Buxton is in fact more or less quoting from Rowan Williams' Dimbleby Lecture in which Williams claims that only a religious tradition makes "possible a real questioning of the immediate agenda of a society, the choices that are defined and managed for you by the market." Buxton would have us believe only the religious ever really question our shallow commercial culture. They alone are the "free thinkers".
As an atheist philosopher who has spent half a lifetime asking such questions as whether there’s a God, whether life has meaning, what makes things right and wrong, whether there may be life after death, and whether there is anything beyond the material, I find it surprising that Buxton and the Archbishop would pretend that it’s only from the perspective of a religious tradition that such questions ever get asked.
The great religious traditions do not have a monopoly on addressing the most fundamental and challenging issues. They share that honour with the secular, philosophical tradition (which is, of course, also older than the Christian tradition).
And one advantage of a more philosophical approach to such questions (which certainly doesn’t rule out religious answers, of course) is that it doesn’t prejudge the issue. Rather than approaching such questions in a genuinely critical, open-minded way, religious enquirers have often already made up their minds: they’ve already decided that only a religious answer will do. In the hands of the faithful, questions like “What is the meaning of life?” may be asked, not in the spirit of sincere, open-minded enquiry, but merely as the opening gambit in an attempt to recruit more true believers.
Perhaps we need more philosophy, not more religion.