Oh dear, I appear to have helped stir up a bit of controversy over young Mr Farron's letter to the Advertising Standards Authority and, by extension, provoked an ongoing row about religion. It hasn't been pretty.
I consider myself as someone who believes in God, albeit rather informally. I instinctively make the sign of the Cross on entering a Catholic church, I light candles for my late grandmother (as much out of respect for her as out of any expectation that it makes any actual difference), and, most of all, I feel vaguely guilty that I am not more devout (not actually guilty enough to remedy this, more a background level of guilt, if you like).
But, as an ersatz Englishman, I take a quintessentially English view of religion, as I do of sex. I have no objection to people practising their faith, as long as they don't force me to join in against my will, and as long as they do it privately amongst consenting individuals. I'm not wild about public displays of religious faith, just as I'm not keen on people performing sexual acts in public.
That doesn't seem too difficult for most people to live with. But it is, I fear. There have been some astonishingly intolerant remarks made in the course of the debate, some of them from quite surprising sources. And I am puzzled by that, as we do seem, as a country, to have decided that tolerance is all well and good, with the exception of religion.
I am not a huge fan of organised religion. In the wrong hands, it has been, and continues to be, used as a justification for war, repression and intolerance. In more recent times, the emergence of a religious bureaucracy has led to a rather ponderous response to societal change. But the notion of faith is a powerful one, and can be, if taken in the round, a good one. A tolerant faith, based on universal tenets of decency, honesty and consistency, is a force for good in an increasingly cynical world.
For we all believe in something that cannot be proved, be it religious faith or liberalism. Both are ideas, rather than solid facts, the aim of both being to build a society in our image, both open to interpretation, argument and disagreement, both of which leave space for doubt and uncertainty.
So perhaps we could go easy on the vitriol, and accept (and respect) our differences. Because, ultimately, we're all in the same lifeboat, and it will go easier for all of us if we can just rub along a bit...