Respected social researcher Hugh Mackay, who has recently turned his attention to our search for meaning beyond the everyday, is speaking in Byron Bay tonight.
Around two-thirds of us say we believe in god or some ‘higher power’, but fewer than one in ten Australians attend church weekly.
In his new book Beyond Belief, Hugh Mackay presents this discrepancy as one of the great unexamined topics of our time.
He draws on research suggesting that our quest for a meaningful life depends on believing in something ‘greater than ourselves’ and explores what that ‘something’ might be for today’s Australians.
He argues that while our attachment to a traditional idea of god may be waning, our desire for a life of meaning remains as strong as ever.
Mackay has interviewed dozens of Australians representing many different points on the spectrum of faith, including some who are part of the emerging ‘spiritual but not religious’ movement. He exposes the deep vein of ambivalence about religion that runs through our society: we may not actively worship, but we still like to see local churches operating in our midst, and we use ‘our’ church to marry, christen our babies, educate our children and commemorate our dead. He points out some uncomfortable truths, such as our tendency to call on god only in a crisis, and unpacks our human need for ‘answers’, even when science can’t find them. He endorses the christian ideal of the good life – a life lived for others – but acknowledges that there are many pathways to that same goal, not all of them religious.
Hugh Mackay – Beyond Belief, presented by Byron Writers Festival
When: Monday 30 May, 6:00 – 7.30pm
Where: Byron Theatre 69 Jonson St Byron Bay.
Tickets $25 Adults / $18 Under 30’s / $15 Members available online.