Do you often have thoughts about the “meaning of life” or  … stuff?

You might enjoy our monthly Philosophers’ Lunches where we simply ‘go’ where all our minds lead… brace yourselves.. who knows where that may be!?

The 3rd Sunday of each month at 12:15pm at BUC.

Since it is also ‘lunch’, please BYO lunch – including if you would like to share – also BYO drinks, although we will have coffee/tea/water available… along with wine glasses.

Philosopher’s Lunch 17th May 2020

Join us on Sunday 17th of May at 12.15pm via ZOOM for a time of philosophical and theological reflection about the deeper questions of life.

Bruce Marriott has suggested a topic certain to engage our attention:

“Reconciliation in the context of Australia”
Click here (Philosophers Lunch 17May20) for attached document for reading and reflection prior to Sunday’s Zoom meeting)

Please join us at this time as per the following ZOOM link:-

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 816 7568 2647
Password: 916310

PS: If anyone would like to be added to the email reminder for this event, please advise Michael Dowling.

See you then!

Here’s a ‘report’ from our July 2019 meeting; it will give you an idea of what we get ‘into’…

Hi Everyone,

Today, at our second Philosophers’ Lunch, we had a stimulating and energising series of conversations on many subjects, including the role and origin of intuition, the future of democracy, the tension between discipline and freedom, the power of drawing a clear distinction between ‘the problem’ and the person, and the implications and potentialities of the so-called ‘Modular Theory of the Mind.’

Several possible future topics were ‘thrown in the hat’ for consideration, including…

Heaven: On the nature of Life and Death

The Future of Democracy
(idea sparked by Weekend Australian 20th July Paul Kelly article referencing the thoughts of social psychologist Jonathon Haidt)

Ageing, Old Age, and Meaning and Purpose across the Lifespan

The Contrast between Discipline and Freedom
(idea sparked by reading ‘The Story Book’ about the discipline shown by Muslim women within Australian culture)

How to Reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament
(and its implications for how we approach diversity)

Current Events in the Life of the (Uniting?) Church
(The divisiveness associated with the formation of the new presbyteries. Attitudes to female leadership. Attitudes to diversity)

Recurring Themes: Prejudice, Diversity

Certainty versus Doubt

Human Nature as it presently is: Is this as good as it gets?

That lot should keep us going for a while, with new and improved thought bubbles sure to join their ranks!

And, should our topic list dwindle to dangerously low levels, we could always fall back to watching selected offering(s) from one of a couple of ‘Great Courses’ lecture series…

“Thinking about Religion and Violence”
(has been purchased as a DVD, with course guidebook; in BUC library)


“The Big Questions of Philosophy”

I’ve appended the full lecture list at the end of this post for reference value.


GREAT COURSES lecture courses potentially of interest…

“Thinking about Religion and Violence”
(has been purchased as a DVD, with course guidebook; in BUC library)


1. Religion and Violence: A Strange Nexus
2. Defining Religion and Violence
3. Violence in Sacred Texts
4. Martyrdom, Sacrifice, and Self-Harm
5. Scapegoating and Demonology
6. Understanding Witch Trials
7. The Apocalyptic Outlook
8. Racial Violence and Religio
9. Religion and Violence against Women
10. Sexuality, Morality, and Punishment
11. Heresies and Their Suppression
12. Religion and Just War Theory
13. Peace as a Religious Ideal
14. War Gods and Holy War
15. Religious Violence in Israel
16. Religious Violence in India
17. Religion’s Relationship with Slavery
18. Native Americans and Religious Violence
19. Violence and “Cults”
20. Anti-Catholicism in Europe and America
21. The Persistence of Anti-Semitism
22. Islam, Violence, and Islamophobia
23. Religion and Terrorism
24. What We Can Do About Religious Violence


“The Big Questions of Philosophy”


1. How Do We Do Philosophy?
2. Why Should We Trust Reason?
3. How Do We Reason Carefully?
4. How Do We Find the Best Explanation?
5. What Is Truth?
6. Is Knowledge Possible?
7. What Is the Best Way to Gain Knowledge?
8. Do We Know What Knowledge Is?
9. When Can We Trust Testimony?
10. Can Mystical Experience Justify Belief?
11. Is Faith Ever Rational?
12. Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?
13. What Is God Like?
14. How Could God Allow Moral Evil?
15. Why Would God Cause Natural Evil?
16. Are Freedom and Foreknowledge Compatible?
17. Do Our Souls Make Us Free?
18. What Does It Mean to Be Free?
19. What Preserves Personal Identity?
20. Are Persons Mere Minds?
21. Are Persons Just Bodies?
22. Are You Really You?
23. How Does the Brain Produce the Mind?
24. What Do Minds Do, If Anything?

All the best,
Michael Dowling
Minister, Blackwood Uniting Church