There is a contradiction at the heart of the role that religion plays today in our national life. On the one hand, the number of people describing themselves as non-religious has increased dramatically - from one in eight in England and one in three in Scotland in 2001 to almost half the UK population today.
We all have our own way of doing things, our own internal rule book, if you like, and we don't take too kindly to other people or situations messing that up. Holding on to a set vision in the face of challenging circumstances is, in most cases, a sure path to disappointment, anger, resentment and a variety other negative emotions.
I've learned a lot about who I am, especially in the last year or so and I wanted to just be upfront about certain situations and lessons life has taught me. I am my own worst enemy and although I'm pretty confident, I struggle with acceptance and shame (I hate feeling exposed). Hindsight is a wonderful thing and upon reflection over the last few months, here are my 10 Important Life Lessons.
We can become the kind of woman we look up to and admire. We can become the kind of woman that we dream about. We can become the kind of woman that we find ourselves being envious of. But we have to create her. We need a desire to change and a boldness to become her.Want to be a better woman? Then start today.
It breaks my heart to think that if she finds out Santa is made up then God and Jesus will go with him. I couldn't handle that because my jaded, patchy grown-up's faith is so strengthened by her perfect child-like one. At this time of year I need that more than ever; I honestly don't know how people survive Christmas without Christ.
I don't think there's any denying that Jesus was a pretty stand up guy. When he wasn't bringing people back to life - always a generous thing to do - he seemed to spend most of his time feeding the masses or turning water into wine. He was just the kind of bloke who would make a great addition to any party.
How many of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics actually follow their church's teaching on matters such as contraception and abortion? How many actually believe its teaching on transubstantiation, that during Holy Communion the bread and wine offered to the congregation are miraculously changed into the body and blood of Christ?
I am constantly being challenged - 'Islam isn't really a religion of peace', 'Why aren't you as a Christian denouncing Islam'. This is the language of hate and enmity, erecting barriers between people who need to meet, understand and build relationships with each other. But Jesus said, 'love your neighbour'. We need to hold on to that, whether we are Christian, Muslim, Hindu or atheist...