Why is faith essential to learning? An eight part series with Dr. Robert Long on culture and learning (2/8)

June 15, 2023



Have you ever wondered what is faith in true sense? Why do we hesitate so much to use the word faith? In this podcast Dr Rob Long and Dr Pedro Ferreira explore what is faith and why faith is essential to learning and living.

Further information




Nippin Anand, Rob Long, Pedro Ferreira


Nippin Anand  00:00

Hello and welcome to embracing differences with me Nippin Anand, founder of novellus, a podcast series dedicated to understanding different perspectives about how we as human beings, or rather, social beings make decisions. The podcast series draws from different disciplines including religion, mythology, sociology, anthropology, social psychology, biology, neurosciences and stem, making it truly transdisciplinary meaning transporting her rather travelling across disciplines. The idea is not to claim that one method or discipline is superior to the other, but to hold competing disciplines, competing values, diverse perspectives, intention. And when that happens, we create space for doubt and reflection. The idea is to enjoy travelling and the ambiguity that comes with it.


Nippin Anand  01:01

Experiencing dissonance, discomfort, how else do we learn? This is a podcast on understanding culture, safety, culture, and how we as human beings learn with Dr. Robert long.


Nippin Anand  01:17

In this podcast, we ask the question, why faith is essential to learning. Now, have you ever wondered what is faith in its true sense? Why do we hesitate so much to use the word faith in the Risk and Safety world? In this podcast, Dr. Robert long, and Dr. Pedro Ferreira, explain, explore what is faith and why faith is so essential to learning but also living?


Rob Long  01:46

So Pedro, now you’ve been listening to Nippin. And I speak and I’m a social psychologist, he’s an anthropologist. And you have a background in I think, engineering and science and maths and a very technical past. What do you think of when you hear to other people talk about faith, like we just did? What do you think now?


Pedro Ferreira  02:14

Well, you’re quite right. My background is very much in science. And interestingly, perhaps also, Portuguese culture. And the Portuguese educational system. There is very, very technical. Yes, yes. Even the law system, the legal system is very, very much, much attached to technicality. Yes. I sense from very early, very early years of my working life, some frustration that I could never explained that somehow what I was doing, what I was taught to do and how I was taught that would be the solution to problems somehow didn’t feel right. Okay. And there was a frustration that I could never put my finger on. Yeah, many, many years. And I kept moving from one thing to the another. Yes. Thinking, okay. This looks better. I’ll move on to this. Yes. So I think looking back, it was a very logical path. There was, it was not a jump from one place to the other. So there was some conductive flow, does it. But I was continuously moving from one thing to the other, and never really being able to put my finger on this frustration that somehow this doesn’t feel like the way we should be doing things. And when, a couple of years ago, when I started working with Nippin, and we came across your work. It, it hit me in a very different way. From all the things that I’ve come across previously, which somehow felt interesting, yes. But somehow they felt like they were adding on to what I knew,


Rob Long  04:10

in which you already knew. Yes, yes. Yes.


Pedro Ferreira  04:14

It felt like this is something that adds on. And in my mind, somehow, my faith, my hope was yes. This is what will fill the gap that I’ve been filled with a feeling in the back of my mind.


Rob Long  04:29

Okay, so, but you’re also a person in Portugal, which is a very, very religious



history. It is.


Rob Long  04:40

So we’re very Catholic, very Catholic. Yes. So here’s another question about faith. When we spoke about faith. Do you tend to think that fate is only a religious word?


Pedro Ferreira  04:53

I used to Yes, you used to. Yes. So


Rob Long  04:55

what’s moved? What’s what’s moved for you?


Pedro Ferreira  04:59

Well, It very much in line of what you said, which is, I came to realise that there is no reason why faith shouldn’t be part of every aspect of a person’s life. Yes. It has to be. It has to be. Yeah. So I never thought myself as an engineer, I had some training. Yes, typical of an engineer, yes. None of


Rob Long  05:28

you would have never used the word faith. Whereas now, you know, it’s not so uncomfortable. No,


Pedro Ferreira  05:33

it is not uncomfortable at all. Good. And looking back, perhaps, in many cases, I stayed clear of it. Because I knew that if I went into that sort of territory, it’s never been taken seriously.


Rob Long  05:52

That’s very, that’s a risk I take all the time. Because when I use the word faith, I end up with all these people who risk and safety and written regulation every think I’m some sort of religious nut. Now, I do have a past in theology, and I’ve passed in religious studies, and I know this, but that’s why I’m not afraid to use the word faith. In someone who I see, as a scientist, I see no difference in a scientist, having faith in something. And then I’ve got a friend here, who’s an engineer with me. And I didn’t know anything about quantum mechanics. I didn’t even know what quantum mechanics was. And then this friend of mine is an engineer says, Rob, this stage science believe this, then comes along quantum mechanics completely tears it apart. And now all the scientists are now believing this. Oh, good. Okay. So did they have faith in that now? And now that we’re having faith in this, but the scientists won’t use the word faith for those two things? And yet, I’m not afraid to use that. Because when I look at it, that’s exactly what it is. And now we’ve got quantum mechanics, which I have no idea what it is. I now see a whole bunch of scientists saying, Oh, we were certainty in this, but now we’re certain in this Yep. No doubt at all.


Pedro Ferreira  07:17

That’s that’s precisely the thing that somehow I started questioning a lot more things. If you look back in history, that that sort of phenomena, yes. Being president, every single scientific fact of scientific domain, every single one. Yeah. You know, from the earth being flat to being round.


Rob Long  07:43

Yes. Yes. Which which the church actually was pushing that was flat anyway. Yeah.



Exactly. Yes.


Rob Long  07:52

And then science agreed with it. Yeah. And then they chose


Pedro Ferreira  07:56

this, this, this takes me back to something that you were also discussing with Nippin. about learning. As I was listening to you, I was coming into this idea that well, because you’re able to speak out so openly about faith, yes. In front of people and not give a second, a second care about what people will think of you. Yes. Well, simply that makes you a much braver person than I


Rob Long  08:27

am that bride, maybe I’m stupid.


Pedro Ferreira  08:29

But But then again, come to think of it again, I think that means that you simply have gone through a learning journey that I haven’t, if I think you know about faith, gives you the confidence to speak about it. Yes. And it makes perfect sense to you. Yes, it does embodied it. Yes. Yes. I’m


Rob Long  08:49

being mean body. That is, for me,


Pedro Ferreira  08:51

this is something that I just started doing recently, very recently, because all of a sudden, I’m finding my way, my own way of speaking about faith to people. Yeah. Maybe I need to become a bit more brave about it as well. But yeah, maybe, maybe that’s great, but it’s probably a lot more about the learning then. It’s not about being brave. Well, maybe


Rob Long  09:14

we should talk about some learning.



Yes, that is. Great. Yep.


Nippin Anand  09:22

Do you have any questions, any feedback, any comments, any criticism, you can always write to us? You can write to me personally, at support@novellus.solutions. You can also leave a message for us on our website novellus.solutions. You can email me personally at Nippin dadan. And that novellus.solutions and you can find me on LinkedIn. Until then, have a good day. For those of you who are interested to understand cultural safety, culture and the concept of learning, or rather how we as human beings learn, we have a workshop coming up in Stavanger in Norway, from the fourth to the sixth of October, the the idea of this workshop is to give some practical methods and tools using the framework of social psychology of risk to help people become our I would say rather say leaders become a little bit more deliberate and strategic about understanding and influencing culture. So you can expect a lot of practical exercises, group work, tools, methods that would actually help you to understand culture. I hope you can join us there is all the details on our website novellus.solutions/events, please check it out. And we hope you can make it and we would love to have you with us