Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali is one of the leading figures in the Church of England. He was the 106th Bishop of Rochester, for 15 years which made him the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England. Prior to that he had been Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan, his country of origin where he had a both Christian and Muslim family background. In 1999 he was elevated to the House of Lords. He has a prodigious academic record with much research into the role of Christianity in a pluralistic world, Christian-Muslim relations and on the teaching of Christianity in the modern world. Now he is President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue. He courageously supports Christian leadership in many parts of the world where Christians suffer persecution.
Bishop MIchael really understands the state we are in the Civilisational challenges we face and has the courage to speak the truth in the face of strong social pressure to stick to the Politically Correct hymn sheet.
In this interview, Bishop Michael addresses the State of Western Civilisation; it’s strengths; what’s working really well; the challenges we face.
He describes his positive vision for the future- his version of heaven on earth. He believes that we need a spiritual foundation for life and that we are living on past spiritual capital and that Christianity is essential to start regenerating that spiritual capital.
Bishop Michael says what he thinks of being spiritual but not religious- whether or not that is an evolutionary step towards towards a global post-Ethnic pure form of spirituality without cultural and historical baggage. Could it be that the C of E is the first post postmodern religion which provides a lead for the others in recognizing their common path and accommodating all- the first post-postmodern, Integral, Global religion? He sets out his conditions for that to be possible.
He says we need a shared story of who we are, what we believe, our values and history. He tells his version of that story and his own identity. He celebrates the strengths of Britain and talks about how he personally views the history of the British Empire and how we relate to that today. Clearly he sees Christianity as absolutely the central pillar of our history, identity, culture and values.
Bishop MIchael comments upon the muted Western reaction to the persecution of Christians around the world. Why do the Western Elites turn a blind eye?
How do we defend our freedoms, democracy and way of life from those who want to force their authoritarian and absolutist way upon us at a time when the pseudoliberal elite have made it at least taboo if not illegal to engage in debate and assert that Western or British values are better and in any case are our own right in our own country?
What’s needed to sort out gang violence and social decay? How do we restore the healthy authority of a parent, teacher, policeman, doctor etc?
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali was the 106th Bishop of Rochester, for 15 years, until 1 September 2009. He is originally from Asia and was the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England. He was appointed in 1994. Before that he was the General Secretary of CMS from 1989-1994 and prior to holding this position was Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan. He holds both British and Pakistani citizenship and from 1999 was a member of the House of Lords where he was active in a number of areas of national and international concern. He has both a Christian and a Muslim family background and is now President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue (OXTRAD).
Michael’s secondary education was in Pakistan. He read Economics, Sociology and Islamic History at the University of Karachi, and Theology at Fitzwilliam College and Ridley Hall, Cambridge. His interests have led him to research and study in several fields, including comparative literature, comparative philosophy of religion and theology at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and elsewhere. He has taught at colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and Pakistan. He is an Honorary Fellow of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He is Visiting Professor of Theology and Religious Studies in the University of Greenwich and on the Faculty of the London School of Theology (LST) affiliated to the Universities of Brunel and Middlesex.
Michael has been a visiting lecturer in a number of universities and colleges in the UK, Canada, the USA and Australia. He has travelled widely in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America. He is the author of ten books and of numerous articles on Mission, Ecumenism, the Anglican Communion, and relations with people of other faiths (particularly Islam).
The Unique & Universal Christ: Jesus in a Plural World, Carlisle, Paternoster, 2008
Conviction and Conflict: Islam, Christianity and World Order, Continuum, 2005
Understanding My Muslim Neighbour [with Chris Stone], Canterbury Press, 2002
Shapes of the Church to Come, Kingsway, Eastbourne, 2001
Citizens and Exiles: Christian Faith in a Plural Society, SPCK, London, 1998; United Church Press, Cleveland, 1998
The Mystery of Faith, CFS, Lahore, 1995
Mission and Dialogue: Proclaiming the Gospel Afresh in Every Age, SPCK, London, 1995
From Everywhere to Everywhere: A World View of Christian Mission, Collins, London, 1990
Frontiers in Christian-Muslim Encounter, Regnum, Oxford, 1987
Islam, a Christian Perspective, Paternoster Press, Exeter, 1982; Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1983