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← How God Made the English

mjwemdee's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by mjwemdee

My born-again Christian sister was lamenting the emptying of Anglican churches, seeing that as a symptom of all moral decline in England. She even said that during the war, George VI declared national days of prayer, on which everyone left the factories to go to church and this apparently helped the weather to change and so certain battles went in favour of the English. Seems a bit tough on the Germans who made it to church, but then, God is an Englishman, isn't he?

A quote from Frank Field seems appropriate here:

The fact is, the English have always been a pretty brutal race. Then all of a sudden, we changed dramatically. Our natures didn't change. We changed because we decided we should live as a community. That wasn’t due to Christianity; it was more or less a consequence of two World Wars. The effort of winning the war - particularly World War II - the surrender of freedoms, the commitment to the common good was so enormous that, I think afterwards, people wanted a break from the personal cost of that. Living standards also began to rise very substantially, and therefore there were choices, or ‘temptations’, which were there for the first time. The fruit of the tree was to be tasted - and why not? That's what human nature is about. I also think that we became too confident that somehow we’d cracked the way to raise children. It was as if people assumed it was in the air we breathed and hadn't realised just how recent it was that English society moved from being pretty vicious to being a peaceable kingdom. The case I’m trying to make is not that somehow we've always been very civilised; but rather we had an extraordinary interlude.

Mon, 16 Apr 2012 22:40:58 UTC | #935124