Christians must challenge “lazy, scornful” dismissals of faith by being able to stand up for their beliefs, the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Jane Williams, a theologian and teacher, warned of a “fairly widespread assumption” in Britain’s culture which almost says “that no one with a brain can believe in God”.
Christians need to be able to stand against this mindset clearly but respectfully, Mrs Williams said.
Writing in the Church Times Mrs Williams commented “now, more than ever, we need confident, unafraid Christians”.
She wrote: “There is a fairly widespread assumption in the prevailing culture of Britain that people of faith rely on dogma and bigotry, and that no one with a brain can believe in God. I am exaggerating, of course, but you know what I mean.
“In the face of that kind of lazy, scornful dismissal of faith, Christians need to be able to argue our corner.”
Mrs Williams also highlighted 1 Peter 3:15 in the Bible which says: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”.
She said that there are “all kinds of things that stop Christians from wanting to talk about their faith: it is not cool; it is not politically correct; it can get you into trouble at work; it can be seen as infringing other people’s choices; and so on.
“But I suspect that many of us just don’t feel confident that we can do it.”
Mrs Williams encouraged readers to explore their faith in greater detail so they can be ready to answer questions on it.
Last October a survey revealed that many Christians would feel uncomfortable reading the Bible at work during breaks but the vast majority of their colleagues wouldn’t mind.
The research, commissioned by the Bible Society, discovered that 43 per cent of Christians would feel uncomfortable about reading the Bible whilst on breaks at work.
But the vast majority of their colleagues surveyed said they would have no objection to the practice, and almost half said they would be willing to discuss the Bible with a Christian colleague.
Only 14 per cent of workers said it would make them feel uncomfortable if a Christian colleague opened the Scriptures.
In January 2010 Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said Christians in Britain are too soft and should be more outspoken in defence of their beliefs.
He said: “I think we need a tougher church. We Christians are very often so soft that we allow other people to walk over us and we are not as tough in what we want, in expressing our beliefs, because we do not want to upset other people.
“We have got to be more outspoken.”