The decision by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor to offer a lecture on the place of faith in the UK is an interesting one. The coverage which follows is even more interesting - IMHO even five years ago such an event would have gone unnoticed by the popular press being regard as an inside event for the faithful. There is much to be encouraged by this on both sides - that the Cardinal should choose to enter the public forum positively ( instead of only being heard to be against things), and that the press should choose to respond and cover it.
I was particularly enamored of the call by the Cardinal for Christians to talk in language suitable for a the secular country - but therein lies what I think is a confusion of language in what he was saying. In his lecture he appears to use the words secular and aetheist interchangeably - there is an important distinction which I am certain he knows - but was not always obvious from what he said.
I was also less than convinced by his argument for fideism - basically that faith is in itself the rationale for God and is not dependent on reason. This links with the call from the Papal Ecumenical spokesman for the Anglican Church to decide whether it is protestant or catholic. It is of course both - and it has always be an essential tenent of anglicanism that faith and reason both direct us to God.
I wonder whether this requires a more careful definition of our deistic terminology which might include this list:
Agnosticism The belief that one lacks the means of knowing whether or not there is a God or many Gods or no deities at all
Anthropotheism The belief that Gods are basically human in nature
Atheism The belief that there is no God
Autotheism The belief that one is oneself divine
Creationism The belief that each human soul is created individually by God or that God created the world in six days
Deism The belief that God created the world but does not act within it
Ditheism The belief in two Gods
Dualism The belief that cosmic history is a battle between the two great powers of divine goodness and malicious evil
Emanationism The belief that all things are outgrowths of, or emanations from God
Fideism The belief that religious faith confirms that there is a God without recourse to reason
Hecastotheism The belief that all objects have sacred power
Henotheism The belief that among several Gods one is supreme
Herotheism The belief in deified men
Kathenotheism The belief that among several Gods one is supreme at a particular time and that different gids can be supreme in succession at other times
Monotheism The belief that there is only one God
Myriotheism The belief that the number of Gods cannot be counted
Panentheism The belief that all things are in God
Pantheism The belief that God is in all things
Polytheism The belief that there are several Gods
Rationalism The belief that human reason is the High Court in which to decide what counts as knowledge (of God) or superstition.
Secularism whether God is God doesn't really matter
Theism The belief that there is a God
Trinitarianism The belief that there are three persons in the one God
Zootheism The belief in animal Gods
Press releases which accompany such events are always revealing for what the speaker intent - so read the official Westminster press release