Tag: Religion


Kosher Food Gains Popularity... in Indonesia?

I am sure that I’m not the first rabbi to be quoted in Esquire magazine. But I’m sure I’m the first one quoted in the Indonesian edition! How do I know? The editor made it very clear, when we spoke! You may wonder how a rabbi ended up contributing to this very popular publication, in the nation more Muslims call home than any other county in the world — a nation in which Judaism is not even among the five legally recognized religions. (Those five, by the way, are: Catholicism, Protestant Christianity,......

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Putting Love First in Interfaith Relationships

The other night I had dinner with a remarkable young couple. Each comes from very serious, beautiful families of different religious origins. He has an Ethical Culture and Quaker background, embodying what I call a secular spirituality. Meanwhile, it was her Jewish parents who arranged our get-together. Both are smart, good, responsible people with whom I’ve worked on creative projects in Jewish life for years. Our meeting surely (if not overtly) sprang from the unarticulated hope that a trusted rabbi would engage, connect, “draw in” the young man toward a Jewish perspective.......

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Science Is Not the Opposite of Religion

John Lennon had it right when he sang, “Imagine no religion.” Let me explain. According to a recent study from the Public Religion Research Institute, 41% of Americans either completely disagree (27%) or mostly disagree (14%) with this statement: “Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on Earth.” Surprised? Disturbed? I’m not surprised, but I am disturbed – though perhaps for reasons you might not expect. I’m not surprised because in this country we remain a nation of believers, and most of those believers are regularly subjected to......

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Are You an FOP: Fan of the Pope?

Pope Francis has engaged and inspired millions of non-Catholics, former Catholics and alienated Catholics since assuming his position as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He’s both a spiritual master and global celebrity; that means the world is now filled with “FOP”s – Fans Of the Pope. However, some of them may be reconsidering their views now, though I’m not sure that that’s fair. Pope Francis has spoken out about the idea that choosing to die when confronted by a terminal illness is “a sin against God”, and that supporting terminal cancer......

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What Age-Old Religions Gain from New Ideas

In this talk I gave at BIF10 in September, I focused on religion from the most practical and (as it turns out) innovative perspective: How well do our religions serve our deepest human needs? What if religions were actually measured by their ability to impact our capacity for gratitude, hope, empathy and our sense of belonging? What if we unbundled the wisdom and practices from established religions (and their metaphysics, theologies, tribes and communities) and measured them for their ability to help us flourish? Watch the video below, as I discuss these......

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Video: Removing Religious Holidays from the School Calendar

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week, the Board of Education in Montgomery County, Maryland voted 7 to 1 to eliminate references to all religious holidays in their published calendar for 2015-2016. They acted in response to a request from the community’s Muslim leaders that the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha be added alongside holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hoshanah. The move is bad policy and wrong thinking – We don’t make room for each other best when we banish parts of who we......

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Rapping the Evolution of Religion

“You’ve probably never thought about the evolutionary origins of religion before. And if you have, you certainly haven’t heard it rapped before.”?That’s the message of of Baba Brinkman‘s hip-hop-inspired, meticulously-researched Off-Broadway show “The Rap Guide to Religion.” Brinkman calls his shows “peer-reviewed rap,” having created and performed productions like “The Rap Guide to Evolution” and “The Canterbury Tales Remixed.” His latest foray is into the field of religion. Since I am always looking for interesting and intelligent perspectives on the interaction of science and religion, when a friend of mine told me......

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Video: Is Extreme Fitness Replacing Religion?

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: Extreme fitness programs have become a multi-billion dollar industry, and according to a recent article in the New York Times, an extreme fascination with workout enthusiasts. What drives people to train like Navy SEALS? Longing for experience over what makes rational sense is a very real piece of what it means to be human and that longing for experience is reflected in the way Americans currently view religion. For more, watch my discussion below: Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing......

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Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Sam Harris, one of America’s greatest skeptics and critics of religion, has just written a fascinating book – Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. Are you one of the growing number of Americans (as I am if I am really honest) who increasingly finds organized religion unsatisfying, yet at the same time, you want to seriously talk about questions of meaning and existential hopes and fears? Are you a person who knows that the transformative experiences of self-transcendence, oneness, surrender, bliss, grace, unconditional love, are not only real but critical......

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The Spirit's Irrepressible Impulse

In the words of Bob Dylan, “It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” English philosopher Roger Scruton’s wise and beautifully written The Soul of the World makes the case that, despite the brashness of the New Atheists and the increase of “Nones” (those with no religious affiliation) there is a “fundamentally religious impulse” – what we call “the sacred” – that is irrepressible. Scruton explains faith as an “attitude of openness to meanings” (experienced in love, art, nature and morality) that......

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