Why leave the world a better place? Ed Miliband’s faith.

In his conference speech last year Ed Miliband talked about his family and upbringing and the debt he feels he owes to this country which took his Jewish parents in as they fled Nazi Germany.  Part of his speech follows:

“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 … That is who I am. That is what I believe. That is my faith.”

Now I’m not saying I disagree with Ed Miliband’s desire to leave the world a better place than we found it.  I might disagree with how we do that, what constitutes a better place, the priorities for action, whether politics will achieve it.  But I don’t disagree with the sentiment.

But I’d quite like to ask him “why?”  What rational reason can he give for wanting to leave the world a better place?  In his speech he talks about the values instilled in him by his parents to care for others as they had been cared for.  But why bother?

As a Christian I can answer that question, but for Ed Miliband and probably many politicians from each of the parties, I’m not sure they’d have a rational reason for answering.  If Christians are accused of blind faith (despite the evidence for the Christian faith), shouldn’t this be called blind faith as well?

God’s common grace is shown in us when we want what is good for others even when we can’t explain why – as is the case for many politicians and volunteers and anyone who cares for another in some way.  We can thank God for his common grace to all humanity, and also for Christian politicians who can answer the question and who work for God’s glory as they serve.


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