In The Daily Telegraph not long ago, A. N. Wilson produced one of those short but seemingly interminable (and morbidly tiresome) opinion columns at which he so excels, this one in praise, putatively, of the present Archbishop of Canterbury. The panegyric, however, was somewhat overwhelmed by the comical dolorousness of the prose. No fewer than sixteen-hundred times (at least, if the impression lingering in my memory is to be believed), Wilson departed from his theme to inform us that we are living in the waning days of the Christian religion, that indeed it will not be long before the last church is closed, and that hence we may not see the likes of the good Archbishop very often again. Surely, I thought as I was reading, this is a man in whom parochialism has metastasized into a psychosis. Here we are living in an age when Christianity is spreading more rapidly and more widely than at any other point in the two millennia of its...


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