Religion and the Mystery of Existence


  • John Cottingham Heythrop College, University of London & University of Reading



This paper questions the idea that theism can function as an explanatory hypothesis to account for the nature and origins of the cosmos. Invoking God cannot dissolve the mystery of existence, and the characteristic religious response here is one of awe and humility. I then address David E. Cooper’s challenge of showing how a ‘doctrine of mystery’ can have any discursible content. It is argued that certain aspects of our human experience (of the wonders of nature and art and the demands of morality) afford us glimpses of the divine nature – intimations of the transcendent, which shine through from the ineffable source of our being to the human world we inhabit.




How to Cite

Cottingham, John. 2012. “Religion and the Mystery of Existence”. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (3):15-31.