This month’s Socrates Café delivered virtually via Zoom from the Allentown Public Library covered the question, “How do we reconcile faith with uncertainty?”
But before I get into that, I should mention the three additional options submitted by our participants for consideration.
- “What are our obligations toward animals of other species?” That is—the non-humans among us.
- In considering Keats’ 1819 Ode on a Grecian Urn which ends thusly: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know,” one patron posed the question, “Is beauty truth or is truth beauty?”
- And alternatively another offered, “Life is motion, action, choices and changes, while ‘not life’ is faith and belief. How would you explain your thoughts [on this]?”
As always, we put the options offered to a vote and landed unanimously upon: “How do we reconcile faith with uncertainty?”
This question brought up for one person still another question, “Is faith the same as trust?”
The phenomenon of coming up with additional questions in pursuit of the answer to the original, when considering life’s philosophical dilemmas, happens often as each of us hear other points of view and mull over what they mean for ourselves.
Another participant suggested that faith is the giving of your power to an entity, government, person, agency (or some higher power, be it God, Allah, the Universe, Mother Earth.) You get the idea.
Someone else suggested that navigating uncertainty begins with our parents as we put faith in them to guide us. He shared an anecdote about his young son reaching for a hot flame on the stove and repeatedly being told in no uncertain terms, “No!” and “Hot!” until the son learned the lesson on his own that a burn, even a brief one, hurts and more importantly that one can have faith in such a parent.
“After all,” another said, “we don’t choose our parents.”
I suggested that there are people who believe that we do choose our parents each time our souls enter this world in order to learn certain lessons. But, that of course brings up more questions about reincarnation, the existence of God, what constitutes good parenting and more.
So how do you think we reconcile faith with uncertainty?
Join us for the next Socrates Café which meets on Zoom every first and third Wednesday of the month at 10:30 AM. Bring a question.
Learn more about The Philosophy of Socrates Cafes in this interview of author Christopher Phillips by Margot Adler on the Weekend Edition on NPR.