When it comes to censuses, monitoring forms and anything else official where I have to state my religion, I put “agnostic”.

I don’t put “atheist”. Maybe there is a God and maybe there isn’t. Noticing a rainbow or a beautiful sunset, I’ll feel more inclined to believe someone designed it. When you consider motor neurone disease or childhood cancer, you wonder what kind of loving creator would be behind them.

So I don’t trust anyone who says they’re certain that God exists or doesn’t exist. Neither believers nor non-believers have ever offered entirely persuasive answers. Until they do I’ll tick the agnostic box.

However it doesn’t keep me out of cathedrals. Two of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever visited are the vast ones in Ely and Durham – which when they were built, in the days of small, one-storey houses, must have given people an idea of heaven.

All cathedrals and many old churches have a cool, calm, relaxing feel inside. You don’t need to be a believer to visit one and enjoy their serene atmosphere and stained glass light, any more than you have to be a Christian to drink Abbot Ale, eat Cathedral City cheese or take time off at Christmas.

Indeed Carlisle Cathedral was one of the first places I visited when I moved to Carlisle, even before I’d identified any good pubs, curry houses and bookshops, high priorities for me in any new town.

Carlisle Cathedral didn’t need a helter skelter or a crazy golf course to lure me in. But some church authorities apparently think they’re necessary.

Norwich Cathedral has installed a a 55ft-high helter skelter in its nave. The canon has explained that “some people can feel that cathedrals are slightly exclusive” and this is a way to rectify that.

The helter skelter came only days after Rochester Cathedral set up a crazy golf course in its nave as a visitor attraction.

It’s obvious why. All churches are finding it difficult to get bums on pews. More than half the population now say they have no religion.

The last British Social Attitudes survey found that 53 per cent of adults describe themselves as having no religion, up from 48 per cent in 2015. When the survey first began asking about religious affiliation in 1983, only 31 per cent had no religion.

Among all adults in Britain, only 15 per cent consider themselves to be Anglican, while nine per cent are Catholics, 17 per cent belong to other Christian denominations and six per cent follow a non-Christian faith.

Defenders of religion point out that it brings comfort to many people to believe they will be reunited with loved ones in heaven. Or they’ll point out that religions provide a moral framework.

You don’t need religious belief to have morals, but those of Christianity can mostly be accepted

It would be better if we all did unto others as we had have them do unto us. I have no problem with The 10 Commandments and abide by most of them.

I don’t steal or kill. I honour my father and mother, if phoning them most weekends counts.

I don’t covet my neighbour’s ox. The chance to commit adultery never arises. It’s a pity some Christians don’t observe them.

And the idea of having “no religion” isn’t one I can buy completely, whatever people tell surveys.

Just as the notion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political position, so saying you are not religious is a religious position.

And is anyone completely religion-free? Humans have had religions of one sort or another throughout history. It’s an inbuilt instinct.

Christianity became the official religion of Rome in AD 380. It wasn’t as if the Romans had been atheist before that. The new religion replaced the pagan gods of Jupiter, Juno, Mars and Venus without a gap.

The growth of new age beliefs and of charismatic churches could be down to the decline of traditional Christianity. One faith gets swapped for another

Totalitarian regimes that ban religion have to fill the space with something else. Look at the cult of personality around North Korea’s hereditary rulers, “The Great Leader”, “The Dear Leader” and now “The Great Successor”.

It seems we need something to revere, whether it’s a country, a political party or a football team.

If one religion falls away another will arise. It doesn’t take a leap of faith to believe that.