It is always silly to get into the numbers game, but sometimes you just can’t help it. So, when the National Secular Society has a hissy fit about the Church of England claiming to speak for the whole country and cites (without ever giving evidence for its claims) the ’emptying pews’, it is tempting to ask why there are over a million people in church each Sunday and only 3000 members of the NSS. We know numbers don’t prove anything much: Hitler packed them in at Nurenberg, but this apparent endorsement says nothing about the validity of his ethics.

Anyway, I was having a quick look at the sometimes-interesting online version of New Humanist magazine to see what recent dissing of the C of E has been going on. Much to my surprise I found the following reference to the C of E’s decision to Twitter its Lent stuff under the heading Twits from the Church of England: ‘I don’t know exactly when the C of E Twitter launched, and I’m not setting myself up for a fall by saying they won’t overtake us, but at the time of writing they have 201 followers to our 527. If you’re on Twitter and not following us, we’re on there as @NewHumanist – we promise there’ll be no preaching from our tweets.’ Two issues here:

c-of-e-lent1. Why do they think all we do is preach? And why do they think so many people are so stupid as to be preached at? Why do they have such a low opinion of people’s general intelligence and ability to form their own opinion? I think we treat people with a bit more respect.

2. Notwithstanding the disclaimer, there is a presumption that nobody will be interested in what the C of E might Twitter. So, I made a phone call to find out how many people are now following the C of E Twitter stuff. The answer? 1172. Which is double the 527 quoted by NS magazine. But, maybe their numbers have grown, too.

Anyway, it’s all good fun, isn’t it? But, I’m not sure who the greater twit is in all this.