations, that faith alone can bestow.

We can perform acts of mercy, but only God can lend them dignity. We can forgive, but only God forgives completely in the full knowledge of our sin. And only through God comes grace; and it is God's grace that is unique."

In recognising the positive contribution of humanists, Blair is ahead of the curve (along with Obama).

Humanism is limited, agree: indeed that lends it the 'humility' he later claims it is missing.

You do not need God to understand there is something bigger. The Universe is amazing, utterly huge, sublime. I'm nothing within it. Faith is not alone in bestowing such an understanding: most episodes of Dr. Who do a decent job.

It's exactly this kind of deference to a supernatural being that, were I visiting in a flying saucer from another planet, would make me hit 'reverse' and come back in another 1000 years to see if this fair race has understood anything yet. On this evidence we have but the faintest grasp on knowledge.