David Cameron has said Britain is a “Christian country” and “we should not be afraid to say so”, as he marked 400 years of the King James Bible.
The Prime Minister said the Bible has helped to give Britain values and morals which “we should actively stand up and defend”.
And he also criticised the idea of “moral neutrality”, saying: “You can’t fight something with nothing”.
The Prime Minister made the comments at Christ Church in Oxford on Friday.
According to the written version of his speech released on Downing Street’s website, he described himself as a “committed – but I have to say vaguely practising – Church of England Christian, who will stand up for the values and principles of my faith”.
He added he was, “full of doubts and, like many, constantly grappling with the difficult questions when it comes to some of the big theological issues”.
But he said that “the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today”.
He continued: “Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend.
“The alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option.
“You can’t fight something with nothing.
“Because if we don’t stand for something, we can’t stand against anything.”
And while he noted the massive impact of the King James Version of the Bible on language and culture, he also commented on the Bible’s impact on politics.
He said: “The history and existence of a constitutional monarchy owes much to a Bible in which Kings were anointed and sanctified with the authority of God”.
He added “the Judeo-Christian roots of the Bible also provide the foundations for protest and for the evolution of our freedom and democracy”.
And Mr Cameron said the “knowledge that God created man in his own image was, if you like, a game changer for the cause of human dignity and equality”.
The Prime Minister continued: “The Bible has helped to shape the values which define our country”.
He highlighted values of: “Responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love, pride in working for the common good and honouring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities”.
And Mr Cameron said these values, which “we treasure”, are Christian values.
The Prime Minister concluded by commenting on the interaction between religion and politics, saying: “just as it is legitimate for religious leaders to make political comments… it’s legitimate for political leaders to say something about religious institutions as they see them affecting our society, not least in the vital areas of equality and tolerance.”