At the centre of my difficulty is the idea that the world’s great faiths can work together to make the world a better place.
Surely if all political parties worked together they could make the world a better place? They will not do so of course as the different political parties see themselves as competing ideologies and versions of what the world needs. The different faiths also see themselves as having different and competing versions of The Truth. Certainly the message of Christianity is that there is no access to the one God other than through Jesus and the work he completed by dying on the cross for all and then rising from the dead to rule.
But how can Blair be a role model for what he is saying? I listened to the programme on BBC Radio 4 in which he lightly dismissed his political past and the things he did in government, “You take decisions and your decisions divide people.” At the centre of Christian understanding down the centuries though is that the faith of Christians is to make a difference to their decisions and actions, not just their private beliefs. Blair conspicuously gave no hint of a morality behind his decisions or actions, or any evidence of a Christian faith affecting his premiership.
The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about his inter-faith ambitions were two people who are known for trying to wash their hands. I thought of the Lady Macbeth who desperately cried, “Out, damn’d spot! out, I say!” as, though she scrubbed away, still saw blood on her hands. Then I thought of Pontious Pilate who famously washed his hands in an attempt to deny that he was accepting guilt in the first place. I suppose these two people will have come to mind is that I have thought of Blair as having blood on his hands from the invasion of Iraq.
I wondered if Tony Blair’s efforts at his Faith Foundation are in any way a result of having a sense of having that blood on his hands and his need to deal with any feelings of guilt.
I do believe though, that any student of politics or economics who does not factor faith into their thinking is working with incomplete and insufficient data.