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Matthieu Ricard on the habits of happiness
What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.
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I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's why I left
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
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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.
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Why people believe weird things
Why do people see the Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich or hear demonic lyrics in "Stairway to Heaven"? Using video and music, skeptic Michael Shermer shows how we convince ourselves to believe -- and overlook the facts.
Religions and babies
Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others -- and how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, he graphs data over time and across religions. With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.
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.
Starting with the simple tale of an ant, philosopher Dan Dennett unleashes a devastating salvo of ideas, making a powerful case for the existence of memes -- concepts that are literally alive.
The danger of science denial
Vaccine-autism claims, "Frankenfood" bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public's growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.
What does my headscarf mean to you?
What do you think when you look at this speaker? Well, think again. (And then again.) In this funny, honest, empathetic talk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied challenges us to look beyond our initial perceptions, and to open doors to new ways of supporting others.
Billy Graham on technology and faith
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.
A.J. Jacobs' year of living biblically
Speaking at the most recent EG conference, author, philosopher, prankster and journalist A.J. Jacobs talks about the year he spent living biblically -- following the rules in the Bible as literally as possible.
The doubt essential to faith
When Lesley Hazleton was writing a biography of Muhammad, she was struck by something: The night he received the revelation of the Koran, according to early accounts, his first reaction was doubt, awe, even fear. And yet this experience became the bedrock of his belief. Hazleton calls for a new appreciation of doubt and questioning as the foundation of faith --
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the Charter for Compassion
People want to be religious, says scholar Karen Armstrong; we should help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help build a Charter for Compassion -- to restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.
When people of Muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism
Karima Bennoune shares four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanize one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.
Why the only future worth building includes everyone
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
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The technology of the heart
His Holiness the Karmapa talks about how he was discovered to be the reincarnation of a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism. In telling his story, he urges us to work on not just technology and design, but the technology and design of the heart. He is translated onstage by Tyler Dewar.
We can be Buddhas
In our hyperlinked world, we can know anything, anytime. And this mass enlightenment, says Buddhist scholar Bob Thurman, is our first step toward Buddha nature.
A new way to explain explanation
For tens of thousands of years our ancestors understood the world through myths, and the pace of change was glacial. The rise of scientific understanding transformed the world within a few centuries. Why? Physicist David Deutsch proposes a subtle answer.
Diane Benscoter on how cults rewire the brain
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.
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
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Let's revive the Golden Rule
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.
The worldwide web of belief and ritual
Anthropologist Wade Davis muses on the worldwide web of belief and ritual that makes us human. He shares breathtaking photos and stories of the Elder Brothers, a group of Sierra Nevada indians whose spiritual practice holds the world in balance.
Tom Honey on God and the tsunami
In the days following the tragic South Asian tsunami of 2004, the Rev. Tom Honey pondered the question, "How could a loving God have done this?" Here is his answer.
Noah Feldman says politics and religion are technologies
Noah Feldman makes a searing case that both politics and religion -- whatever their differences -- are similar technologies, designed to efficiently connect and manage any group of people.
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.
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 from TEDxRainier.
How Syria's architecture laid the foundation for brutal war
What caused the war in Syria? Oppression, drought and religious differences all played key roles, but Marwa Al-Sabouni suggests another reason: architecture. Speaking to us over the Internet from Homs, where for the last six years she has watched the war tear her city apart, Al-Sabouni suggests that Syria's architecture divided its once tolerant and multicultural
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Reconnecting with compassion
The term "compassion" -- typically reserved for the saintly or the sappy -- has fallen out of touch with reality. At a special TEDPrize@UN, journalist Krista Tippett deconstructs the meaning of compassion through several moving stories, and proposes a new, more attainable definition for the word.
The balancing act of compassion
While we all agree that compassion is a great idea, Rabbi Tabick acknowledges there are challenges to its execution. She explains how a careful balance of compassion and justice allows us to do good deeds, and keep our sanity.
Inside the mind of a former radical jihadist
"For a long time, I lived for death," says Manwar Ali, a former radical jihadist who participated in violent, armed campaigns in the Middle East and Asia in the 1980s. In this moving talk, he reflects on his experience with radicalization and makes a powerful, direct appeal to anyone drawn to Islamist groups that claim violence and brutality are noble and virtuous:
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How do you build a sacred space?
To design the Bahá'í Temple of South America, architect Siamak Hariri focused on illumination — from the temple's form, which captures the movement of the sun throughout the day, to the iridescent, luminous stone and glass used to construct it. Join Hariri for a journey through the creative process, as he explores what makes for a sacred experience in a secular world.