Epistemology is the most thought provoking class I have taken so far in my three years of studying philosophy. For those of you who have not yet studied it or who will not study philosophy, epistemology deals with questions such as how do we know what we claim to be true? How do we know God exists? How do we know there is a heaven, a hell or a purgatory since those who die never come back to confirm these things? How do we know we exist? You get the idea, right? This simple sentence—how do we know-causes us to delve in an interminable debate started since humans’ first interaction. Due to that, we fail to agree on burning issues like when life really begins. All answers are never sufficiently satisfying. We become like a child who just started to use his intelligence. We never stop asking how we know things like a child who never stops asking why regardless of the answer. The truth of that matter is, and sadly so, there is no clear cut answer that can satisfy everyone. If that were so, people who were committed to finding ideal answer to poignant questions would have provided the answer to us already. Was there anything that the philosophers (the ancients) did not discuss? Had there been a non controversial answer, they would have provided it. The truth is that there is none apart from what revelation tells us. So a secular point of view about this matter is and will always be controversial. Forgive me for saying that; religious documents (the Bible) are the most reliable truth here; there is no great answer.
Does that mean we don’t have to answer questions about the beginning and end of life? Does that rule out these kinds of questions out of the picture? Absolutely not! These questions are too big to be ignored. If we fail to shed the natural light, some would act according to their selfish desire. They would fail to see that human life is intrinsically valuable and so we cannot afford to trample over them. Since they already fail to see the goodness that comes from believing in the existence of an afterlife, we don’t expect them to provide a good answer to such burning questions. They don’t know that society (globally speaking) works best when people believe in the existence of God. They fail to see the peace, joy, and contentment that religion brings to society as a whole. They deny that all knowledge start from some kinds of beliefs before reaching any absolute certainty. therefore, we, not they, must respond to these questions.
Of course, in attempting to give an answer, we must not raise our voice too high because we have a lot of daredevils out of there. They call themselves risk–taker. Some issues are too important to dare take any risk about them because we could almost never see the damage they caused (in this life). The damage is penetrable only if we could see as God sees, which is impossible. So what must we do? When it comes to question we don’t know the answer to, the most prudent way of acting is conservatively. (I am not using the term from the Republican Party’s viewpoint). When burning issues becomes controversial, we must not give up on it by saying that people may act as they see fit. We (authorities) must decide as conservatively as possible in order to avoid any kind of unknown disaster.
Let me give just three reasons why we need to take the conservative road over any other ones. For one thing, we don’t know it all. Though we have achieved unbelievable things in the past centuries, we remain powerless when it comes to question involving life and death. We vacillate when it comes to moral questions. Mysteries remain a territory unexplored by us. Since we are evidently limited, it would be sage to avoid making decisions whose outcomes are unknown and unpredictable. Secondly, I would advise that we follow what is called Joebrice’s wager. If taking a risk can be disastrous while not taking one involves no risk, the best course of action should be the latter. It ain’t like eating ice scream when asking to give a report of our actions on earth. We may not be praiseworthy for not taking action, but it is not blameworthy avoiding the risk of taking action in this case. There is too much at stake. Finally, why should act against nature? Parts work for the sake of the whole. Who should dare troubling the outcome decided by providence? It is clear that nature works hierarchically. Where are we placed in the scale? Not on top, so we must not act as if we are the sole decider. if we don’t know how something comes about, we should not do things that can destroy it.