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.
Economics writer Tim Harford studies complex systems -- and finds a surprising link among the successful ones: they were built through trial and error. In this sparkling talk from TEDGlobal 2011, he asks us to embrace our randomness and start making better mistakes.
Diane Benscoter spent five years as a "Moonie." She shares an insider's perspective on the mind of a cult member, and proposes a new way to think about today's most troubling conflicts and extremist movements.
Anjali Kumar went looking for God and ended up finding something else entirely. In an uplifting, funny talk about our shared humanity, she takes us on a spiritual pilgrimage to meet witches in New York, a shaman in Peru, an infamous "healer" in Brazil and others, sharing an important lesson: what binds us together is far stronger than what separ...
A few days before she turned 61, writer Anne Lamott decided to write down everything she knew for sure. She dives into the nuances of being a human who lives in a confusing, beautiful, emotional world, offering her characteristic life-affirming wisdom and humor on family, writing, the meaning of God, death and more.
Michael Shermer says the human tendency to believe strange things -- from alien abductions to dowsing rods -- boils down to two of the brain's most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.
Weeks from the Charter for Compassion launch, Karen Armstrong looks at religion's role in the 21st century: Will its dogmas divide us? Or will it unite us for common good? She reviews the catalysts that can drive the world's faiths to rediscover the Golden Rule.
Hours before New York lawmakers rejected a key marriage equality bill (38-24), State Senator Diane J. Savino made the passionate case for a government that recognizes and administers same-sex marriages. Here's her fresh, thought-provoking perspective on one of the most contentious issues in US culture, religion and government.
Speaking at TED in 1998, Rev. Billy Graham marvels at technology's power to improve lives and change the world -- but says the end of evil, suffering and death will come only after the world accepts Christ. A legendary talk from TED's archives.
Two Pilobolus dancers perform "Symbiosis." Does it trace the birth of a relationship? Or the co-evolution of symbiotic species? Music: "God Music," George Crumb; "Fratres," Arvo Part; "Morango...Almost a Tango," Thomas Oboe Lee.
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.
Kaki King, the first female on Rolling Stone's "guitar god" list, rocks out to a full live set at TED2008, including her breakout single, "Playing with Pink Noise." Jaw-dropping virtuosity meets a guitar technique that truly stands out.
Ndidi Nwuneli has advice for Africans who believe in God -- and Africans who don't. To the religious, she advises against using God to outsource responsibility for what happens in their lives. To the non-religious, she asks that they keep an open mind and work with faith-based organizations, especially on issues like health care and education. "...
Devdutt Pattanaik takes an eye-opening look at the myths of India and of the West -- and shows how these two fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven help us consistently misunderstand one another.
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.
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.
The term Gross Domestic Product is often talked about as if it were “handed down from god on tablets of stone.” But this concept was invented by an economist in the 1930s. We need a more effective measurement tool to match 21st century needs, says Michael Green: the Social Progress Index. With charm and wit, he shows how this tool measures socie...
The Sistine Chapel is one of the most iconic buildings on earth -- but there's a lot you probably don't know about it. In this tour-de-force talk, art historian Elizabeth Lev guides us across the famous building's ceiling and Michelangelo's vital depiction of traditional stories, showing how the painter reached beyond the religious iconography o...
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....