The reason that I don’t go around trying to deconvert all my Christian friends is that they know the arguments against a belief in God so very much better than I do. I can entertain the possibility that Christianity is true. They have to take it seriously. I don’t believe I ought to love my neighbour, however much patience and humility this takes. I know that prayers go unanswered: they know their own prayers do.

I am not the person who has to bury the tramps, to comfort the parents whose children have died, or to read the Bible in the hope that it will yield meaning. I don’t even have to believe that the Holy Spirit works through the college of cardinals or General Synod, so that their deliberations are in some way connected with the redemption of the world.

Only the last of those duties is a mark of moral or intellectual weakness. In fact, since I like my friends to be admirable, which often means cleverer and nicer than I am, my Christian friends don’t seem to me stupid or cowardly. I know lots of Christians who are both, of course. But that’s true of atheists and Muslims as well.