Ted Talks do not have to be limited to what many believe to be solely “intellectual topics”.
Talks on String Theory, human evolution, and activism may be what the more popular talks on the platform have been about but that does not mean that other areas of human life are not encouraged, even if those topics tend to go unnoticed in today’s age of science and technology.
Religion, for instance, still plays an important role in society and is considered a valuable topic that many earth citizens still want to listen to and hear about.
Approximately 10% of Americans don’t believe in God which means the other 90% either do or have no real interest in Its possible reality.
Platforms like Ted (Technology, Entertainment, Design) are now looking to provide more discussions on the topic of religion to help increase awareness of its possible benefits for an ever-changing world.
There is a long way to go in this regard as from the 3,300 plus Ted Talks that have been given thus far, only 80 of them have dealt with religious topics. However, the ones that have been showcased have provided a broad perspective on the topic such as the purpose of religion, the significance religion has had on culture, and the role of religion in human life today.
The following five Ted Talks are both inspiring and challenging and are offered in a serious and sometimes humorous manner so that the listener can introspect on the importance of what is being communicated and maybe have a laugh or two in the process.
Talk 1: It’s Time To Reclaim Religion
Rabbi Sharon Brous offers a look at how religion can be remolded to meet the challenges and vicissitudes of modern-day life.
During her talk, she shares four principles that lay the foundation for a modern religious practice that can help human beings deal and cope with some of the major struggles they face today such as violence, intolerance, extremism, and lack of faith.
Talk 2: The Doubt Essential To Faith
Psychologist and former Middle East reporter, Lesley Hazleton, talks about how Prophet Muhammad doubted his experience when God first called upon him.
Hazleton concluded from Muhammad’s personal story that there could be no ‘living’ faith without doubt. In her opinion, doubt is essential to humbleness and without it, a sense of arrogance and fundamentalism would remain despite how real one’s spiritual experience seemed.
Talk 3: The Unheard Story of the Sistine Chapel
Art historian, Elizabeth Lev, gives an outstanding talk on how Michaelangelo’s inspiration for the iconic ceiling went way beyond religious stories and into the transcendental to come up with artistry that had never been seen before and many religious-minded people believe since then.
She explains that this painting continues to this day, five years later, to inspire onlookers to turn within themselves and ask the most fundamental questions of life, “Who am I, Why am I here, and What is my relationship to God?”
Talk 4: A Life of Purpose
Rick Warren, pastor, and best-selling author gives a heartfelt and honest look into his life journey and the struggles he faced in finding purpose for his life.
Upon writing his best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life, Pastor Warren was challenged to look deep within himself to uncover what the meaning of life was for him.
In his conclusion, the meaning cannot be found in materialism or any external relationships but must come from sharing one’s innate talents and gifts with the rest of the world.
Talk 5: Want To Be Happy? Be Grateful!
In this talk, Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast, discusses how being grateful can make one happy. He argues that being happy doesn’t necessarily make one grateful but being grateful does increase the likelihood of making one happy.
During the talk, David unveils that the practice of gratefulness is relatively simple and all one has to do is to take inventory of what is already there. He also encourages the members of the audience to share what they have with others and thus help spread the happiness of gratefulness across the globe.
The above Ted Talks help bridge the gap between daily life and religious investigation and in doing so help religiously-minded individuals bring aliveness to their faith.
This living faith serves as a foundation for a practical and mystical life that is full of joy and wonder at every step.
In a world where everyone is seeking happiness, religion may offer practical solutions that could be as simple as becoming more aware and thankful for what one already has.