You believe in God or astrology or a purpose in life because you apply ideas about people -- that they have thoughts and intentions -- to the natural world. What has not been clarified is exactly how various cognitive biases interact to produce specific ideas about the supernatural -- until now.
On the day after I realized I am a lesbian, I invited over the woman I was in love with (we hadn't been together in any sexual way; we had not even hugged or kissed) so that we could watch Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. The guest was Brené Brown, whose new book was about vulnerability.
Since I moved to my quiet neighborhood in Bethesda, Maryland, three years ago, it's become clear to me that having conceptions of God different from other people doesn't change the neighborly values of hospitality, community, and friendliness.
I have committed myself to being open to love in all its forms. However love arrives at the doorstep of my heart, I try to recognize it. At least, that is my intention. It isn't always easy. Sometimes it feels challenging. Sometimes it feels exhilarating.
The prophet Isaiah is on my mind and in my heart more and more. His voice rings in Yom Kippur's Haftarah with messages I fear we've forgotten. With messages I believe we must begin to remember, even if they hurt our hearts. Especially because they hurt our hearts so deeply.
During all those years when I was praying for a private, discreet miracle from God--one that would spare my pride and let me go on my way saying, "Whew! Glad that's over!"--it never once occurred to me that he was holding out for a bigger, better miracle.
It's easy to travel through our mind and think we've gotten somewhere, setting bold intentions that lead to little or no action but give us the feeling of doing something -- climbing the mountaintop of inspired ideas before falling back into the valley of mediocrity.
I'm trying to think back to the point when the definition or display of religion and religious beliefs in India changed -- when religion in India suddenly became a display of aggression and a matter of pomp and show.
The roots of charity, empathy and altruism are not in religion, they are in our evolution -- these are the roots, but we can rise above them. We have begun to. Isn't it time we grew from our adolescence to the young adult stage of our existence?
The first step towards sharing varying experiences of the world is the acknowledgement that your eyes are different from everyone else's. The truth as you experience it is no less true that someone else's.
Religion and science are incompatible at every level. The two seek different answers to separate questions using fundamentally and inherently incompatible methods. Nothing can truly bring the two together without sacrificing intellectual honesty.
Who am I to call myself a Talmudist of any sort? Our Sages of blessed memory were not just gifted teachers, they were also tzaddiks -- righteous individuals who could be counted upon to do the right thing always, and to treat everyone with kindness.
War is contrary to the will of God. That is a foundational belief of mine. Any time force is used it must be seen as a failure of the human imagination to develop the just peace needed to free the world from on-going conflicts.
When it comes to global warming, the evidence is in: we've caused the globe to get warmer. It's time for us to take responsibility and try our best to reverse the trend. Blaming God for the coming deluge isn't the answer.