Face to Face with...John Waters

How we became too clever for God and our own good

Presented by Crossroads Cultural Center and DePaul University Irish Studies Program

Irish Times columnist and renowned social commentator John WATERS discusses his book Beyond Consolation: How we became too clever for God and our own good , in which he explores the modern culture’s sabotage of hope in the name of a mis-defined freedom.

In the late spring of 2008 the acclaimed Irish writer Nuala O' Faolain went on a national Irish radio program to tell the Irish people that she was dying of cancer. She was frightened of death and of the short time left to her.

She went right to the heart of the modern attitude to God, to hope, to life and death. Here was a spokesperson for a generation which now conjured up an abyss for itself, reviewing a culture she had inhabited and helped to create one last time. She believed neither in an afterlife nor in God. This abyss, argues John Waters, is created by pursuing the failed hypothesis that humankind can live without God. The despair she expressed is the despair of a generation which believed it could create a utopia of reason, free of the encumberments of tradition and the dread of the absolute. With Nuala O' Faolain's broadcast as his point of departure, Waters examines this trajectory of Irish Culture to this point of despair. How reasonable is it to believe in nothing?

He explores a new language to excavate the journey of Irish society from what appeared to be profound in its traditional faith to this moment of what might easily have been taken as a moment of nihilistic clarity. What modern men and women suffer from in modern culture is the lack of an idea of the infinite and the eternal. Secularization, he argues, is completely meaningless as a term to describe what has happened to them. Taking up the theme of his previous best selling book "Lapsed Agnostic", Waters explores the process by which the hope of a society was sabotaged and plundered in the name of a mis-defined freedom and a utopia of the now.

About this Event

Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Location: DePaul University
Schmitt Academic Center, Room 161
2320 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL

About the Speaker

John Waters
Journalist for The Irish Times, author and playwright


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