Faith, today, is a cause for suspicion

The question was blunt and to the point. "Why do your volunteers want to work with you?" In other words, not spoken, but implied, "What's their agenda?" I replied, remembering what one of those volunteers had said.

The question was blunt and to the point. "Why do your volunteers want to work with you?" In other words, not spoken, but implied, "What's their agenda?" I replied, remembering what one of those volunteers had said. "They are right to look for our agenda," she said, "Its love."

As someone who is involved in a Christian agency in the county, I have always been aware that some people are suspicious about our motives. Our society has become profoundly secular, and for all the talk about tolerance and inclusiveness, we are now getting to the point where anything goes, except Christianity. Strongly held beliefs in a God who loves all that He has made are anathema to those of a so-called liberal mindset.

It is somehow implied that those who do not believe in God have no belief system at all and that they are somehow value-free. Not so. This thinking is part of the tide of secularism that is sweeping all before it; a horror of anyone of a Christian background having the right to speak out what they believe and then standing by those beliefs.

You can discern this belief system in the disdainful, slightly incredulous way speakers cast doubt that an adult could still be influenced by such "superstition". The tone of voice used showing amazement that anyone of any intelligence could believe in a creator God.

Since the 1960s there has been a profound change in the way we think as a nation: a steady erosion of the social mores that held our society together. What was previously frowned on is now acceptable. What we don't like are the consequences of where this about turn has taken us.

Those in government may well wring their hands at the breakdown of our society, introducing one measure after another to curb the freefall but until they understand that by throwing out the Judeo-Christian construct that previously underpinned it many in our society have caused this crisis, the descent will continue.

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But where has been the voice of the church as this has been going on? For the most part silent, with the exception of the Catholic Church and those Christians who have not embraced the liberal theology that has been in the ascendant in the mainstream churches over the past 50 years.

By aiming to embrace everyone's views, it has lost its way and now finds it hard to speak out. Its platform has been eroded because it has taken on board the humanistic mindset. By seeking to win approval all round, its voice lacks clarity and certainty.

It no longer has any moral authority. It has caved in, bowing down in the face of secularism.

Soon after I became a Christian, I felt I wanted to understand more about my new-found faith. In order to do so, I took an extension course on Christian Studies with St John's College, Nottingham.

One of the course books I studied was written by George Carey. I was impressed by his clear thinking and so when he became Archbishop of Canterbury, I expected a change. It did not happen. It seemed to me that his voice became more and more muted and it felt as if the 'powers that be' had nobbled him. Since retiring, his voice has come back.

This is what he is now writing: "Britain's unthinking secularism is the context for the Church's attitude, shapeless form and its lack of any underpinning values." How I wish that he had been able to speak out while Archbishop. We needed him to show a lead. What has happened is that we now have given into the power exerted by minority groups at the expense of everyone else.

They plead the special status of victim-hood. Everything has to be aligned to their thinking, their way of life. By failing

to affirm what previously made us a strong and healthy society, with our values based on our Judeo-Christian heritage, we are in a mess.

Now the question is being asked whether faith

institutions have a legal role in public life in a largely secular country. Having weakened us, the secularists are moving in for the kill.

What they do not realise is that without the input of Christians, motivated solely by the love of Jesus, much very necessary care would be left undone.

There is now the threat to withdraw state funding from the Catholic Church unless it tows the party line on adoption. How long before this will be true for any Christian organisation that is out of step with current secular, humanistic ideology?

The challenge then will be whether the church, by which I mean the Christian community, will pick up the tab and release those agencies to operate freely out of their

deeply held belief that God's love holds the answer for our stricken society?