British Prime Minister David Cameron is awake. He said, in reference to recent rioting and looting, “This has been a wake-up call for our country. Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face.” An AP article, Cameron: Riot-hit UK must reverse `moral collapse’, reports Cameron’s determination to address problems caused by “Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control.”
There seems to be rare unity among the reactions and responses I’ve read over the last week. John Kass of the Chicago Tribune called it an “illiterate homage to Lord of the Flies.” Peggy Noonan, in her most recent editorial, quotes UK news sources of both left and right political leanings and summarizes the consensus that, “The cause was not injustice; this was not a revolt of the downtrodden masses…The causes were greed, selfishness, a respect and even lust for violence, and a lack of moral grounding.”
We all heard the wake-up call, but now that the world stands in wide-eyed astonishment at the events in the UK, what next? How does a society mend the moral fabric of large segments of the population?
It appears the roots of these riots are not economic or political but moral and spiritual. After decades of divorcing religion from public policy, will we wake up and realize that there is always a connection between what people believe and how they behave?
“Religion is the substance of culture and culture the form of religion.” Theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich
“Culture is religion externalized.” Professor and author Henry Van Til
Do you think this is true? What does our culture reveal about what we ultimately believe? Can we effectively correct behavior without dealing with underlying beliefs?