TASK: From the film in which David Marr is interviewed about Patrick White’s beliefs, summarize briefly what you think Patrick White’s religious position is.
I think of Patrick White’s religious position as spiritual but not religious. A Christian when he was young, he later strayed from Christianity and became disenfranchised by the institution of church. Marr describes White as searching for “a meaning in the world”, “a meaning conducted by an artist”. He was trying to make sense of the world around him.
He wasn’t exactly sure what he himself was or what he identified as because he was one of everything under the sun at some point in his life. However, he believed in a God that explained the existence of the world he lived in. He just didn’t like how religion was presented and portrayed in society. White also believed in a pursuit of purity, which underlined a lot of White’s works. Marr interprets this purity as “moral purity, a purity of life, a purity of work and a purity of spirit”. Marr also says that White liked some aspects of Christianity especially forgiveness and grace but he also deeply opposed other aspects of Christianity, mainly Chrstianity’s view of homosexuality, as White was a homosexual himself.
Same people may dismiss Patrick White as any kind of Christian but I disagree. Yes, he didn’t necessarily believe in church, priests, cardinals, ministers or really anything associated with the institution of religion but he did have a faith in a higher being, in something greater than ourselves. I don’t believe he ever really lost faith in the notion of God.