"This led to amusement by atheists and believers alike ..."Marquand is nailing on the head the very essence of a good joke, showing how atheists and believers were both stoking the runaway success of Ariane Sherine's advertising campaign.
I can't help contrasting the light-hearted, up-beat tone of Sherine's atheist campaign, with the pointed, hectoring tone of Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation". Maybe he has surveyed how many Christians have actually read his book, and finding the results a bit disappointing, he needs other means to prove his point. He is currently working on a True Lie Detection machine. Back in the Letter, Harris sets up a classic dichotomy in his opening pages, but then flunks it when he says:
"So let us be honest with ourselves: in the fullness of time, one side is really going to win this argument, and the other side is really going to lose."I wonder if his machine will be able to us if his statement above is the truth, a lie, or maybe just a prophecy? Harris fits the role of a modern day Cassandra - fated to always tell the truth, but never to be believed. There must be a powerful moral in all this somewhere, but nothing is coming to the fore. Never thought though, that the best discussion of the whole subject was going to be found in Christian Science Monitor, wonders will never cease.