Ed Miliband, the atheist leader of the UK's Labour Party made an interesting statement yesterday about his "faith" :
When I was twelve years old, I met a South African friend of my parents, her name was Ruth First. The image I remember is of somebody vivacious, full of life, full of laughter. And then I remember a few months later coming down to breakfast and seeing my mum in tears because Ruth First had been murdered by a letter bomb from the South African secret police. Murdered for being part of the anti-apartheid movement. Now I didn’t understand the ins and outs of it, but I was shocked. I was angry I knew that wasn’t the way the world was meant to be. I knew I had a duty to do something about it. It is this upbringing that has made me who I am. A person of faith, not a religious faith but a faith nonetheless. A faith, I believe, many religious people would recognise. So here is my faith. I believe we have a duty to leave the world a better place than we found it. I believe we cannot shrug our shoulders at injustice, and just say that’s the way the world is. And I believe that we can overcome any odds if we come together as people.
To his credit Mr Miliband's confession that he lives by faith is welcome. If only because all men live by faith, the only difference is when it is real or false. His faith lies in man of which the worship politics is one of the more overt expressions. A bit like the men who built the Tower of Babel, he declares, "we can overcome any odds if we come together as people". Eh, well not quite any odds because there's a monster in the room called "deprave human nature". But we are side tracking. The main point I want to make is that one would have thought that for a man who raises his fist against God so publicly, he would have a better grounding for his anti-God stance. In fact what we find in his statement are too many profound inconsistencies about his faith.
Mr Miliband says that when Ruth First was murdered, he was angry and "knew that wasn’t the way the world was meant to be". As a 12 year old he knew something is not quite right in the world. No one needed to tell him that. The only question is how does he explain this as an atheist? What exactly was the world meant to be from an atheistic position? Mr Miliband is talking about purpose and design and yet he does not believe in a Designer. Not satisfied with that inconsistency, he goes on to say that his faith is one "religious people would recognise". A faith that preaches a "duty to leave the world a better place than we found it". But who confers this duty on us, if God does not exist? All atheists agree that to have objective moral values there must be a moral law giver. Mr Miliband wants objective morality without the Giver. He makes much of injustice in Britain, but on what moral basis? When he says "we cannot shrug our shoulders at injustice, and just say that’s the way the world is", he appears to reject Darwinian naturalism! He does not think injustice is part of the evolutionary process. He believes that the quest for justice and fair play are externally given to us. There's nothing "natural" about suffering and therefore it is right and proper that we positive shape our future. We are not a mere product of chance. All of these things he seems to implicit hold onto are opposed to his atheistic beliefs.
Since Mr Miliband asked people to know the real him. We are left with some difficult questions. Either Mr Miliband is very genuinely confused about what he thinks on these issues or he is lying to public about what he really thinks. The options do not look very attractive.