Letter: Those meaningful - and elusive - questions about the existence of God

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Sir: Your cartoon of 2 August showing God receiving treatment on the psychiatrist's couch, and Bryan Appleyard's article 'Give us faith, in something' (3 August) require a response.

It is logically possible that the current Sea of Faith school is asking the wrong questions about God and human existence. The question 'Does God really exist?' is meaningful both within and without the confines of specific religious discourse.

It is immaterial that one cannot prove that God does really exist since no one can claim to have discovered finally or absolutely what really does exist, as philosophers and scientists adopt different criteria for the use of the word 'real'. Questions such as 'do physical objects really exist?'; 'what is the criterion of moral obligation?'; are just as elusive to a final affirmative answer as 'does God really exist?'.

Traditionalists need not apologise for their belief in the God who enters our human nature and redeems it. God is not on the way out, as Appleyard suggests. Wittgenstein, in typical concise style, said: 'The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.'

Don Cupitt's Sea of Faith disciples need to extend themselves further. What they leave us with is, in the poet's word (R. S. Thomas 'Synopsis'): 'The beast that rages through history; that presides smiling at the councils of the positivists.' I prefer God is in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.

Yours sincerely,


Saint Fillan's Rectory



3 August