The Certainty of Uncertainty: The Way of Inescapable Doubt and Its Virtue

The Certainty of Uncertainty: The Way of Inescapable Doubt and Its Virtue

by Mark Schaefer
The Certainty of Uncertainty: The Way of Inescapable Doubt and Its Virtue

The Certainty of Uncertainty: The Way of Inescapable Doubt and Its Virtue

by Mark Schaefer

Paperback

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Overview

The world is full of people who are very certain--in politics, in religion, in all manner of things. In addition, political, religious, and social organizations are marketing certainty as a cure all to all life's problems. But is such certainty possible? Or even good? The Certainty of Uncertainty explores the question of certainty by looking at the reasons human beings crave certainty and the religious responses we frequently fashion to help meet that need. The book takes an in-depth view of religion, language, our senses, our science, and our world to explore the inescapable uncertainties they reveal. We find that the certainty we crave does not exist. As we reflect on the unavoidable uncertainties in our world, we come to understand that letting go of certainty is not only necessary, it's beneficial. For, in embracing doubt and uncertainty, we find a more meaningful and courageous religious faith, a deeper encounter with mystery, and a way to build strong relationships across religious and philosophical lines. In The Certainty of Uncertainty, we see that embracing our belief systems with humility and uncertainty can be transformative for ourselves and for our world. ""In this important book, Mark Schaefer demonstrates that we cannot be certain about anything that matters. And yet, through metaphor we are drawn toward deeper understanding of both religious and scientific reality. Schaefer demonstrates broad knowledge, great insight, and humility in a book that will help overcome the unfounded fanaticisms of our age. I hope it will be widely recognized and read."" --J. Philip Wogaman, Wesley Theological Seminary Mark Schaefer is the University Chaplain at American University (AU) in Washington, DC, and Director of AU's Kay Spiritual Life Center, one of the oldest interfaith centers in the United States. With degrees in language and law, and with nearly two decades serving in young adult campus ministry, he also serves as an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at AU and Wesley Theological Seminary, teaching courses in Religion, New Testament, and Biblical Greek.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532653438
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 08/23/2018
Pages: 276
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Mark Schaefer is the University Chaplain at American University (AU) in Washington, DC, and Director of AU’s Kay Spiritual Life Center, one of the oldest interfaith centers in the United States. With degrees in language and law, and with nearly two decades serving in young adult campus ministry, he also serves as an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at AU and Wesley Theological Seminary, teaching courses in Religion, New Testament, and Biblical Greek.

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Tables xi

Author's Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Abbreviations xx

Part I The Quest for Certainty 1

1 The One Thing Certain 3

2 Faith and Certainty 10

Part II The Inescapable Uncertainty … 21

… In Our Religion

3 Faith and Uncertainty 23

4 Faith and Metaphor 27

5 The Metaphors of Faith Explored 37

6 Faith as Metaphor 65

7 The Poetry of Faith 72

8 Pointing Beyond the Metaphor 87

… In Our Language

9 Mathematics and the Language of God 107

10 The Slipperiness of Language 114

11 Language and Metaphor 129

… In Our Senses

12 Through a Mirror Dimly 149

… In Our Science

13 Science to the Rescue! Or Not. 159

… In Our World

14 The World Knocked Off Its Foundations 171

15 A Warped and Uncertain Cosmos 178

The Inescapability of Uncertainty 193

Part III The Uncertain Way Forward 195

16 Theology in a Time of Metaphor 197

17 On the Necessity of Doubt 216

18 Drinking of One Wine 222

Ending-The Certainty of Uncertainty 231

Bibliography 241

Subject Index 249

Scriptural Index 255

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“In this important book, Mark Schaefer demonstrates that we cannot be certain about anything that matters. And yet, through metaphor we are drawn toward deeper understanding of both religious and scientific reality. Schaefer demonstrates broad knowledge, great insight, and humility in a book that will help overcome the unfounded fanaticisms of our age. I hope it will be widely recognized and read.”

—J. Philip Wogaman, Wesley Theological Seminary

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