Brexit and Religion: a theological blog 7 – vi – 19
Brexit and religion: a theological blog 7 – vi – 19
To understand Brexit you have to understand it within the context of a general decline in religious belief. It is harder and harder today, as science shows more and more that it can explain as natural phenomena what used to be thought of as mysteries that could only be explained by religion, for people to believe in any kind of absolute. But the human heart craves absolutes. The trouble with science’s explanations is that they rapidly turn into the merely material unmysterious realities that science says they are. When we first saw the photographs taken by the first astronauts of our beautiful blue earth hanging alone in space it seemed marvellous beyond comprehension. But who thinks about those photographs every day now? Attenborough’s Blue Planet programmes are awesomely wonderful but you soon forget about them and move on to Line of Duty. Yeah the sea’s blue, but how much further does that get us? But we crave not what’s been rationally explained as unmysterious but a mysterious engagement with an ultimate that is beyond reason, and the more rational explanations we get the more we crave it. The more Attenborough and Brian Cox programmes we see that explain so much so brilliantly, the more we yearn for the good old days when it was all inexplicable.
And then comes Brexit. It has all the irrationality, the fervour, the belief that Jesus will ultimately sort it all out, but since Jesus has gone awol at least Boris, the prophets, the beginning again anew, the shudderingly fascinating choice between a future paradise on the one hand and the loss of everything on the other that religion used to satisfy. The Remain campaign got it so wrong.