4 thoughts on “Rev Dr Dr Prof David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College Durham

  1. HM the Q has been a loyal, pious, old-fashioned Anglican all her life, although her precise doctrinal views, if any, don’t seem to be on record. (Prince Philip, by contrast, seems to have been endlessly fascinated by religion, and to have owned hundreds of books on all varieties of superstition. Must have made Sunday lunch at Balmoral a bundle of laughs).

    Brian seems more serious about faith than Brenda, but also fuzzier. Years ago he said that when he became King he wanted to be known as “Defender of Faith” rather than of “the Faith”. Good luck with that.

    Young William, by contrast, at the precocious age of only 39, seems not to have expressed any profound faith-based opinions at all. When he becomes King, if the institution is still going by then, he might have very different views about what he is there for. Is it too much to hope that one day we might have a Defender of Reason on the throne?


  2. Years ago he said that when he became King he wanted to be known as “Defender of Faith” rather than of “the Faith”.

    It’s always puzzled me, that. What needs defending, and how do you go about it? If there is a specific set of beliefs that, for reasons of totalitarianism, you wish everybody to have, then fine. I mean, not fine, but at least that makes some sort of sense. You have a philosophy, it isn’t strong enough to stand up for itself, so you have to “defend” it in some way.

    But “faiths” – what does that possibly exclude? Is he defending scientology? Salafism? American Exceptionalism? All these are faiths, without any doubt. Then what about other things people believe entirely through faith? Astrology? Homeopathy? Tarot?

    All in all, I reckon he’s going to be quite busy, not least because defending ideas that are diametrically opposed requires a special sort of skill.


  3. I thought Wilkinson ran out of steam half way through once he had said all that you can about the Queen being religious and a nice person, which of course is very little. Of course, none of us knows her real views are on anything except for the usually TFTD-ish Christmas messages which are a bit Young Mr Grace – “You’ve all done very well!”
    Stephen JP makes a good point about Young William – has he ever said anything about his faith or lack of faith? Maybe he’s read a passage from the bible occasionally in public but even I’ve done that at a funeral. I’ve been telling people for ages that he is an atheist and just waiting for his Gran to die before he let’s us all know his real feelings. Wouldn’t it be great? What would they do for a Coronation if he refused to swear the oath that Elizabeth did in 1953 –
    “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them.”
    We can but hope that he doesn’t want to.


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