Archbishop of Canterbury makes appeal to the young
Sunday 08 April 2012
Young people's hostility towards faith is not as extreme as society perceives with many taking the issue of religion seriously, the Archbishop of Canterbury will say in his Easter sermon.
Speaking at Canterbury Cathedral later today, Dr Rowan Williams will argue that a number of youngsters appreciate the role religion plays in shaping and sustaining human existence and are keen to learn about it.
He will warn that now was the “worst possible moment” to downgrade the importance of teaching religion in secondary schools.
Delivering his last Easter sermon as leader of the Church of England, Dr Williams will say: “There is plenty to suggest that younger people, while still statistically deeply unlikely to be churchgoers, don't have the hostility to faith that one might expect, but at least share some sense that there is something here to take seriously - when they have a chance to learn about it.
“It is about the worst possible moment to downgrade the status and professional excellence of religious education in secondary schools - but that's another sermon.”
Dr Williams, who will resign as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of the year to take up a post at Cambridge University, will also tell followers that the ultimate test of the Christian religion is not whether it is useful, beneficial or helpful to the human race but whether or not its central claim - the resurrection of Jesus Christ - actually happened.
“Easter makes a claim not just about a potentially illuminating set of human activities but about an event in history and its relation to the action of God,” he will say.
“Very simply, in the words of this morning's reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we are told that 'God raised Jesus to life'.”
He will add that any understanding of the significance of the resurrection which fell short of this truth would be to misunderstand it.
Dr Williams will say: “We are not told that Jesus 'survived death'; we are not told that the story of the empty tomb is a beautiful imaginative creation that offers inspiration to all sorts of people; we are not told that the message of Jesus lives on. We are told that God did something.”
The religious leader will touch on the conflict in the Middle East.
And he will also say that Easter raises the “uncomfortable and unavoidable” question that religion maybe more useful than the “passing generation of gurus' thought”.
He will tell the congregation that the answer would not be found in instant scientific analysis but in a longer measure of the effect of belief in the lives of believers.
Dr Williams will reinforced his point that it was the the truth of the resurrection that counts, not its effect.
“When all's said and done about the newly acknowledged social value of religion, we mustn't forget that what we ultimately have to speak about isn't this but God: the God who raised Jesus and, as St Paul repeatedly says, will raise us also with him,” he said.
- 1 Amy Winehouse statue unveiled in Camden
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 3 George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
- 4 Headaches, fry ups, and hair of the dog - why do we get hangovers, and is there such thing as a 'cure'?
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...
£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...