Which is a title sufficiently conceited to put anyone off reading this post. But let’s face it – it’sa not uncommon attitude. It lies at the heart of individualism, that pervasiveness western sickness that lies at the root of so many of our ills. It was the title I had in our current series, Great Lies of Our Time (I’m assured that the talks were not allotted because of some particular problem that needed addressing in each speaker – but who can say for sure?).

You can now download the talk here.

The talk was in 2 parts – and the real treat was the chance during the break  to hear a brand new song written for the occasion (with only 4 days notice!!) by Paul Enns. I’m pleased to say that he has agreed for it to go out on the audio of the talk. So that’s an extra reason for downloading! You will find that from 17:50.

My aim was to tackle something of the motivations for believing in a godless universe together with the tragic consequences of doing so for our sense of human identity and dignity. This meant drawing on all kinds of voices, like those of Ayn Rand and her critics like Christopher Hitchens and Gore Vidal, Cheryl Cole as the face of L’Oreal, Camus and Freud. We then turned to the double whammy of Psalm 8 and Mark 8 to make some sort of sense of it all.

Here are the slides from the keynote presentation.

Then here are the two video clips I used.

The first is the Howard Roark (played by the legendary Gary Cooper) defence speech in Ayn Rand’s screenplay of The Fountainhead. It is an articulate (if scary) explanation of Individualism.

Then here is the opening sequence of the film Contact, which puts those extraordinary words of Psalm 8 into some perspective.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. FC

    The concept of high God esteem was really interesting. I’ve never heard it explained like that before. A really good talk! Liked the song too.

  2. mensrifleassociation

    course God would describe himself exactly like the guy in the first clip.

    1. quaesitor

      well, some gods might. but the god of the cross certainly wouldn’t…

      1. mensrifleassociation

        lol. are you kidding? watch it again from 5:52 onwards.

        he designed the building, then he dynamited it – i made it, you fucked with it, i destroyed it.

        no one has a right to one minute of my life, nor to any of my energy or any achievement of mine.

        how can you not see this?

        1. quaesitor

          sure, I understand what you’re getting at – but the heart of the NT message is a God who sacrifices himself out of love is the absolute antithesis of Roark who says he will sacrifice himself for no one and no thing

  3. Nancy

    Thank you!

  4. Brigid of Kildare

    Thank you for your contribution for this excellent serie; just finished part 4 of it – waiting for the rest to come ! And thank you also for the slides and other material of your talk, do you think there will be a possibility to get the visual stuff of the others as well?

    1. quaesitor

      fraid i don’t have the others’ slides (and one or two weren’t so visual.
      But the good news is that there is a (very vague and slight) chance that we’ll be turning it into a book… but don’t hold your breath!

      1. Brigid of Kildare

        I won’t – in fact we will take ‘An inside look at Christmas’ and join in your church’s Advent Carols – sub conditione jacobi, of course.

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