From TED: 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. "Religions can liberate or subjugate, they can empower or exploit, they can comfort or destroy," she says. "What is taught on the Sabbath leaks into our politics, our health policy, violence around the world."
In Dr. Michael Shermer’s latest book he claims that we are living in the most moral period of our species’ history. It is a book about moral progress that demonstrates through extensive data and heroic stories that the arc of the moral universe bends toward truth, justice, and freedom. Of the many factors that have come together over the centuries to bend the arc in a more moral direction, science and reason are foremost. The Scientific Revolution led by Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton was so world-changing that thinkers in other fields consciously aimed at revolutionizing the social, political, and economic worlds using the same methods of science. This led to the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, which in turn created the modern secular world of liberal democracies, civil rights and civil liberties, equal justice under the law, open political and economic borders, and the expansion of the moral sphere to include more people—and now even animals—as worthy of moral consideration. Epic in scope, The Moral Arc is the Cosmos of human history.
From NY Times: As secularism becomes more prominent and self-confident, its spokesmen have more insistently argued that secularism should not be seen as an absence — as a lack of faith — but rather as a positive moral creed. Phil Zuckerman, a Pitzer College sociologist, makes this case as fluidly and pleasurably as anybody in his book, “Living the Secular Life.”
Zuckerman argues that secular morality is built around individual reason, individual choice and individual responsibility. Instead of relying on some eye in the sky to tell them what to do, secular people reason their way to proper conduct.
The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library offers an exceptional encounter with antiquity. Using the world's most advanced imaging technology, the digital library preserves thousands of scroll fragments, including the oldest known copies of biblical texts, now accessible to the public for the first time.
From Krista Tippett: There has been a dramatic break with ways of being spiritual and religious that held, in the West, for many generations. And there is a new evolution underway.
From Neal Krause, Lindsey Evans, Gregory Powers and R. David Hayward at The Journal of Positive Psychology: Research on feelings of gratitude to God has not kept pace with research on feelings of gratitude to other people. The purpose of this study was to address this gap in the knowledge base by conducting a series of individual in-depth qualitative interviews. Four main themes emerged from these qualitative interviews. The first has to do with the interface between feelings of gratitude to God and stress, the second involves the ways in which feelings of gratitude to God are expressed, the third theme is concerned with whether God rewards the grateful and punishes the ungrateful, and the fourth theme deals with the perceived benefits of feeling grateful to God. An emphasis is placed throughout on showing how the findings can inform research on the relationships between feeling grateful to God and health.
From Robert Quinn: When I lead workshops on positive leadership with top executives, it can be difficult to get participants to examine their own feelings, and even more difficult to get them to open up and share them with the group. They are used to being all-business; there is no room for feelings and emotion in the boardroom! But I was surprised during a recent workshop when this actually happened.
From The Washington Post: The young man in the video pulls in close to his computer camera with the trappings of a typical college dorm room — a loft bed and the clutter of cast-off clothes — piled behind him. Alex Fiorentini isn’t talking about girls, beer or football. Instead, it’s a coming-out moment of sorts.
“Is it acceptable to the majority of the population to be an atheist?” he asks the camera. “Nope. Are all of your friends going to accept you as an atheist? Probably not all of them. And yeah, those things are gonna suck. But the real question is, ‘Is it OK to be me?’ That is the real question if you are an atheist.”