Today we celebrate Victoria Day. Originally it served to honour the birthday of Queen Victoria (May 24, 1819).

It brings to mind that a whole way of social conduct carries the adjective, “Victorian”. People expected everyone to follow certain rules of etiquette and courtesy. This included things like holding the door open for the person behind you, and in a disagreement the parties didn’t insult each other.

We’ve moved a long way from that, superficial though it was. Now we encounter road rage, people butting into line, so-called experts using humiliation rather than rational argument (eg Richard Dawkins).

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I am not known as a defender of tradition, the Victorian age of courtesy has an attraction. In a self-centred, throw-away, pleasure-and-profit-for-the-moment society one finds it difficult to have a sensible discussion about controversial issues.

Years ago I had good conversations with atheists. Now that neo-atheism is in vogue that has disappeared underneath mockery and open arrogance.

No one lives the Bible any more. Churches run the organization with fear-mongering, gossip, secrecy and defence against “outsiders”. When the Bible happens to come up in a controversy someone either belittles it as outdated, or uses it as a meat cleaver to chop off parts of the other party. (The sword of the Lord, the Bible, has the role of defence against the devil, not spiritual children of Creator. “This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world…Also take…word of God as the sword that the Spirit supplies” in Ephesians  6:12, 17 God’s Word.)

If people actually lived the Bible (which many claim) things would be even worse!

At times the church has treated me with abuse and contempt. Now the Bible says, in the context of the order to love our enemies, “Do for other people everything you want them to do for you” (Luke 6:31 God’s Word). Since so many people use abuse, lies, gossip, defamation, innuendo and name-calling against God’s believing children, that must mean they want to receive the same kind of treatment!

Yes, Victorian values had a superficiality, but as a form of social regulation they lifted up respect and courtesy as valuable, even essential, to an acceptable social morality.

That fits with a God-expected treatment of others. Surely it can’t be all bad.