Letters: A church of England without god?

These letters appear in the Monday 25th November edition of the Independent

Share

The Archbishop of York has said that the Church of England is one generation away from extinction. His solution was more evangelism, more God. He is completely wrong. 

The solution is for the church, as in the  past, to move with the times and now drop the outmoded belief in God and a conditional afterlife, but keep the moral and ethical thrust of its founder, as well as of other good people of philosophy and science both earlier and later.

In the UK the C of E still retains the affections of many people. There are still church infrastructure and networks throughout England and Wales, which make the C of E well placed to become again the centre of the communities; but the communities served would be people of all faiths and of none, no longer divisive but inclusive. Fundamentalists of all faiths would be sidelined.

A good many churchgoers including some clergy would, I am sure, breathe a sigh of relief at no longer having to say things they, in reality, don’t believe in. 

Chris Beney, Bushey, Hertfordshire

Poor arguments for press regulation

Every time I start thinking that maybe there is something in the arguments for press regulation (or at least the royal charter), I see or hear repellently disingenuous words by its supporters which drive me back to the other side. 

Recently we have seen repeated claims that no paper would be forced to join the royal charter, without mention that any paper that didn’t would be made bankruptable by any group of people who chose to, by launching trivial and vexatious lawsuits at their target’s expense; and claims that the royal charter couldn’t be tampered with by politicians because it would require a two-thirds majority in Parliament, without mention that it would only need agreement between the leaders of the two main parties and such a majority would easily be obtained. 

When you decide on your attitude to something, it is fair to take into account the honesty of its proponents’ arguments, and the proponents of press regulation are not scoring well at the moment.

Roger Schafir, London N21

Without the support of the press many astonishing successive government failings and public health scandals would never have been exposed. For example, in the case of pesticides, rural residents at risk of adverse health impacts from pesticide spraying have been failed at every turn by the state, parts of the judiciary, even certain NGOs. The only sector that has been prepared to help expose this scandal from the outset is the media, predominantly the print press. As a result the issue has been highlighted to millions of citizens worldwide.

Although there have been, without a doubt, genuine victims of appalling treatment from certain sectors of the press, such as the experiences of the McCanns, the Dowlers, and Christopher Jefferies, what about the many other genuine victims of establishment cover ups, corruption and collusion, who have only had their voices heard because we have a free press? A strong independent media can expose disgraceful injustices and is able to shine the light in places which, no doubt the state, along with many politicians, would prefer to remain in darkness.

Restrictions on the free press would no doubt make battles such as mine that much harder.

Georgina Downs, UK Pesticides Campaign, Runcton, West Sussex

 

With reference to your recent article on the press regulation charter receiving Privy Council approval, I sympathise with the media because, again thanks to a few bad apples, a similar regime is being proposed to regulate businesses that help clients minimise their tax liabilities.

The proposed framework gives HMRC sufficient powers to determine who is carrying out what it considers to be unfair tax mitigation. It could, in practice, be used to put many firms out of business. We are told that this is not how the legislation will be operated in practice, but as the detail is so vague and the framework so flexible, we do not know that.

In both cases we are being asked to trust that the state will not unfairly abuse the powers at its disposal. The problem is that when it comes to politicians there is no confidence they can be trusted.

Richard Jordan, Partner, Thomas Eggar LLP, London EC2

Stick to the old school languages

A report recently published by the British Council (“Languages for the Future”) recommends that schools in the UK should introduce into the curriculum Arabic, Chinese and Japanese – these languages being perceived to be of greater value in the context of trade than the traditionally taught European languages, in particular French and German.

So far as Arabic is concerned, this is a difficult language to learn by any standard. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that, during the course of many years spent working in the Middle East, I have only come across a handful of British nationals who spoke Arabic with any degree of fluency, or indeed at all. In every case, these Arabic-speakers were graduates of Oxford, Cambridge or other elite universities and/or trained by the British Army or British diplomatic corps.

More to the point, in my experience Arab businessmen, and indeed Arabs in general, do not these days wish to converse in Arabic with “Westerners” and are inclined to regard efforts to address them in their own language as somewhat patronising.

As to Chinese and Japanese, I cannot speak with any authority concerning these languages. However, I should not imagine that either of them are especially easy to learn.

Given these considerations, perhaps  – notwithstanding the pronouncements of the British Council sages – children in UK schools should continue to apply themselves to the  study of French, German and Spanish. Whatever commercial value a knowledge of these languages may or may not have nowadays, there is surely a cultural reward to be gained.

The study of more “challenging” tongues, and more remote and exotic cultures, can come later, I would suggest.

Alexander McGeoch, Dubai, UAE

The music as Mahler intended

There is a simple solution to Andreas Whittam Smith’s problem – that listening to the adagio from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony too often had spoilt its enjoyment for him (22 November).

The Fifth Symphony comprises five movements that take the listener through a range of emotions, from the funeral march of the first movement, to the roller-coaster of the second and the beer-cellar exuberance of the third, before the “mystery” (to quote Whittam Smith) of the famous adagio. But even that merely introduces the rondo-finale, with its turbulent climax.

We should listen to symphonies in the way the composer intended – as complete musical journeys, not as extracts to accompany films or adverts. If Mr Whittam Smith listens to all 70 minutes of the Fifth rather than just the 10 minutes of the adagio, then I am sure he’ll be moved all over again by its stunning emotional complexity.

Michael Gold, Twickenham, Middlesex

A Sideways look at cyclists

As a motorist who does not want to have a collision with a cyclist (letters, 22 November), could I ask for better sideways lighting on cycles and riders?

They are often lit up like a Christmas tree front and back, but these lights are not always visible from the side, particularly on unlit or poorly lit roads, leaving both cyclist and motorist vulnerable on junctions.

Penny King, Thurlton, Norwich

For nine years in the 1970s and 1980s I cycled to work and back between Harrow and Marylebone up and down the Edgware Road, clocking up 25,000 miles.

The worst that happened to me was the occasional puncture. One day, after two inches of snow had fallen, I enjoyed passing all the motorists who were stuck in it. It was by far the best and quickest way to get around London, as long as I remained vigilant.

Graeme Jackson, Gloucester

Still just plain Mr flowers

Your detailed account of how Paul Flowers was able to bob and weave his way through indiscretions, incompetence and a lack of relevant experience or qualifications to gain the top job at the Co-operative Bank (23 November) leaves one important question unasked. How on earth did he manage to miss out on a knighthood?

David Head, Navenby, Lincolnshire

England expects

To accommodate the various independent movements of some home-nations, could England take the drastic step of leaving the United Kingdom and continue as an autonomous state called “England”? This would allow all other stakeholders to remain in the United Kingdom, saving a lot time and resources. I am confident that England will somehow cope.

Rob Rogers, Falmouth, Cornwall

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...

Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solicitor

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A CCTV camera is seen in front of a large poster opposite in central London  

Home Office is creating more powers to turn everyone into suspects – but leave us no safer

Shami Chakrabarti
 

David Mellor has been exposed as an awful man, but should he have been?

Simon Kelner
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire