playlist

Are you there, God?

For as many people as there are on Earth, there are as many answers to the question: Are you there, God? These talks offer a spectrum of personal perspectives on faith, from ardent atheists to devout believers.

  1. 16:32
    Julia Sweeney Letting go of God

    When two young Mormon missionaries knock on Julia Sweeney's door one day, it touches off a quest to completely rethink her own beliefs, in this excerpt from Sweeney's solo show "Letting Go of God."

  2. 16:27
    Sharon Brous It's time to reclaim religion

    At a moment when the world seems to be spinning out of control, religion might feel irrelevant — or like part of the problem. But Rabbi Sharon Brous believes we can reinvent religion to meet the needs of modern life. In this impassioned talk, Brous shares four principles of a revitalized religious practice and offers faith of all kinds as a hopeful counter-narrative to the numbing realities of violence, extremism and pessimism.

  3. 21:02
    Rick Warren A life of purpose

    Pastor Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose-Driven Life," reflects on his own crisis of purpose in the wake of his book's wild success. He explains his belief that God's intention is for each of us to use our talents and influence to do good.

  4. 18:19
    Casey Gerald The gospel of doubt

    What do you do when your firmly held beliefs turn out not to be true? When Casey Gerald's religion failed him, he searched for something new to believe in — in business, in government, in philanthropy — but found only false saviors. In this moving talk, Gerald urges us all to question our beliefs and embrace uncertainty.

  5. 24:45
    Dan Dennett Let's teach religion — all religion — in schools

    Philosopher Dan Dennett calls for religion — all religion — to be taught in schools, so we can understand its nature as a natural phenomenon. Then he takes on The Purpose-Driven Life, disputing its claim that, to be moral, one must deny evolution.

  6. 9:33
    Lesley Hazleton On reading the Koran

    Lesley Hazleton sat down one day to read the Koran. And what she found — as a non-Muslim, a self-identified "tourist" in the Islamic holy book — wasn't what she expected. With serious scholarship and warm humor, Hazleton shares the grace, flexibility and mystery she found, in this myth-debunking talk.

  7. 19:20
    Alain de Botton Atheism 2.0

    What aspects of religion should atheists (respectfully) adopt? Alain de Botton suggests a "religion for atheists" — call it Atheism 2.0 — that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence.

  8. 29:10
    Richard Dawkins Militant atheism

    Richard Dawkins urges all atheists to openly state their position — and to fight the incursion of the church into politics and science. A fiery, funny, powerful talk.

  9. 12:13
    Alaa Murabit What my religion really says about women

    Strong faith is a core part of Alaa Murabit's identity — but when she moved from Canada to Libya as a young woman, she was surprised how the tenets of Islam were used to severely limit women's rights, independence and ability to lead. She wondered: Was this really religious doctrine? With humor, passion and a refreshingly rebellious spirt, she shares how she found examples of female leaders across the history of her faith — and how she speaks up for women using verses from the Koran.

  10. 17:11
    Mustafa Akyol Faith versus tradition in Islam

    Journalist Mustafa Akyol talks about the way that some local cultural practices (such as the seclusion of women) have become linked, in the popular mind, to the articles of faith of Islam. Has the world's general idea of the Islamic faith focused too much on tradition, and not enough on core beliefs?

  11. 14:40
    Kwame Anthony Appiah Is religion good or bad? (This is a trick question)

    Plenty of good things are done in the name of religion, and plenty of bad things too. But what is religion, exactly — is it good or bad, in and of itself? Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah offers a generous, surprising view.