Hugh MacKay [book about religion; Beyond Belief]

Hugh MacKay [book about religion; Beyond Belief]

– very sympathetic to the Christian faith
– if you can’t prove something, then you can’t disprove it – so why discuss it
– he believes “the dark stuff emanates from belief”
– super-confidence & arrogance v’s doubt & humility
– he discusses arguments about beliefs (which cannot be resolved) within religions/faiths
– he notes how even Buddhism has sub-groups which are “at each other’s throats”
– super-natural being has lost it’s grip on humanity – God is dead [Nietzsche)
– spirit of loving kindness that transforms humanity
– the theatre of faith – immersive experience
– a community that can embrace us – a community of like-minded people
– he discusses “the other” & the importance/the need of “an enemy within” in modern politics
– MACKAY believes hate is the dark stuff of humanity which also produces the strongest emotional response
– altruism/tolerance – Peter Singer – we are wired for this (compassion & cooperation) as much as aggression [Mackay believes research shows aggression & competitiveness is learnt]
– he believes cooperation is fundamental tot the survival of the species
– he believes altruism comes naturally to a person – to cooperate within a tribe (we gain the intense sense of identity & emotional security)
– he discusses declining disrespect for our institutions, corporations & commercial/corporate sport [he believes the exception to this is the military]
– most humans look for alternatives to re-engage with (citing book club meetings)
– he believes dark passages in our lives & societies teach us important lessons
– he believes we also live in an age where society has witnessed corruption in the corporate world
– he believes expectations are generally excessive today, & he believes this inevitably leads to disenchantment
– he does not use Facebook while acknowledging its importance to many despite the de-personalised contact it offers
– he likens it to “driving” & road rage – like being in a bubble
– he believes the anonymity of it is antithetical to human nature
– when together, we think of others; when apart we humans “rant”
– he discusses how the distinction between public & private is “under threat”
– we live in the age of algorithms – everything is aggregated, analysed & known
– data sharing | the journey of data to knowledge to wisdom – still takes time despite the modern-world thirst for speed & instantaneousness (he acknowledges T.S. ELLIOT)
– discusses FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
– they discuss awareness (& fear) of death & the dread of annihilation drives all human activity
– stay busy, & stay connected – a way of warding off death – to keep busy, active, buying etc., (the treadmill)
– they discuss how people now believe they can delay death endlessly
– how technology can be integrated with us to make us “God”
– they discuss how humans believe themselves to be important (McKay says only to ourselves & to others)
– McKay – he says never ask: what is the meaning of life?
– he believes it is a pointless question
– he believes life is about trying to extract our own meaning from life, while acknowledging he has no cosmic consequence whatsoever.

Source: Late Night Live: ABC RN | broadcast date: 31 Jan 2017


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