It’s often said that a leopard can’t change its spots but, true or not, the well-known atheist Richard Dawkins has been making waves recently by admitting that he is a ‘cultural Christian’ who values the traditions of the faith.

Speaking on the radio he said, "It's true that statistically, the number of people who actually believe in Christianity is going down and I'm happy with that, but I would not be happy if, for example, we lost all our cathedrals and our beautiful parish churches” and that it would be ‘truly dreadful’ if it was replaced by a different religion.

We certainly seem to be abandoning our traditional Christian culture at a rate of knots. I was reminded of this the other day when I read that an employment tribunal in Leeds has heard suggestions that a Christian social worker's beliefs could lead to the suicide of vulnerable members of the LGBT community.

The tribunal is hearing discrimination claims brought by Felix Ngole after a job offer was withdrawn by Touchstone Support Leeds. The Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr Ngole, has said that a senior member of staff at Touchstone has suggested that expressing the belief that there are only two genders could "lead to death" and that sharing the well- known Bible verse John 3:16 would be "triggering" for LGBT service users.  Touchstone hails itself as an inclusive employer which makes me wonder if I am the only one who finds this a little confusing.

I am obviously disappointed to see our Christian culture being eroded but I am also committed to the twin principles of freedom of religion and freedom of speech which is why I never thought John 3:16 would ever prove so contentious. Let me remind you what it says, or rather what Jesus said. ‘For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life’. 

I believe our culture and our laws should be shaped by the Bible’s values because I am convinced that they make for a good society. 

William Wilberforce believed this too. He is normally associated with the campaign to abolish slavery, but his work was much broader than that. He was convinced that Britain needed more than a change in the law, it needed a redefinition of political correctness, a shift of cultural values.  

It was no easy task of course. Abolition, for example, was not a popular cause; Wilberforce's life was threatened, and friendships were lost because there are times when Christian values run counter to popular opinion, vested interests and as a result provoke real opposition.

This is why I am convinced that my dream of a Christian society will only be realised when many, many more of us recognise that the Jesus way of life is the most fulfilling and enriching life on offer. It’s for this reason I would want to echo the sentiments of Chine McDonald who said recently: "We've come a long way from the antagonism of New Atheism that made it its mission to denounce all religion, including Christianity. But I'll save my excitement for when Dawkins et al start talking about the ways in which their lives have been turned upside down by the radical love of Jesus Christ." (Christianity magazine).