S ofn Sea of Faith London Conference 2017

Lust for Certainty

Saturday 25 March 2017
at St John’s Church, Waterloo
10.30am – 5.00pm


Salley Vickers Salley Vickers

“Religion as Poetry and Story?”

Mark Oakley Mark Oakley

“Believing in Poetry”

Dinah Livingstone Dinah Livingstone

“Poetic Tales”

The conference

“…the contemporary lust for certainty demeans our humanity. The key to wisdom…is understanding the limits of knowledge”

St Mary’s Putney hosted a round table discussion a few years ago which ran with John Hapgood’s memorable phrase the ‘lust for certainty’. Speakers shared a common conviction. Various kinds of dogmatism-religious, scientific, political, cultural, ethical- seem to cause many of the things going wrong in the world today.

The London Sea of Faith network seeks to continue this dialogue. Our speakers will seek to explore the limitations and dangers of dogmatic attitudes and thought; and the vital necessity of questioning and humility in the modern world.

Mark Vernon‘s book ‘After Atheism’ defends ambiguity and undecidability almost evangelically. He is a committed and increasingly passionate agnostic. He argues that “the contemporary lust for certainty demeans our humanity. The key to wisdom-as Socrates, the great theologians and the best scientists know-is understanding the limits of knowledge”.

Is this so, or is even this a step too far? If there is too much certainty, can there be too much doubt?

Our erudite speakers have taken the ‘Lust for Certainty’ title and run with it according to their own expertise, experience and interests.

The Venue

St John‘s Waterloo, Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8TY

St John‘s Church is situated in Waterloo Road at the south end of Waterloo Bridge and adjacent to IMAX cinema. It is opposite Waterloo Station (BR main line and Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee Underground lines).

Coming by Jubilee Line follow the Way Out sign for Waterloo NOT South Bank. At exit turn left onto Waterloo Road. Coming by Bakerloo or Northern Line follow Way Out sign for Trains NOT South Bank. You exit onto Main Line Station from where you take Exit 2 to Waterloo Road.

Buses 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 77, 139, 168, 171, 172, 188 and 381 stop nearby.

There are no parking facilities at St John‘s.


Coffee and tea will be provided during registration and the afternoon break.


You may bring your own packed lunch and drink. There are a number of cafes and pubs in the area where lunch can be bought.

Further information

Email us or or phone 020 8422 1591.

While this conference is organised by the Sea of Faith it is not an exclusively Sea of Faith event. Speakers do not neccessarily endorse a Sea of Faith line on any subject and we attract attendance from a wide range of backgrounds to these events - both religious and non-religious.