Friday, November 06, 2009

David Cameron: doing God, but no hotline.

Interesting interview in the Evening Standard with David Cameron, with his clearest statement to date about his faith. In practical terms, it may not be far off Gordon Browns 'Presbyterian conscience', valuing altruism, service, etc. Here's the section on faith:

Is faith in God important to him? "If you are asking, do I drop to my knees and pray for guidance, no. But do I have faith and is it important, yes. My own faith is there, it's not always the rock that perhaps it should be.

"I've a sort of fairly classic Church of England faith, a faith that grows hotter and colder by moments but...I suppose I sort of started life believing that one's individual faith was important, but actually the institutions of the church were less important.

"I do think that organised religion can get things wrong but the Church of England and the other churches do play a very important role in society."

Cameron waited until he was 18 years old to be confirmed to make sure it was what he really believed.

"I was a good, sceptical, questioning Christian when I was younger. I liked to think it through, thinking am I really sure about this? But I don't feel I have a direct line [to God].

"I think that it's perfectly possible to live a good life without having faith, by which I mean a positive and altruistic life, but I think the teachings of Jesus just as the teachings of other religions are a good guide to help us through.

"Do unto others as you would have them do to you; don't walk on by. These are good and thoughtful ideas to bring to life." Unlike Blair, Cameron clearly does do God.

It's nice to see him being open about his beliefs, and I imagine most people (apart from a few who jump to mind) will accept this as ok. I was interested to read the annual report of one of the secular organisations this week, who are concerned that a Conservative government will mean no change to 'increasing religious influence' on policy. Once I'd picked myself up off the floor and stopped laughing, my guess was that they're worried that Cameron recognises the benefits provided by faith groups in the same way as Gordon Brown, and most MP's, and most of the population.


  1. I'm glad he acknowledged that you can be a good person and not have any particular faith. Out of interest David would you vote for someone who was openly Atheistic?

  2. I don't personally know any Christians who think that you can't be a good person if you don't have a faith. I'm not sure where that one comes from.

    As for voting for an atheist - it would depend what their policies were. Obviously their attitude to the Christian faith, and how much their values had in common with Christian ethics, would have a lot to do with it, but I hope there's plenty of atheists on the same page when it comes to global warming, proper aid for the poorest countries, supporting families and communities, and promotion of a culture of service, commitment and generosity rather than one of greed, and short-sighted consumerism.

  3. Steve, the Bible's actually full of cases of,or references to, "Gentiles" who do what is right - even in Romans, the great source-text for evangelicals. In fact one of the many points Romans makes is actually that we *all* do things wrong.
    Like David I don't know any Christians who would think that non-belief would mean you couldn't be a good person.