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The Iona Blog

John Waters on ‘Ireland and the Abolition of God’

Author: Tom O'Gorman
Date: 14th December 2012


On Wednesday, columnist and author John Waters spoke to a packed meeting of the Iona Institute on the subject of ‘Ireland and the Abolition of God’.

John said that Irish culture has created a situation in which it is impermissable to speak about God or transcendental truths in public..

He quoted Pope Benedict who has talked about a “bunker” in which man has trapped himself in order to shut out God. Only what is measurable and quantifiable can be discussed and believed in..

This had resulted, said John, in the almost imperceptible eclipse of faith in the mainstream of Irish society, an eclipse which has left many Irish people disorientated.

He said that one of the biggest problems with this “bunker” is that people don’t know they’re in it, and that the first step in addressing the problem was to make it visible.

The bunker, he said, renders discussion of the mysterious, of “humanity at its deepest level” impermissible. All that is allowed is discussion of people as voters, as taxpayers or workers.

He said that there is a need to confront this and challenge it.

For example, he said there is a need to talk about the term ‘family values’ in a way that explains more fully what those values are where they come from.  

Family values, he said, “are those values which derive from the blood link, the biological link between parents and children. So therefore it is a given, these things are given to us by whatever we want to call God”.

You can watch the whole talk here and the Q and A session afterwards here.

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