n Jordan, a moderate yet socially-conservative country and for long a beacon for religious co-existence in a turbulent region where intolerance and hate speech is on the rise, a Sharia court has allowed a minor to convert to Islam.
Some are very relaxed and comfortable with their religious stance and are equally happy to befriend an atheist such as myself. I regularly espouse on my timeline my disdain for religion, but can of course separate the religion from the person.
The subtleties we lose when we communicate electronically have to do with expression, with touch, with the face-to-face aspect of relationship. Social media does not show tears in the eye, a hand on the arm when saying something painful, body language that speaks of inner turmoil, deep distress - even gentle respect. It is simply there - usually forever.
It's not my intention to invert the status quo and start bashing atheists. There's enough bashing going on as it is. What is interesting, writing as someone who doesn't really think of himself as either, is to observe the distinct similarities in each group.
We all pay our tax. But as we've seen from scandal after scandal in the last few years, companies like Amazon, Google and Starbucks can get away without paying their fair share. Every year the UK loses billions of pounds to corporate tax dodging.
Surely, we do not have to view them as a Hobson's choice? What we should focus on instead is the harder - and much harsher - question of whether we as followers of a religion or as advocates of free speech can coexist too?
My experience of Scouting is ten years that left me with fond memories of having been a Cub, a Scout and then a Venture Scout who weekly 'promised to love God' but admittedly without anyone explaining to me what that actually meant.
Perhaps the poor do have more to gain from faith then the middle classes, and religion for all its good and bad will not give way to secularism in Africa.
Every person's life has an intrinsic value regardless of circumstance. Whatever they themselves or other people may think of their 'value' to society, and despite any apparent lack of productivity or usefulness, nothing can alter their essential significance as human beings. To agree that some of us are more valuable than others when it comes to being alive would be to cross an ethical Rubicon.
The coldblooded murder of innocent civilians - no matter the nationality or circumstances - is always utterly appalling.
We non-Muslim Brummies can cope with people doubting our existence. God surely can too. Sharing, disagreeing, and gently mocking are the most powerful weapons we have against extremism and bigotry. Familiarity does not breed contempt, it conquers it.
"I haven't seen my daughter since IS took her. I cried and shouted at them - what could they want with a three year old? She's just a child." The desperate mother told me her story as we sat on a cold, damp floor in Iraq in November. At Open Doors we estimate that there are over 100million Christians persecuted for their faith. And each one has a story. Our 2015 World Watch List report, released today, reveals a devastating picture of what is happening to Christians around the globe.
All religions, new and old, should be subject to the same disrespect that Charlie Hedbo so boldly and bravely paid them. As Salman Rushdie, a man who knows a thing or two about this subject, said religion deserves our 'fearless disrespect'. Long may such disrespect, whether it be in Charlie Hedbo or elsewhere, continue.
Now I'm not siding with the 'we brought this on ourselves' lot. What I'm saying is we just haven't got to grips with the fact rapid developments in communications technology and transport have well and truly moved the goalposts.
The journalists and policemen murdered in Paris are the latest tragic victims in an ongoing war of ideas and belief. To win this war theologians must get involved, abandoning relativism and, as blunt as it sounds, take sides.
I won't indulge myself in my own personal problems with the Mass, how the language sounds to my ear a lot like lines Christopher Lee should be spouting whilst dancing around a windswept island in The Wicker Man ('It is right to give Him thanks and praise'), because I'll probably come across exactly as I am. A man who vehemently railed against his indoctrinal upbringing mid-teens when he realised his homosexuality made him, in the Dr Eckleburg eyes of the church, a sinner.