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A Good Year for God

LONDON – It’s been a better year for God. After withering literary assaults on the Almighty from the Oxford academic Richard Dawkins, the essayist Christopher Hitchens, and others, believers have hit back.

Best of all has been The Case for God by the brilliant religion writer Karen Armstrong. More important still is the news that more people (certainly in Britain) are going to Christian churches of all denominations. Moreover, the Pope made a very successful visit to Britain in September. We know already about heavy attendance at the country’s mosques.

At this time of year, of course, many Christians who are not regular churchgoers attend the Nativity services. Carols, church bells, and mangers are still at the heart of mid-winter festivities, alongside the consumer binge. This year, however, the “big spend” in Europe may have been inhibited by the big winter freeze and the big austerity programs across most of the continent.

Even in the most Godless households, most children in Western societies probably know the details of the Christmas story. The travelers who can find no room at the inn. The birth of a baby in the stables. The arrival of the wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.