Peter Hitchens is a journalist and columnist with 20 years service on The Daily Express in London. He has spent the last 20 years plumbing the soul of Britain. He has found aspects of the process enormously disappointing. Especially in the last two decades he discovered a deep shift in the British people's way of life.
Unwelcome Changes in Family Life
Family life is right at the top of some very unwelcome changes. Social activities have shifted dramatically from the home to the workplace. Children dress as miniature adults rather than children. They are more loyal to peers than their own parents.
At the time of Sir Winston Churchill's death in January of 1965, "93% of British marriages, including Churchill's own, endured to the grave." Now the United Kingdom's divorce rate leads all of Europe, and the British easily outdistance their nearest European rivals in the number of illegitimate children. Very questionable distinctions.
At the time of writing this review, the press reported a 26-year-old who is now a grandmother. Her 12-year-old daughter recently gave birth. Apparently the grandmother's ex-boyfriend is the father.
The efficacy of the Anglican Church itself depends upon stable families and lasting marriages to pass on its faith and traditions. As one famous British novelist wrote during the mid-1930s (quoted by Hitchens): "Making marriage in any serious degree unstable, dissoluble, destroys the permanency of marriage, and the church falls. Witness the enormous decline in the Church of England [this was back in the '30s-a drop in the bucket when compared to present conditions]. The reason being that the church is established upon the element of union in mankind… The marriage-tie, the marriage-bond, take it which way you like, is the fundamental link in Christian society. Break it, and you will have to go back to the overwhelming dominance of the State."
The decline of the Anglican Church has been the subject of many a crisis-charged meeting within its own bureaucracy. No official attendance figures have been released within the last few years. It is greatly feared that the numbers may have dropped below one million for the first time in its long history. Observers say that some "creative accounting" appears to be necessary.
The Decline of Belief in Britain
It is a well-known fact that belief in God has been going down in Britain for a very long time. Peter Hitchens adds his own comments to this continuing phenomenon:
"Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has provided a popular scientific theory which allows millions to expel God from the world. A world without God meant no punishment for sin, and therefore no sin. This was an attractive idea to many, in an age where man appeared to be about to do everything and overcome anything.
"If the physical world had limitless possibilities, why should human behaviour be limited by dusty and unwelcome prescriptions from ancient times? While the church absorbed this blow, the bishops lost their grip on the schools, one of their few [remaining] strongholds, as the state began its long and successful takeover of education."
Anglican Church leaders at the very highest level continually question the most basic beliefs in the Bible. This increases skepticism in the public about what the Anglican Church does believe about the most basic of Bible teachings.
Peter Hitchens writes intelligently about many more subjects than coverage in this short review could allow: the further threat of devolution or transfer of governmental power from London to Scotland and Wales, the influence of American culture (good and bad), the decline in sexual morality, the dumbing-down influence of television, etc.
The author may not be right about everything, but his views are well worth considering given our own very firm concerns about sharply declining values and standards in the Western world (Ezekiel 9:4 Ezekiel 9:4And the LORD said to him, Go through the middle of the city, through the middle of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the middle thereof.
American King James Version×). WNP