Simon Hoggart illustrates what it is about Christians that gets right up intelligent noses.
"A week ago the TV news included a heartwarming story about an 11-month old baby boy in Tennessee who had been picked up by a tornado and thrown for 150 yards. Rescuers found him lying face down in mud, but alive and only scratched.
"Neighbours and friends lined up to say how kind God had been, how God had looked after him, and so forth. I wanted to yell at the screen: "But his mother died! He's an orphan! What was God thinking of?" You don't have to be Richard Dawkins to realise that belief in a God who is both all-benign and omnipotent is going to lead you into some pretty tricky philosophical tangles.
Americans seem to have come up with the notion of God as the fourth emergency service, stepping in to mitigate misfortunes which for some reason He couldn't prevent: Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 for example.
"I've seen Christian newsletters which argue that God worked hard on 9/11, organising traffic jams in Manhattan so that hundreds of people didn't get to work in the twin towers before the planes hit. A bit rough on those who went by subway.
"Maybe they ought to get back to the Old Testament Jehovah, angry and vengeful, constantly seeking blood, destruction and revenge. It would solve so many problems."