Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Thought for the Day

In the light of the suggestion that teachers should do more to try and spot young people in the process of being radicalised, here is my thought for the day from this morning as delivered on Breakfast with Steve and Laura on BBC Radio Bristol:

I like working with young people. Once, before the word was hi-jacked, I would have been happy to say I was radicalising them.

Young people push back on authority, examine rules to breaking point and assert individuality. The way to help development of character is to expose teenagers to all the conflicting ideas in the market place.

We must encourage questions, share discussions and never, force anyone to do anything they don't want to.

Someone once asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. Pick one of the ten. His recorded reply was that we should love God with all our heart (cleverly summarising the first four) and our neighbour as ourselves (the last six pithily expressed).

He refused to be bound by the assumptions of the question.

But if we don't discuss what he meant by love we are in trouble. For some people say they love God so much they will shoot anyone who doesn't.

Rabbi Lord Sacks reminds us in a new book 'Not in My Name' that Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all rooted in Abraham. He calls this a humanising force.

By that human radicalism we insist on the dignity of every life, permit all to be people of faith in freedom and we stress that conflicts get resolved as peacefully as possible, however they start.

Whose fault is it that teenagers get radicalised by the wrong causes? All of us, for not allowing each and every radical opinion in the world to be heard, discussed and, if necessary, ridiculed and rejected. That's free speech. That's democracy. And that's why you can phone in and say the guy who did thought for the day this morning was an idiot, without fearing for your life.

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