Letter: 1m pounds for theology is beyond belief

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was a doubter until I read Susan Howatch's letter (23 March) but now I believe] Look what theology has done for her: '(it) revolutionised my life, sharpened my intellect, expanded my horizons, integrated my personality and gave me a happiness that has endured'. All this without losing a single cliche.

The lady gives pounds 1m for a lectureship in theology, which doesn't work, rather than to science, which does. Admittedly, Mrs Howatch thinks theology does work. As it does in Bosnia, Somalia, the United States, England, the Sudan, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and others. Theology, as interpreted by ayatollahs, accounts for the fatwa on Salman Rushdie. The IRA uses theology, among other methods, in its unique way of winning friends.

Let Mrs Howatch tell the children in Somalia what she has done with her million. Visualise them jumping up and down with joy, providing they have the energy, and crying, 'Oh, goody] A lectureship in theology] Better than food any day.'

A scientist offers a proposition. Nobody takes his word. Scientists over the world test his proposition. If it works, an advance in knowledge has been made. If not, it is put aside and he starts again. And theology? It has just got around to recognising Galileo.

My arguments won't move Susan Howatch. I feel like the dyslexic atheist who had a breakdown trying to prove the non-existence of Dog.

Yours faithfully,


London, NW1