In what could well be a very good policy paper on A New Purpose for Politics: Quality of Life, to be debated at next month's Liberal Democrat Conference, I was intrigued to read that the paper's authors "do not seek in any way to encourage anyone to believe (or not) in God". This will doubtless come as a great relief to the many millions of British people who were on tenterhooks awaiting guidance from my party on this very question; God himself is unavailable for comment. The passage in question (which is actually quite sensible) reads:
There is good evidence that religious belief is positively associated with life satisfaction (sic) (even beyond the social effects): a belief in God does appear from the evidence to contribute to happiness. We do not seek in any way to encourage anyone to believe (or not) in God: among other considerations, it is also the case that many things have been done in the name of religion or other values systems which have reduced wellbeing, particularly of non-conforming minorities. However the wider message is that people having a clear sense of their place in the world is important to wellbeing.