There is little that gives philosophy and philosophers more of a bad name than the over-intellectualising of the religious apologists. If Madeleine Bunting seriously believes that the millions of practising Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. base their belief on 'faith through practice' then she really is too far removed from reality.
Why is it that the philosophers and commentators who defend religion use straight forward 'plain speaking' reason in virtually every other part of their life, except when it comes to the argument they are losing? This 'faith through practice' hypothesis, much like the intelligent design theories, is little more than intellectual succour for an argument they have lost. I don't believe for a moment that if they could use common sense, rational, evidential arguments in support of their beliefs that they wouldn't advance them before this sort of weasel worded nonsense.
Of course, almost all believers would accept that God as an 'old man with a white beard' is bit of a ridiculous notion, but surely that doesn't mean the vast majority of religious adherents don't still worship God as (broadly) an all powerful, all seeing, caring, vengeful being. The faith of these people has next to nothing to do with 'belief through practice', still less to do with intelligent design, or the borders between belief and non-belief. They don't use these notions, neither do their priests, nor is it the basis of any part of their faith.
I'm sure that someone will say I'm missing their point. But my counter would be that it is the likes of Bunting and Swinburne who are missing the real point. If Madeleine Bunting wants to spend her time thinking about such intellectual intricacies I guess that's her choice, but frankly, who cares - the general church going public certainly don't. To use my most basic of tests; if anyone thinks my Mum (and millions like her round the world) is motivated to go to church each Sunday because of this sort of shifty intellectualising, then they have seriously lost the plot.