It is ultimately impossible to mind read Blair. Looking at his website though certain things stand out.
His Tony Blair Faith Foundation ostensibly has laudable goals such as eradicating malaria and getting faith communities involved in distributing health resources to do so.
Blair's missionary impetus and calls to promote inter-faith dialogue and get them to co-operate in ridding the world of preventable deaths does seem like 'displacement therapy' on his part.
If over a million people have died as a result of the invasion of Iraq, because of the collapse of that state into inter-ethnic and sectarian conflict, then the aims of his Faith Foundation are to work against such a level of death elsewhere.
It is difficult not to think Blair's motives are still about self justification and that he has some form of messiah complex where through his agency he can show the power of the will to believe in 'getting things done'.
Unfortunately, it was that belief that led him to commit Britain to Iraq and his Faith Foundation contains propaganda about what he sees as the wholly reconciliable nature of world faiths such as Islam and US global hegemony.
Including this lecture which was organised by Clive Tuggle, Vice Chairman of Coca Cola.
The Mighty and the Almighty: American Foreign Policy and God, talk given by Madeline Albright at Yale Divinity School where Blair has been appointed.....
As the blurb goes,
Madeline Albright, the first woman Secretary of State and highest ranking woman in the history of the US government, draws upon her personal experiences to talk about how the borderless nature of religious faith often makes it easier for leaders to talk to one another, easier for nations to agree on common values, and easier for people from vastly different backgrounds to reach a consensus about moral standards.There is a contradiction between Blair's belief that all faiths can work together for the greater good and the fact that this can be promoted through the kind of international politics where the US 'plays God'.
For it was Albright, previously US Secretary of state under Bill Clinton. Albright who imposed misery on Iraq through sanctions in pursuit of the goal of controlling it's oil resources.
There was not much evidence of Christian principles in 1996 when she was asked on the TV show 60 Minutes if she could justify the deaths of half of a million Iraqi children caused, according to Unicef, by an economic embargo that denied the country basic medicines.
"I think this is a very hard choice but the price – we think the price is worth it"
Naturally, such a morality of necessary sacrifice was not mentioned with regards the sanctions on Iraq
'In many developing countries religion is one of the most powerful sources of personal identity – for good and ill. Understanding these identities is critical to tackling conflict and understanding politics. Equally, the role of religion in forming attitudes and behaviour can be profoundly important in addressing the causes and effects of poverty.Tony Blair Engage with the Faith, The Guardian 7 September 2009
The great London multi-faith march by religious leaders this year to promote the Millennium Development Goals was further evidence of the power wielded by faith communities when they work together.
We know they are effective advocates – that's not the key question in development.
The answer is providing help to enable faith communities to develop their capabilities. It doesn't make sense for them to do this separately. This is a core part of the vision of my Faith Foundation.When faith communities collaborate for justice and human development there is a double payoff: things get done and respect and understanding between them grows.
Faith communities given training, some funding and mobile phones, could provide governments with missing data about incidence of disease and the effectiveness of healthcare delivery in parts of their populations where government has negligible access.
Faith communities are not NGOs in the normal sense. They were not consciously created for service delivery, health care, advocacy, or education. They are a gathered people brought together by often ancient religious traditions carried through the generations by a community of faith. They are centred on worship, usually rooted in sacred texts and have a particular spirituality and set of symbols'
As with anything Tony Blair writes on religion it is the political objectives that have to be considered: in particular the utility of 'faith' in bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to support the creation of a universal civilisation.
The subtleties of traditional theology are less important to Blair than the miraculous power of 'faith' to bring about progressive change if only there is the will to do it, something better considered as 'belief' which is quite the contrary of faith.
The philosopher Alan Watts had it right when he argued that belief is a form of clinging to myths and dogmas that provide people with the bedrock of security in an insecure world, that screen out all that cannot be accepted.
The word faith derives from the Latin word fidere, which means to have trust whilst belief comes from an Old English word that refers to what a person values because it helps them to live and ought not to be questioned through fear.
In Blair's case those beliefs are Progress and US led Globalisation.
The belief that progress and globalisation harnessed to the project of advancing US power is a good thing. That the US and Britain as multicultural and multifaith societies are some microcosm for how the entire world could live and sing in perfect harmony.
Though Blair is ostensibly a Catholic, his creed derives more from the Positivism of Auguste Comte, the nineteenth century inventor of sociology and a great influence on Anthony Giddens, the man who created 'the Third Way'.
As John Gray writes in Al Qaida and What it Means to be Modern,
The Positivists did not aim merely to revolutionise society. Their aim was to found a new religion. [Count Henri de] Saint-Simon believed the ‘positive doctrine’ would become the basis for a new ‘church’ when all scientists united to form a permanent ‘clergy’.The clergy of this new faith are the persuaders, the corporate sponsors and advertisers, the PR gurus and those who wish to channel the energies of the world's population into a placid and benign consumerism enlivened with a bit of faith in being nice.
Blair believes that all races and creeds will come together because the West can propagate and put into practice the new 'religion of humanity' where all nations are interdependent and work together for the good of all.
When the globe is united upon a shared common vision the metaphysical era in which progress represents the cumulative knowledge of the entire species and the "One Way" to truth and salvation which is, in Comte's scheme of things, the positivist era.
To hasten the coming advent of the positivist era it is sometimes necessary to 'set aside God in the name of religion' if that means the dead hand of dogma, as when Blair tried to convince the Pope why a War on Iraq was necessary.
Men themselves can become as Gods once despots, terrorists and nationalists are destroyed and removed from holding back Progress and dividing humanity from the recognition of its real true interests in co-operating in accordance with their comparative advantages.
Though these beliefs are a core part of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the search for global order through stressing common humanity of all people everywhere is partly a balm for those who have a disturbed conscience or who are worried about resource scarcity.
We live in a global community. The contest for scarce resources, water and oil, will be intense by mid-century. Our interdependence is manifest whether at the level of climate change or global financial markets.The Iraq War was fought because Blair believed that by ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein the oil of Iraq could work for the benefit of the West and Iraqi's through Western investment and the tapping of new oil fields in the south.
We need the inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue that turns neighbours into friends able to work together to confront the threats to our common security.
This war was Utopian in that it tried to reconcile objectives that could not be, such as promoting Western democracy whilst at the same time expecting that this would not polarise ethnic and 'faith based communities' previously only separated from conflict by fear of Saddam.
Moreover, how Iraqi democracy could ever be reconciled with the need to control Iraqi oil primarily for the benefit of the West and our energy security was overlooked. With North Sea oil running out and Iraq's oilfield malfunctioning die to sanctions, Blair felt the UK had to invade.
With Iraq's population due to double within twenty years in spite of the war, oil prices would need to rise if Iraq's population were to benefit. the West needs falling oil prices to maintain it's lifestyle and the consumerism to which people are accustomed.
The belief in force as a midwife of a new global order presided over by the USA held by New Labour progressives was partly the legacy of Marxist ideas. Yet it also derived from standard liberal notions of a universal social order which would end conflicts-as in Europe after Kosovo.
Albert Camus remarked on the Soviet Communist's attempt to create a universal order through power, myth and force and how it drew on the legacy of Positivism that,
Utopia replaces God with the future. Then it proceeds to identify the future with ethics: the only values are those which serve this particular future. For that reason Utopias have almost always been coercive and authoritarian......Albert Camus The Rebel. State Terrorism and Rational Terror pages 163 & 177
The demand for justice ends in injustice if it is not primarily based on an ethical justification of justice: without this, crime itself one day becomes a duty. When good and evil are reintegrated in time and confused with events, nothing any longer is either good or bad, but only premature or out of date.
Who will decide on the opportunity if not the opportunist? Later, say the disciples, you will judge. but the victims will not be there to judge. Messianism in order to exist must construct a defence against the victims...