There is a thought-provoking (and beautifully-written) article on The Sunday Times
website by Andrew Sullivan, who has returned to the UK to find it not quite as he remembers. This quoted section is worthy of some reflection:
What’s gone, of course, is the C of E. Religion itself appears to have been wiped from the cultural map in Britain in ways unimaginable in faithful America. This, to my mind, is a tragedy, for a society without some relationship to the transcendent can become simply boorish and myopic. But, again, I see the merits of secularism more clearly now. It takes constant exposure to American fundamentalism to feel relieved by the prosaic dismissal of the spiritual by the English. And again, I wonder whether this has really, truly changed. Anglicanism, as it was founded by the first Queen Elizabeth, was always about the blurring of doctrinal difference, the aversion to looking into others’ souls, the modesty of a limited spiritual imagination epitomised by the Book of Common Prayer.
An old don of mine once remarked that he supported the Church of England as a bulwark against religion. He had a point. And, yes, I know evangelicalism is on the march in England. But take it from me: it has a huge, long way to go. And an occasional, real, vibrant debate about what is existentially true could add some colour to the shades of grey in England’s tepid spiritual conversation.
With these brief observations, Andrew Sullivan identifies the spiritual essence of what it is to be English, and what it used to be to live in England. But when he talks of 'religion', he must mean Christianity, for religion per se
has certianly not been 'wiped off the map'. Unless His Grace is hallucinating.