Who Will Save Us Now? Searching for Meaning in an Age of Unbelief

An exclusive lecture by John Carroll

John Carroll

If the modern West is both statistically and culturally no longer Christian, who will save us now? What remains? Are we still searching for meaning in an age of unbelief?

To help explore the psyche of the post-Christian West, the Ramsay Centre is pleased to present our sixth Ramsay Lecture for 2023, Professor John Carroll on Who Will Save Us Now? Searching for Meaning in an Age of Unbelief.

According to Professor Carroll, people in the Western tradition are, by their nature, saviour seeking and this ‘saviour syndrome’ impels people to find someone, or some equivalent, to show the way to a better life, and counter the quintessentially modern ordeal of unbelief.

Drawing on examples from literature, history and popular culture, Professor Carroll argues that people in the West are constantly investing those around them with exemplary or transcendent qualities, with some seeking a form of enchantment to bring grace into their lives. Although in the modern West the figure of Christ may appear to be obsolete for many (though of course far from it for many others), the archetype of Christ the Saviour continues to resonate and a yearning for a saviour continues to manifest itself.

Please join us for this thought-provoking lecture with Professor John Carroll.

John Carroll

John Carroll is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and a Senior Fellow of Yale University. He has degrees in mathematics, economics and sociology from the universities of Melbourne and Cambridge. His work focuses on culture, and its crucial role in the human search for meaning, with particular reference to the modern Western society.

His recent books include The Western Dreaming (2001), The Wreck of Western Culture—Humanism Revisited (2004), The Existential Jesus (2007), Ego and Soul—the Modern West in Search of Meaning (2008), Greek Pilgrimage—In Search of the Foundations of the West (2010), Land of the Golden Cities, Australia’s Exceptional Prosperity & the Culture that Made It (2017), and On Guilt, the Force Shaping Character, History, and Culture (2020). John Carroll is also a frequent writer of essays and newspaper articles. He delivered one of the Alfred Deakin Federation Lectures in 2001—a reflection on Australian culture titled ‘The Blessed Country’. He chaired the Panel reviewing the National Museum of Australia in 2003.

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