Surfing on the Sea of Faith
The Ethics & Religion of Don Cupitt
by Nigel Leaves
What kind of ethics and religion are possible without belief in an objective, realist God? In Surfing on the Sea of Faith, Nigel Leaves explores Don Cupitt’s answer to this question. Leaves argues that Cupitt’s solar personal ethics and humanitarian social ethics affirm a way of living both for ourselves and others. He then turns to the question, “What kind of Christianity is possible after God?” and explores the development of Cupitt’s thought about what the religion of the future might be.
Don Cupitt is the former Dean of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was born in 1934 at Oldham, England, and educated at Charterhouse and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he studied Natural Sciences, Theology and the Philosophy of Religion. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1959. From 1962-1965, he was Vice-Principal of Westcott House, an Anglican theological college in Cambridge, and became Dean of Emmanuel College in 1966. From 1968 to 1996 he also lectured in the Cambridge Faculty of Divinity. He is best known as a teacher and writer. He is often described as a “radical theologian,” or as “a liberal religious thinker.” Philosophically, he is a stalwart non-realist. A frequent broadcaster, mainly for the BBC, he has made three TV Series, one of which, “The Sea of Faith,” (1984), also gave rise to a book and to an international network of radical Christians which is still growing. In his writing, and in the various societies he has tried to foster, Don Cupitt attempts to develop new thinking for a new epoch: a new philosophy, a new ethics, and a new religious thought.
Nigel Leaves is based in Brisbane, Australia. He is on the staff of St Francis Theological College and Canon of St John’s Anglican Cathedral where he is responsible for adult theological education. He is Academic Associate of Charles Sturt University, teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Nigel is passionate about bridging the gap between what is taught in the Academy and preached in the churches. He is concerned that theology should be both honest and appropriate to the cultural situation in which it is situated. He is fearful that truthful “God-talk” has been sidelined from ordinary conversation and enjoins theologians to be more creative in their engagement with postodernity. Nigel is a highly regarded as a conference speaker and educator; and has lectured extensively in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.