Our first TEDxGhentSalon of the season was sold out. The theme “Religion for atheists” raised curiosity with both young and older.
The group, 25 people, was too large to enable an all-round get to know each other. So via a game, we got a first impression on who was who in smaller groups. Note: the first winner of the evening was Yannick, our financial guy!
After sketching the program of the evening, we dived right into two interesting talks around the theme of religion. Firstly, we watched philosopher Alain de Botton who suggested we construct an “Atheism 2.0”. He argued that we can respectfully steal elements from religions to enrich our current lives. As we all know, a lot of people are looking for connection & a sense of belonging. He explained that we can learn from religions and adapt these lessons to fit into our modern search of humans’ needs.
Onwards then to Jonathan Haidt, evolutionary psychologist, who elaborated on the theme of self-transcendence in his talk. He offered the metaphor of a staircase in the mind to enhance the understanding of this complex subject. He suggested that humans might have an evolutionary need for self-transcendence. Quite interesting!
After a short break – first drink on the house! – we were given excerpts from the talks. We were then asked to categorize them on different pages, such as “This moved me”, “I agree”, “I’d like to discuss around this topic”, “I don’t agree”, etc. This started a first debate in the large group.
However, to enable everyone to exchange thoughts and ideas, we split up in smaller groups around one excerpt. Time flew by so quickly that we hardly had room left for an in-depth discussion of the quotes. Nevertheless, the audience was triggered and will come back for more. And … while we’re on the subject, why don’t you drop by for our next TEDxGhentSalon about privacy?