How do you know God exists?

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and newly installed head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols have taken part in a new Channel 4 programme in which leading religious figures in Britain explain the basic tenets of their faith and specifically how they know that God exists.

|PIC1|The leader of the Church of England, Dr Williams explains: “I think I’d prefer to talk about being confident that God exists, or trusting that God exists. It’s not knowing as you know a state of affairs in the world, it’s much more of a sense that you’re in the presence of something greater than you can conceive.

“I suppose from my teens I have just been aware of that something greater than I can put words to in whose presence I live.”

During the programme when asked about life after death, he said: “All we really know about the after-life is that God has promised to be there.”

About hell, he replied: “My concept of hell, I suppose, is being stuck with myself for ever and with no way out. Whether anybody ever gets to that point I have no idea. But that it’s possible to be stuck with my selfish little ego for all eternity, that’s what I would regard as hell.”

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, also honestly explains in the programme that he suffered various doubts about his faith when younger. He said, “I do remember very vividly standing amid a crowd of probably 50,000 people at Anfield one particular Saturday afternoon and just kind of calling out to God, ‘just leave me alone, let me be one in the crowd and I do not want this’.”

Archbishop Nichols was also directly asked why the Roman Catholic Church prohibits contraception, especially in countries where disease and poverty are prevalent. He explained, “I think I would want to say condoms don’t lack their advocates. There are plenty of people who are doing that. I don’t know, but my impressions is that they are well available in places. I think the deeper point that the Church wants to make is to keep sexuality as profoundly human.”

The key figures interviewed on the programme are the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, Muslim theologian Tariq Ramadan, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Swami Pramtattvadas.

The Channel 4 programme ‘How do you know God exists?’ will be aired on Sunday 16 August at 7pm.