Video of an interview with Iain McGilchrist focussed on perceiving the sacred hosted by the British Christian think tank, Theos

Mark, you can’t have forgotten this traumatizing thread:

Never read it actually. Weird stuff. Not sure what to make of it.


So this isn’t your standard one mate leaves the other to find themselves modern drama leading to remarriage then. This is death as a regular feature of life on a weekly basis sort of need for remarriage. Weird but only a puzzle for those who expect an afterlife with a continuous existence down to the memories and finger prints and so on. I remain skeptical though tolerant of divergent thinking on that topic.

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What to make of it?
Kendel is right, and got replies on the side from other women, who didn’t have the nerve to scream bloody murder over the insane idea of eternal procreation.
Adam was wrong, and any of the menfolk who agreed with him or minimized the burden of pregnancy and child birth.


Oh so that is where that went. Sadly, I’m sure Adam wasn’t alone in his opinion though.

I would be interested in reading the context of this…im very suspicious of the interpretation by which it appears to suggest such a claim is even relevant in modern Christianity.

We are not under the old testament sacrificial system obviously, however i have never viewed the death of sheep and goats of the old testament as an activity that teaches the preciousness of life.

The Israelites sacrificed because the wages of sin is death. It was meant to teach how much God was willing to give of Himself in order to “save His people from their sins” it wasnt meant to teach us to kill in order to appreciate life. We know that the blood of sheep amd goats does not save us…only a perfect sinless emanuel could do that…its the only thing that proved Lucifers claim against God, before he was cast out of Heaven to this earth, false.

A creator had to be willing to give his own life for his people to show he truly is a loving God. Even secular humans agree there is no greater love than an individual willing to give up life for another. This is very different from welding the sword of death.

Maybe im reading into it something that isnt intended (hence my asking for more context)

For the sake of brevity, I would say I have a relationship with my wife as a particular and perhaps uniquely private love, while I would relate to my fellow humans as participants in the cosmos created by God. That may indicate how I prefer to avoid vast generalities when discussing the relatedness and coherence of being part of God’s creation.

The quote comes from the first chapter of Terry Eagleton’s book Radical Sacrifice. He is a marxist critical theorist. When I last read work by Eagleton (Critical Theory) in the early 1990s I believe he was a typical Marxist atheist at that time. I don’t believe that is the case now, but I can’t find this morning what I had read about that a while back.

I am at the very beginning of Radical Sacrifice where he is giving an overview of the history and meaning of the practice of sacrifice (every form in every societal context). The overview seems to be demonstrating that the concept of and practice of sacrifice is foundational to our contemporary thinking. At this point in the book Eagleton is not talking specifically about the God of the Bible, although he does mention Him.

The quote I chose to use in this thread challenges the notion of “sacred” as the word is used by Iain McGilchrist in his work. I chose it strategically for that purpose. While I see much value in McGilchrist’s work, it’s easy to get stuck in the use of a word - in this case *the sacred - and lose track of its fuller meaning. Eagleton’s connection between blood sacrifice and the sacred is an important reminder that there is more to the concept of “sacred” than feeling connected to God or the transcendent.
I have only just started Eagleton’s book. I can’t tell you more about it, But here is the blurb from Amazon, if it helps:

A trenchant analysis of sacrifice as the foundation of the modern, as well as the ancient, social order

The modern conception of sacrifice is at once cast as a victory of self-discipline over desire and condescended to as destructive and archaic abnegation. But even in the Old Testament, the dual natures of sacrifice, embodying both ritual slaughter and moral rectitude, were at odds. In this analysis, Terry Eagleton makes a compelling argument that the idea of sacrifice has long been misunderstood.

Pursuing the complex lineage of sacrifice in a lyrical discourse, Eagleton focuses on the Old and New Testaments, offering a virtuosic analysis of the crucifixion, while drawing together a host of philosophers, theologians, and texts—from Hegel, Nietzsche, and Derrida to the Aeneid and The Wings of the Dove. Brilliant meditations on death and eros, Shakespeare and St. Paul, irony and hybridity explore the meaning of sacrifice in modernity, casting off misperceptions of barbarity to reconnect the radical idea to politics and revolution.

You can see the Table of Contents (ToC) and a bit about each chapter here.

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I just heard an interesting way to understand the Christian trinity comparing it to understanding what a book is which I wanted to share here. Of course now I can’t find it now. I believe it may have been said by McGilchrist in one of those Role of Consciousness in Nature videos he did for the Essential Foundation. Couldn’t find it in the index for TMWT. @Rob_Brewer any chance you happen to know where that quote comes from. Google didn’t help either. Please don’t waste your time looking. I may listen to those videos again to find it and will post if I do.

Edited to say, never mind. I found it. It is at the end of the first Essential video. I think I’ll start a different thread for it.

Thanks Kendel. I have just purchased the Kindle version and look forward to reading it.

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My extremely deficient explanation of the Trinity is summed up in Family.

God is the family name, and within that family are individuals (if you like) who are, in a perfect world without pain and suffering, in harmony and similarly focused. They understand each other, care for each other, and work to satisfy each others needs and wants.

As another reference to the above, it is often said that identical twins who have never met share similar experiences and goals… apparently its like there is some kind of uncanny connection. To me, this would also illustrate the 3 persons connection with each other in the Trinity.

Its a poor illustration I know, God is so much more than that, however, in our carnal, sinful, human minds, how can we adequitely illustrate something we cannot truly understand?

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Thanks for sharing your take with an ignorant soul.

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I’m liking it. Here is an extended excerpt.


I am having an internal battle, because you use the word ‘pray’. And I wanted to name the thing, which is every thoughtful, intelligent, Christian, I know is reading this book and astonished by it, which I’m sure your publishers will be thrilled to hear because it’s an untapped market.

Nick Cave

Well, if we can get that happening in America…


> I would not be at all surprised, the two–dimensional portrayal of what faith looks like is so tiresome and humiliating for most people of faith, and this feels like something beautiful.

Nick Cave

I’ve never heard it put that way. I love that you said that because it’s the thing that is so difficult for anyone who is reaching towards something that it is so diminished. But every now and then you come across someone who speaks beautifully about these sorts of things, and it’s really, I don’t know… I mean, there are people that I listen to, and I’m staggered by some of the things that they say, but it’s a conversation I’ve really had to look for. It’s a weird fringe.

The true complexity of faith

Yeah. And I want to ask both of you this question, which is, why is it so hard? Why am I so astonished to see tender, honest, beautiful reflection on these deep metaphysical longings with comfort with doubt, but also a real straightforwardly uncynical, yearning for the love of God? And it’s a question really about aesthetics because it may be the thing you said about certitude you know that Emily Dickinson thing of like, tell ‘the whole truth, but tell it slant’, that when we go straight on for things like goodness, or love, or even the thing you said about that lyric “peace will come” how that was an impossible lyric to write before. You know, Marilynne Robinson does it, Flannery O’Connor does it, Graham Greene does it, Rowan Williams’ poems do it, but it is incredibly rare to get art or just voices that seem to reflect the true complexity of the experience of faith and the religious experience and everything gets flattened into kitsch, two–dimensional Instagram cliché, simplicity of which that’s not almost anyone’s lived experience. Just as a kind of someone who thinks a lot about art and creativity, I’d love to hear what you both think about why is that hard? And how do we fix it?

Seán O’Hagan

I think without being accusatory here, but I think Christians do a pretty good job of diminishing it.


Awful, awful ability to communicate it.

Seán O’Hagan

Yeah, and also the more extreme versions of Charismatic Christianity, in America and elsewhere. And it has a baggage for a lot of people, you know.

I sympathize with Elizabeth and every reflective, open minded believer who finds themselves lumped in with those who make Christian faith look like an unrelenting hair shirt. I know you (good) guys are there but why oh why don’t you have any minimum standards? Some degree of vile that gets you booted?

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I almost missed your post; just saw it, when I was reviewing Mark’s.

I don’t do well with metaphors for the Trinity, but this is a really beautiful description.

How is it going with Eagleton?


I’m glad you’re enjoying the interview. I thought it was fantastic. I really enjoyed listening to it again, when I mentioned it the other day.

I am always impressed at your ability to pull out just the right, pithy quote. I am still working my way through the “Getting the Main Idea” workbooks that I never mastered in 6th grade. Sigh.

Those designations and decisions are above the paygrade of a disciple, which is what Christians are. None of us is better than the disciples who lived and ate with Jesus. He said this to those screwed up disciples right before they all left him to the Romans to arrest, torture and mangle to death, and he knew what was coming:

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

The “good ones” are no better than all the screwed up rest that we are part of.

I’m willing to disagree. As I see it, good is better than screwed up.

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Some humor for the thread–

My poor vision today when I glanced at this topic’s heading was blurred on the right side, so I read “Iain McGilchrist focussed on perceiving the sacred host”.

And my first thought was, “Catholic Mass or army of Israel?”