Posted by: aboutalbion | August 27, 2012

DIY religion (6)

The sixth topic in Colin Morris’ list is ‘the big one’, namely, the numinous focus that in the Christian west is called God.  And the question for my case is: “Has a nation state (such as the UK) a numinous focus like that normally associated with traditional religious organisations?”

Morris makes the point that religion is an activity which “takes all the facts of existence as its raw material”. (p65)  And then he adds that a religion needs a method with which to assess how much attention is paid to each element of existence, and that such a method is so constructed that God is given the highest valuation.  From this standpoint, religious faith is the willingness to adopt and use this method of valuation.  And the numinous focus of a religion is that which its members “treasure above all else in life”. (p67)

Visitors to this site will know that my suggestion for the numinous focus at the centre of life in the UK is “the rule of law”.  Tom Bingham, as a recently retired senior judge, described “the rule of law” as the “sacred flame which animates and enlightens the society in which we live.”

[I acknowledge that, although the idea of “the rule of law” is world-wide (like a religion), in practice “the rule of law” is interpreted by each nation state in different ways.]

And in the UK, “the rule of law” is guaranteed by the supremacy of Parliament (over the monarch) which has led to the current trinity of powers [the Crown, and the two Houses of Parliament] that underwrite “the rule of law”.  In this way, the supremacy of Parliament is the “treasure” above all else in British life.

So I find that a nation state (such as the UK) has in principle a numinous focus like that of a religion.

[Morris, Colin (1992) Start Your Own Religion.  London: BBC Books.]


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