Civilisation's fragile fabric (letter)by Malcolm HarrisNews Weekly
, February 4, 2006
I was delighted to read Bill Muehlenberg's article ("What are we fighting for?", News Weekly
, December 17, 2005) about the culture wars, and his quoting of T.S. Eliot.
During my career, I worked for 10 years as an auditor. Aside from my regular job as internal auditor in the public sector, I also did honorary auditing work for clubs and societies.
It was the latter which taught me the most, due to the usual lack of proper internal control. The club treasurer was often somebody who was virtually roped in, and did the job reluctantly.
Certain patterns emerged, in particular that the club members would attempt to appoint somebody they trusted. More often than not that person was a Christian - not a nominal Christian, but a practising one. I never once found that their trust had been misplaced.
In stark contrast, I often found plenty to report on, when the elected official did not have the same self-discipline as a Christian.
Over the years, I came to the personal belief that our so-called civilisation was protected by an all-embracing fabric, but that the jungle was constantly breaking through that fabric.
When this happened, the policemen and auditors had to detect the break and repair the damage, otherwise the jungle would overwhelm us all.
The fabric consisted of many threads; but one thread was crucial, and that was our Christian heritage. Without it, the fabric would be too weak to hold back the jungle. Disaster!
People would become terrified at such a loss of law and order, and be prepared to welcome any strongman who promised to restore order. Enter a Hitler or a Stalin.
So, 25 years ago, a simple accountant came to the same conclusion as a great man like T.S. Eliot: "If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes."Malcolm Harris, CPA,