Find evidence on the web for the debates that have circulated about Patrick White’s religious belief. Does he have any?
I think no one can deny that Patrick White has a relationship with religious belief. Whether it is a lack of or an actual belief in God is where the debate begins. White includes the idea of faith, God and religion in almost every work whether it is present in imagery, analogies, references or a character’s existential angst, White always alludes to the presence of God. This is evident in Stan Parkers Character and primitively seen at the end of ‘The Tree of Man’ when a preacher is trying to convince Stan to rejoice in God. This most definitely says something of White as a writer.
Journalist Greg Clarke argues that religion is very close to the core of White’s writing. He gives an example where White wrote in a letter, “At one point in my life I stood and cursed God, to realise I had faith in what I was cursing.” This supports critics idea that White had faith in being against God, more so being an atheist. Overall Clarke describes White’s relationship with God as an unprofessed faith, which I believe is a rather accurate statement as no one really knows for sure how White felt about God. More of this idea is available at:
Another view on this topic comes from Karin Hansson as she said, he was definitely not religious, but an existential explorer. He writes about humans and how they live in an ordinary world, to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, and so when it came down to in, White found that it was this religious umbrella of angst that was worrying everyday people. He expressed these ideas of God, religion and faith because they are the heart of peoples lives and what where all questions, as well as answers, lead to. More on this view is available at:
Overall, critics and readers of Patrick White’s works will always make different evaluations on the religious aspect based on their own beliefs and context.