Religion is definitely back on the agenda, schisms included. What is interesting is the ‘battle’ between the devout sceptics (some anti-religion scientists) and the devout reactionaries (the religious right). The two have a lot in common; they are ignorant of both religion and science and are terribly intolerant. Liberal approaches to religion are not deemed by the media interesting so one has to endure a lot of nonsense from both sides be it creationism, homophobia and sexism, or God getting an X-ray.
Starting from the latter, to argue that there is no evidence for God and therefore God does not exist, forces the laws of physics onto metaphysics thus failing to understand the laws of logic. If by God we mean something or, indeed, no-thing beyond existence and the physical world, it follows that It cannot be subject to any verification in the physical world.
God aside, the anti-religion ‘crusaders’ like reducing religion to blind faith in God, scriptures and whatever the latest noise a celeb-religious figure has made. Religion is not a belief system per se; any religion, often despite its leaders’ preferences, has different theologies that contain several interpretations. As someone who has read the bible cover to cover and reads it regularly once a week, I consider the ‘literalist’ interpretation deeply flawed and inevitably contradictory. It is flawed because the bible is a complex text that has different levels and therefore necessitates exegesis. It is contradictory because it has been written over a very long stretch of time, by different people, the text was only later vocalised and it has contradictory passages (from a literal point of view), for example two creation stories.
Even from a strictly theological point of view, to take religious texts literally is intellectually impoverished. The sciences used to encompass all including theology. Arguably, the medieval rationalist approach of Averroes, Tommaso d’Aquino (Thomas Aquinas) and Maimonides, to name one from each monotheistic religion, lay the foundations of science. It is sad that neither the religious nor the anti-religious understand this. As we are going through a de-secularisation process, democracy and society face a serious challenge. However, most religious authorities are not engaging in any real debate on the values of liberty and equality that are entrenched in our legislation. They want to play politics but do not follow the rules. Of course, in this they are aided by arrogant and ignorant 'atheist/scientists' who think they understand the entire universe and beyond. Time for the liberals to start debating.