It’s only taken The Australian 50 years to catch up. “Is God Dead?” asks the headline on the cover story of its Inquirer section this weekend. In 1966, Time magazine used those same words -- “Is God Dead?” -- as the cover of its famous April 8 edition.

The difference is that while the Time story was a genuine, fact-based feature that made a thoughtful contribution to the debate about the decline of theism, The Australian’s effort is just overblown wordage -- a disjointed, illogical display of melancholia penned by Greg Sheridan. He takes two broadsheet pages to tell us we’re all going to hell in a hand basket because Christianity is in retreat. Take out the odd contemporary reference and it reads much like the long-winded sermon/polemics favoured by The Catholic Weekly in the late 1950s.