Barrigar at McMaster: God, Materialism, & Ultimate Meaning

In by Mark McEwan1 Comment

Event Details

CSCA presents a lecture by Chris Barrigar (Ph.D. Philosophy, McGill) at McMaster Divinity College.


“God and the Recovery of Ultimate Meaning in a Materialist Age”

Location: Hurlburt Hall (Room 136), McMaster Divinity College
With Refreshments!

This lecture focuses on the meaning of life, which is the principle theme of Barrigar’s new book, Freedom All The Way Up: God and the Meaning of Life in a Scientific Age. Chris contends that there are two principle elements to the meaning of life, purpose and self-worth, along with two collateral elements, identity and hope. Materialism (atheism) has evicted God from the meaning of the universe and of life, and so has evicted ‘ultimate meaning’ from each of the four elements of meaning. Instead, Materialism offers either nihilism (‘Life in general, or my life in particular, has no meaning’) or constructivism (‘Each person has to construct their own meaning for their life’). Chris argues that Materialism, even in its most positive, humanist-constructivist forms, subliminally (or not so subliminally) introduces nihilism into each of the four elements of meaning; consequently, nihilism turns out to be a much greater problem for Materialism than suffering is for Theism. In contrast, God’s purpose for the universe (to bring about the existence of agape-capable beings in relationships of agape-love with God and others), along with God’s act of incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth, infuses all four elements (self-worth, purpose, identity, and hope) with ultimate meaning, re-shapes our self-constructions through agape-love, and thereby dispels Materialism’s essential nihilism.

Barrigar book photoChris Barrigar is Pastor of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Montreal, Canada. He has a Bachelor’s degree and two Master’s degrees from the University of Toronto, covering a range of fields in the humanities and social sciences, with some maths in there too; and he has a PhD in philosophy from McGill University, Montreal. Prior to pastoring Chris taught and/or supervised at the graduate level for a number of Canadian, Indian, and British institutions. He is a member of the Canadian Society of Christian Philosophers, and the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science. Chris also serves as Convenor of the Christian Faculty Fellowship at McGill University.


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