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Faith in the modern world
An exploration of faith’s place in our current, tumultuous times.
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His Holiness Pope Francis
Why the only future worth building includes everyone
17 minutes 52 seconds
A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don't, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. "Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the 'other' is not a statistic, or a number," he says. "We all need each other."
I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's why I left
15 minutes 17 seconds
What's it like to grow up within a group of people who exult in demonizing ... everyone else? Megan Phelps-Roper shares details of life inside America's most controversial church and describes how conversations on Twitter were key to her decision to leave it. In this extraordinary talk, she shares her personal experience of extreme polarization, along with some sharp ways we can learn to successfully engage across ideological lines.
How I'm working for change inside my church
12 minutes 36 seconds
How do we respect someone's religious beliefs, while also holding religion accountable for the damage those beliefs may cause? Chelsea Shields has a bold answer to this question. She was raised in the orthodox Mormon tradition, and she spent the early part of her life watching women be excluded from positions of importance within the LDS Church. Now, this anthropologist, activist and TED Fellow is working to reform her church's institutionalized gender inequality. "Religions can liberate or subjugate, they can empower or exploit, they can comfort or destroy," she says. "What is taught on the Sabbath leaks into our politics, our health policy, violence around the world."
Alain de Botton
19 minutes 20 seconds
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.
What my religion really says about women
12 minutes 13 seconds
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.
Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence
18 minutes 16 seconds
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt asks a simple, but difficult question: why do we search for self-transcendence? Why do we attempt to lose ourselves? In a tour through the science of evolution by group selection, he proposes a provocative answer.
It's time to reclaim religion
16 minutes 27 seconds
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.
The gospel of doubt
18 minutes 19 seconds
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.
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Is religion good or bad? (This is a trick question)
14 minutes 40 seconds
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.