Archbishop of Canterbury: The high tide of the "new atheism" has passed

“Recent years have seen so many high-profile assaults on the alleged evils of religion that we’ve almost become used to them; we sigh and pass on, wishing that we could have a bit more of a sensible debate and a bit less hysteria. But there are a few signs that the climate is shifting ever so slightly,” he said at Canterbury cathedral.

Williams announced in March that he would be stepping down when he moves to Cambridge next winter.

Contrasting the “hysteria” of “aggressive polemic against religious faith” with an increasing recognition among “serious and liberal-minded commentators”, he said faith was no longer seen as “a brainless and oppressive enemy” but recognised as a potential ally against a greedy and individualistic way of life that feels “increasingly insane”.