Friday, 20 June 2014

On being a nation.

‘What makes a nation a nation?’

Thomas Arnold, the great English Headmaster at Rugby, suggested four things that define a nation. These are race, language, institutions and religion. Although he expressed this view in the 1840s, his thoughts are still helpful when considering what it means to be British today.

Arnold believed that it was the state’s responsibility to seek out the highest welfare for its citizens, including the best possible laws, and argued that Britain should base its laws on New Testament morality. He believed the commands and teachings of Jesus Christ, if followed, would lead to the best possible nation. A society where God, the Father of Jesus Christ was worshipped, where neighbours loved each other as themselves, where both the elderly and young were cared for, and where people treated others as they would want to be treated.

In 1840 Arnold’s views would not have been very controversial, but there would be greater debate today over the extent to which a nation can be multi-racial and yet retain its identity as a nation.

The Bible declares that all people are equal, since we are made in the image of God, but it speaks of nations too. The apostle Paul, preaching in Athens, explained that ‘God made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.’ (Acts 17)

People sometimes ask me how different nations and races came into being, given that we’re all descended from Adam and Eve. If that’s your question, click here for the Biblical explanation

Thanks for stopping by!