A minister reveals the most frequent in-flight questions he’s asked by seatmates. Christine Garvin ponders the life questions she’d want answered.

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What are some of the deep philosophical questions we ask in life?

Usually these concern health, life, death, or when Grey’s Anatomy will finally be canceled (that show needs to go).

Now imagine that you’re asked to answer those deep philosophical questions while 30,000 feet in the air?

That’s the case for Dr. Bernard E Johnson, an ordained minister who recently wrote an interesting article on the 10 questions he most often gets asked during flights. No-holds-barred cross examinations include the following light and easy fare:

  • Does the current economic crisis have spiritual roots?
  • Why are so few people truly happy?
  • Is the conflict in the Middle East leading to Armageddon?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?

The good minister doesn’t attempt to give an answer to any of these questions (at least in the article) but simply notes that they all touch upon the deeper, “spiritual dimension of life.”

Which got me thinking – What would I ask a minister, or a guru, rabbi, or Buddhist philosopher (and the list goes on) if I sat next to one on a plane? And what would I expect as an answer?

Knowing myself relatively well, I’m sure I’d seek out if they were even moderately intuitive…and then ask them what they could tell me about myself (narcissistic? Probably. Keeps me focused? Definitely).

Beyond The Self

After that, I’d ask what brought them to a life of serving God, or other deity, and if they agree with the rules placed upon them. These are different for each religion, obviously, but for Catholics, what about that no marriage rule? Could that be part of the reason such sexual scandal exists in the church?

Yeah, maybe I wouldn’t ask that.

I would definitely ask the person’s view on women in terms of leadership within that particular religion or spiritual organization. That reveals plenty with just a little bit of information.

I suppose that I wouldn’t expect this “leader” to have any of the big answers in life, any more than the rest of us. I would certainly love to discuss the idea of the economic crisis having spiritual roots and implications, but I’ve already come to my own conclusions around that (of course, I’m open to more thoughts on the subject).

Chances are, they’re searching too, because they are human just like the rest us.

What would you ask a spiritual leader if you sat next to one on a plane? Share your thoughts below.