It was surprising to come away from a speed dialogue event with the realization that the beliefs I had entered the evening with were not as easy to articulate or quantify as I had thought going into the dialogue. That is not to say that my beliefs were shattered, but that, in having to explain them, I understood that I still needed to reflect on them. As Susan Sontag said, “I… talk… in order to find out what I think.”
The speed dialogue event was another remarkable program of Project Interfaith, and the subject matter was framed around faith, identity and religion. In my case, I am an atheist, but on being asked to explain, “How do I know how to live?” “What ‘made’ us?” and “Why do I believe that there is no divine being?” it became clear that my firm beliefs were not capable of the succinct, persuasive expression that matched the depth of my conviction in them.
Perhaps these types of questions are, appropriately, resistant to an aphoristic or soundbite summation. Yet engaging in Project Interfaith’s speed discussion structure, it framed their exploration in a new light, which has spurred ongoing consideration.