Daily Telegraph: This week before Easter, I chanced upon the following two quotations. The first says: “Not for 2,000 years has it been possible for society to exclude or eliminate Christ from its social or political life without a terrible social or political consequence.” The second says: “Religion taught by a prophet or by a preacher of the truth is the only foundation on which to build a great and powerful empire.”
The first is by Margaret Thatcher, opening her foreword to a book called Christianity and Conservatism, which appeared in 1990. The second appears in Tom Holland’s outstanding new book In the Shadow of the Sword (Little, Brown), which traces the rise of Islam from the ruins of the Roman and Persian empires. It comes from Ibn Khaldun, the great Muslim historian and political counsellor of the 14th century.
The grocer’s daughter from Grantham and the sage from Tunis seem, despite their differences of faith and time, to be saying something comparable. I found myself asking a simple question about both statements: are they, factually, right?
Note that neither is insisting – though they probably believe that it is – that what the religious leader preaches is necessarily true. Note, too, that neither is saying that a religion, let alone a religious organisation such as a church, should hold political power.
Source: By Charles Moore, THE TELEGRAPH.