ACNS: Archbishop of Canterbury - why social cohesion needs religion
December 6, 2007
By : Admin
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has given a wide-ranging lecture today in Singapore, at the Building Bridges Conference. In his lecture Dr Williams discusses the position of the “absolute truths” of faith over and above political power, and how this plays out in a society where several faiths co-exist: “Does disagreement about truth necessarily mean the violent disruption of social co-operation? I shall be arguing that it does not, and that, on the contrary, a robust view of disagreement and debate between religious communities may play a major role in securing certain kinds of social unity or cohesion”.
The Archbishop acknowledges that violence has been part of the history of all religions: “Despite Jesus’ words in John’s gospel (Jn 19.36), Christianity has been promoted and defended at the point of the sword and legally supported by extreme sanctions; despite the Quranic axiom, Islam has been supported in the same way, with extreme penalties for abandoning it and civil disabilities for those outside the faith. There is no religious tradition whose history is exempt from such temptation and such failure”.
the rest including full text of lecture