From Secularisation by Edward Norman, 2002, pages 47-9 (excerpts).
"Modern people have actually shown that they can get on very well without religion. Many in the Church find this puzzling, for they suppose that there exists a kind of interior disposition in each person to need a religious sentiment - (...) a 'God-shaped hole'.
"But this is a mistaken notion. The human inclination to satisfy an interior sense of emotional need is an acquired characteristic; it is cultural. People are simply taught from birth that they have emotional needs that can be accommodated by some higher reflective capacity. (...)
"Authentic religion - the true understanding of Christianity - is not about emotional satisfaction, or what belief can do for the sentiments of the individual; it is a duty owed to God because he exists. It is not about us, but about him.
"Alas, once more, modern Christians are among the first to get their priorities wrong, and they often set out to propagate the message of Christ in a manner which presents it as the answer to human emotional need. (...)
"The Marxists have always said that religious belief indicates the existence of a wrongly ordered society; once society has been rationally organized, the need for faith will disappear as a social phenomenon. The observation (...) is true enough.
"It is true, that is to say, of the use commonly made of religion by those concerned with social control, and does not affect the question of whether Christianity is true in itself.
"Christianity, as it really is, needs for its survival to be taught to each person and to each generation, as true in itself, and as dependent for its authority on uniquely revealed knowledge. It is not effective because it fills an intrinsic need - had it been so it would indeed have been no more than just another candidate for occupancy of the false consciousness of the people.
"Christianity is in the market place of competing ideas; its survival is not because of its appeal - or its fulfillment of human need - but because it is rational. It is an account of the Creator and his involvement with the Creation; and about human fallibility and redemption.
"The emotional condition of people, and their liability to believe seemingly everything they are conditioned to believe, does not come into it.