Cohesive Societies: Faith and Belief
This report explores the different ways in which faith and belief interact with societal cohesion. (2020)
From Thatcher to Corbyn, why are politicians so fond of the Good Samaritan? Nick Spencer explores the politicisation of Jesus’ parable
Interested by this? Share it on social media. Join our monthly e–newsletter to keep up to date with our latest research and events. And check out our Friends Programme to find out how you can help our work.
There’s not much that unites Jeremy Corbyn and Margaret Thatcher. Beyond the fact that neither was expected to lead their party, it is hard to see what the hard left, national–anthem–dodging, vegetarian, teetotaller has in common with the hard right, free–market–fundamentalist, patriotic carnivore.
But there is one more thing. In spite of their religious differences—Corbyn, who says his faith is a “private matter,” has little in common with the loudly Methodist Thatcher—they are both partial to the parable of the Good Samaritan. Indeed, both have referenced it in high–profile political speeches.
Why is this story so popular?
The true reason might lie in the parable’s moral authority. Every politician likes to think they are doing more than counting and redistributing beans. They like to imagine that politics is about the big picture—the clash of worldviews and all that. And, in spite of what it might feel like being on the EU Justice, Institutions and Consumer Protection Sub–Committee, they are right. Politics is about defining the contours of our common life and it cannot help draw on deep moral visions in doing so.
Read the full article at Prospectmagazine.co.uk
Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, most recently The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014).
Posted 9 November 2017
See other recent events and articles
Paul Bickley argues that the fixation with success in elite sport leaves questions of morality aside. 14/08/2020In Brief
Elizabeth Oldfield speaks to theologian, author and associate professor at Yale University Willie Jennings. 12/08/2020Podcast
Theos researches and investigates the intersection of religion, politics and society in the contemporary world.