Writer, psychologist and former Middle East reporter Lesley Hazleton explores the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion intersect.

Why you should listen

Lesley Hazleton has traced the roots of conflict in several books, including compelling 'flesh-and-blood' biographies of Muhammad and Mary, and casts "an agnostic eye on politics, religion, and existence" on her blog, AccidentalTheologist.com.

Her newest book, Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto, celebrates the agnostic stance as "rising above the flat two-dimensional line of belief/unbelief, creating new possibilities for how we think about being in the world." In it, she explores what we mean by the search for meaning, invokes the humbling perspective of infinity and reconsiders what we talk about when we talk about soul.

Hazleton's approach has been praised as "vital and mischievous" by the New York Times, and as "a positive orientation to life, one that embraces both science and mystery ... while remaining intimately grounded and engaged."

Lesley Hazleton’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Lesley Hazleton

Live from TEDSummit 2016

A legacy that will outlive us: Notes from Session 1 of TEDSummit

June 27, 2016

TEDSummit is a gathering of TED’s tribes — our speaker community, volunteer translators, TED Fellows, TEDx organizers, partners and  more. In Session 1, we shared mainstage talks that sparkled with optimism for humanity — now and deep into our unknown future. Ideas that stand the test of time. TED’s curator, Chris Anderson, opened TEDSummit with a throwback […]

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Live from TEDSummit 2016

A meditation on the soul: Lesley Hazleton at TEDSummit

June 27, 2016

What is a soul? Lesley Hazleton, an “accidental theologist,” prodded the TEDSummit audience with this provocative question, tracing the cultural, religious and societal origins of a remarkably intangible human hallmark. The body and soul used to be considered two equal physical entities — in fact, Descartes theorized the soul was located in the brain’s pineal gland. Meanwhile, […]

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Live from TEDGlobal

The doubt essential to faith: Lesley Hazleton at TEDGlobal 2013

June 12, 2013

A few years ago, Lesley Hazleton, self-described “accidental theologist,” found herself waking each morning with the same question: What happened to Muhammad the night he received the revelation of the Koran? An agnostic Jew, Hazleton was writing a biography of the man who stood in the desert outside of Mecca in the year 610 at […]

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