Rowan Williams sees some irony in the idea that the modern age makes religion obsolete.
An average intelligent modern person will probably say, “Well, we live in an age which is democratic. We live in an age where we expect people’s freedom of opinion to be respected, an age where the scientific worldview is taken for granted as the way we approach our environment. And that’s why of course we can’t be doing with religion”. And what they don’t entirely realise is that most of the vocabulary and the structures of thought they’re talking about derive from that theological legacy, derive from a picture of the world and of persons which is not actually self-evident, but grew out of this religious tradition. People learned about democracy, about rights, about liberty of conscience, about the scientific worldview. It took time, and the time it took was very largely the time it took to think through some of the implications of the Christian worldview.