This is a new podcast to discuss how faith affects the way we live and work today. There is a little more explanation on this page, but meanwhile, here is the first episode!
Episode 1 – Jon Yates – Faith in society
Hello, this is Faith in Action, a new podcast to discuss how faith affects the way we live and work today.
Faith is often thought to epitomise divisions within society. But a recent report challenges that idea with research which suggests that the church is actually the best place for social mixing between people of different ages, class, ethnicity, income, and politics.
I’m delighted to welcome Jon Yates, who is the co-founder of The Challenge. The Challenge is the UK’s leading charity for building a more integrated society. We’ve come to talk about the part that faith might play in bringing people together.
So Jon, what does an integrated society mean? What does it look like?
I think, when we set up the charity – the charity is about six or seven years old now – and it is probably worth me saying that the people who set up the charity aren’t all Christians – so for me my faith plays a big part in wanting to be involved, but it’s not everybody’s motivation – the thing that drove it for us was that people should understand each other. And I think for me, having grown up in a faith community, you have an understanding that you can have differences of opinion on faith. So my mum, for example, and I would happily admit that we have a different views of how our faith works out. And it’s very easy within even the Christian faith to start to think that that group are all horrendous, and that group are absolutely awful, and that group… and so I think partly because of faith I became aware of the value of actually understanding each other. And having parents who had a different sense of faith to mine made me think actually, it’s perfectly valid to disagree with someone without thinking they’re evil.
So I think, to me an integrated society is one where we start with a sense of realising that people who are different to us aren’t necessarily worse than us, or a threat to us. The opposite is a society where we think that ‘there are some people who are kind of like me and trustworthy and decent and get where I’m coming from – sort of common sense people – and the rest are basically nutters or crazies, or boring’ or whatever. And I think that integration is enough banging into each other and time together to realise that people may be different from us, but they’re not necessarily worse.
And how much of an issue is this in modern britain today?