I often hear it said, and I believe it is true - although how common it is, I don't know - that modern people lose their Christian faith when bad things happen to them.
This is, however, very strange - because in the olden days when bad things happened to people, it apparently seemed to do the opposite: to increase their faith. Or even if it didn't do this, bad things did not seem to lead to widespread apostasy.
I have been reading the great Medieval English poets Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland recently - who lived through the Black Death when half the population of England died in a few decades, a catastrophe of world historical severity.
More than two million people died, and the population took three hundred years to recover.
Yet Chaucer and Langland barely mention the fact. And certainly it led to no great loss of faith in England - if anything it increased the zeal among the proto-Protestant Lollards.
Why should this be - I wonder. That misfortune used to strengthen faith but now weakens or destroys it?