...is that it really is the salt and leaven of human life. It's not just that the slightest tinge of Christianity tends to raise life, both individual and social, to a higher plateau. It's that even the enemies and the deriders of the Faith tend to communicate its fascination and its power, in spite of themselves.
Rationalist and secular "debunkers" of Christianity simply can't help presenting it as deeper and more compelling than their own vision of reality. One always gets the impression they are trying to keep the miraculous, the supernatural and the transcendent at bay-- and that they return to the topic so often because it haunts them.
I think, for instance, of the fanatical secularist biologist PZ Myers who desecrated the Eucharist as an act of supposed protest against organized religion. Why was this man driven to re-enact the drama of Calvary? Surely there could be few more powerful demonstrations of the psychological grip that the story of Jesus has upon us all?
But right now I am thinking of the various satirical sketches that Rowan Atkinson has performed, in which he makes fun of Anglican clergymen. This one, for instance, is a skit on the present Archbishop of Canterbury. It's not especially well-observed, or funny, or original-- it's rather juvenile and mean-spirited.
But my point is that, even in a sketch intended to poke fun, Christianity seems more appealing than anything else we will encounter.
We now have a centuries-long tradition of satire on the Church of England-- literally hundreds of hand-rubbing, stammering, desperately earnest, politically correct comic vicars and curates and bishops, forever straining to draw some "spiritual" moral or allegory from anything that happens, or to show that Christianity is still "with it". ("And in a way, we are all like that man in the Bob Dylan song...")
Catholics frequently complain that the Church of England has compromised what remained of its orthodoxy almost to vanishing point, and in this we are generally in agreement with secular satirists.
But here is my whole point-- that even the good old Church of England, that barely seems recognizably Christian to traditionalists, as seen through the distorting lens of unsympathetic satire-- even that seems infinitely more charming, humane and sane that anything the modern world has to offer, in all seriousness.
More tea, vicar? Yes, please.