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Believers And Doubters

Update: 2016-12-234
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In this hour, TED speakers offer perspectives on belief from all ends of the spectrum, from atheists to the devout. (Original Broadcast Date: November 22, 2013).

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support for this podcast in the following message come from concur a service where employees get simplified expense reports and business leaders get full visibility into their company spending habits expense travel invoice learn more at concurred dot com slash Radio Hour eight sky here are taking a break for the holidays will be back soon with a new episode of The Ted Radio Hour but in the meantime check this one that is from our archives and it's called believers and doubters and you can hear from the L Peterson doubters people from all ends of the spectrum from atheists to the devout so here it is this the radio hour each week groundbreaking had talked the Ted Technology Design at Stanford and Ted conferences around gift of the human had to believe in impossible the true nature of reality beckons just beyond those talks those ideas adapted for radio NPR guy rise and our show today believers and doubters why some of us believe in some of us don't I am on the the the man who got the out buildings will have the right by the Right The Sweet Life last night we got no two of the assets I didn't think I'd embarrass him safely visit their Lord and eighteen on got the Russians it all inside of me taken at the Chinese are dropping bombs around contaminate the atmosphere thus this is a recording from October twentieth nineteen sixty four or five o'clock at night and like the three presidents before m and eight after him Lyndon Johnson State College Billy Graham Evangelical preacher whenever he needed some spiritual guidance the even better was to have a client visit them and mail service Sunday morning White House itself about those conversations was that they were about a truth a truth that they shared and why why did they believe in Baidu billions of people believe in something greater than themselves that Sorkin explore on the show today with ten speakers who in some another the are all seeking their own truth as for Billy Graham he's thirty five years old now he's not really able to do interviews so we called up his daughter her name is Anne Graham lotz and the Astor to help guide us through Billy's to talk thanks for stopping in on his behalf and I feel very honored that you ask me hows he doing badly as you did on Easter when fact that Colton gotta just let him know that I was doing this on his behalf actually I was called asking to pray for me when Billy Graham spoke at Ted in nineteen ninety eight he knew he wasn't the typical guest at the conference was a clergyman you can imagine how out of place I feel like a fish outta water and some of you may be wondering why they have a speaker from the field of religion section when he starts his talk and it's almost like he's acknowledging awkwardness of like a Billy Graham speaking to a group of scientists and engineers and many of them who just rode probably don't have a whole lot of time for Faith and I thought it was a brilliant way to get into it because he was feeling awkward but I think he knew that they would be feeling awfully too but some years ago office on the Philadelphia coming down the hotel and on that elevator said I hear Billy Graham is staying in this hotel and another man looked in my direction said yes there is his own this elevator with us and this man looked me up and down for about ten seconds and he said My anti climax the hope that you will feel that these two moments with me is not of as an anti climax after all this in such a disarming moment was she there to talk about belief or faith or more of both words are His are different I think there's a difference that's worth mentioning I believe that's belief is more an intellectual assent to the truth or if you think of a belief system it would be values or traditions or principles that you would live your life by faith is more of a heart issue so a lot of people can believe in God for instance and not that many people have real faith in God Jesus in one instance which is very interesting because he said even the demons in hell believe in him so they believed in Jesus they knew he was the Son of God the Messiah but they have no faith so Fran for her dad the leaf is easy but faith faith is a feeling it's something you can't easily explain that a Billy Graham tried to convey in his Ted talk is in the Bible teaches that were more than a body and mind we are a soul and there's something inside of us that is beyond our understanding that's the part of us that yearns for go of something more I find young people all over the world are searching for something they don't know what is lost big in many universities and I have many questions and answer periods and whether it's Cambridge or Harvard or Oxford spoken to all those universes I'm going to Harvard and about two months from now to give a lecture in OBS the same questions that I was as the last few times up and when I come from Burma going What's life all about why am I here even if you have no religious belief there are times when you wonder that there's something else Thomas Edison also said when USC everything that happens in the world of science and in the working of the universe you cannot deny that as a captain on the bridge obstinate the deathbed of several famous people whom you would know of talk to them of seeing them in those agonizing moments when they were scared to death and yet a few years earlier death across them on a Tokyo woman this past week whose fault it was a famous doctor she said he never thought of God never talked about God in God he was an atheist but she said as he came to die is set up in the side of the bed asked the nurse if they could see the chapel and he said for the first time in his life he thought about the inevitable and about the draw was there got the the show and if your father pointed out right that there were doubters like Edison who wondered whether their doubts are right do you think he ever doubted his his own belief sometimes I couldn't answer that for him but I've never heard him express that in fact when he began his preaching I think he was with some of his friends out in California and his friends were discussing the bobble and they were sitting there deciding that this part was true in that part was true and and Daddy said he got quieter and quieter he said his spirit was greatly troubled and a pickup is Bob and I left the circle of friends and went on to the woods any he put his bobble down and Annie told God that from that moment for he would believe that the Bible was true because it was God's Word and God is a gentleman he doesn't lie and he came back out of the woods to his friends and he was his preaching was different his ministry was Hall marked by that phrase of the Bible says The Bible says The Bible says and their friends in the circle from some of them their labs self destructive their belief system just crumbled the My Father's tears continued to cause hee hee believe something that was true he put his faith in it and has never the two years ago Universe a student asked me what is the greatest surprise in your life and us of the greatest surprise in my life is the brevity of life that passes so fast how should one not to feel regret and one is dying Blaise Pascal ask exactly that question and seventy eccentric friends the scale has been called the architect of modern civilization he is viewed by many is the founder of the probability theory and the creator of the first model of a computer on November twentieth or sixteen fifty four the scale had a profound religious experience he wrote in his journal these words I submit myself absolutely to Jesus Christ my Redeemer for Pascal scientific knowledge paled beside the knowledge of God he was ready to face him when he died at the age of thirty nine King David lived to be seventy a longtime zero yet he too had to face death and he wrote these words even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you all with me when I was seventeen years of age I was born River Farm in North Carolina I milked cows every morning the same cows every evening I came home school and make good grades in high school I didn't make them in college until something happened in my heart one day I was face to face with Christ he said I am the Way the Truth and the light can you imagine that I am the truth on the bottom of all truth he was a liar or he was insane or he was what he claimed to be which was odd to make that decision could prove it I couldn't take it to a laboratory and experiment with it but by fate I said I believe him and he came into my heart and changed my life and now I'm ready when I hear that call to go into the presence of God thank you and God bless all of you the it's it's it's really interesting the moment when he came face to face of Christ and to these other insane he's telling the truth headed he added he know what tells you we told him that there's something to believe leader for Daddy she was listening to our country preacher or something and Daddy this park on how to explain it and he made the transition from believing to face any studied the he couldn't explain it to you after that he didn't know what happened but he knew something had happened NE knew he was different the Anne Graham lotz writes and preaches about her faith her dad Billy Graham's Ted talk from nineteen ninety eight is a dot com In a moment believing without faith and I rise and are listening to the Ted Radio Hour from NPR o Hey Everyone Just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who help keep this podcast going first email champ join more than twelve million people and businesses around the world to use male champ to connect with their customers market their products and grow their businesses in ways that feel right for them male chimp being yourself makes all the difference thanks also to Casper their on line mattress retailer the Casper mattress is designed and developed in the USA and engineer for comfort they used to technologies latex phone and memory foam to give just the right amounts in the bounce and a risk free trial to try out your cash for mattress for one hundred sites with free delivery and returns along with a special offer listeners to this show go to Casper dot com slash Radio Hour and use the promo code Radio Hour to redeem fifty dollars toward the Casper actress terms and conditions apply it's the Ted Radio Hour from NPR and I rise in a show today believers and doubters why some people believe by some don't and then there are those who are somewhere in between like Lesley Hazleton the what he But he believe we believe and I don't believe and to believe in doesn't really make too much sense to me was the Hilton writes about the people and the prophets who shape the things many people believe the eye and have a very firm agnostic which I mean that I'm not faithless but I put my faith in Him Corrie and I know this sounds strange but I do have a deep sense of mystery the pup might be called religious mystery and it was the sense of mystery of religious mystery that prompted Leslie who by the way is an agnostic Jew that prompted her to spend five years of her life researching and writing a biography about the Prophet Muhammad and it all started with one question one question kept nagging her here she is on the Ted stage by families of waking each morning Misty Seattle to what I knew was an impossible question what actually happened one does at night half the world and almost half of history away what happened that is on the night in the year six hundred and ten when Muhammad received the first revelation of the coup on Ana Mountains this time I think this is the core mystical moment of Islam and as such because it defies empirical analysis which might be why when I looked at the earliest accounts we have of that night what struck me even more than what happened was that not happen Muhammad did not come floating off the mountain is the walking on air he did not run down shouting Hallelujah for little or no choirs of angels no music this fee is no elation and ecstasy no golden aura surrounding him no sense of an absolute for change role as the message of hot quite the country in his own report it works he was convinced at first that what happened could have been MIA the what did that he was terrified he was in fear for his life he thought this angelic apparition this voice was going to smother him is going to just just literally squeeze the life out of his chest the villian is going to die and he didn't his first reaction was that he had to be mad he had to be insane this had to be delusion and the he was terrified lest other people say this if it effect it was so sure that he could only be my own pleasure in the twenty finalists up for life his first impulse was to finish the job himself to leap off the highest cliff and escape the terror of what he'd experienced by putting an end to all my experience the the the man who fled done the mountain that night jumbled not this choice is stark primordial fear the the he was overwhelmed with conviction by the the the wall the Kiki was the hour I think the best of us the worst of us that those who never got the flu so sure that we possess the absolute truth that we become less human what struck me about Mohammed thirty five entered into this life was how extraordinary human he was and his ability to acknowledge his own infallibility we sit there by the way of a Last Words of Jesus Father why have You forsaken Me wonderful exquisite agonizing moment of doubt while it is not the Pope of Islam he's the prophet and prophets too can doubt this is what makes him human to human for some like conservative Muslim theologians who maintain that the account of his wanting to kill himself shouldn't even be mentioned despite the fact that it's in the earliest Islamic biographies they insists that he never doubted even a single moment alone to span demanding perfection they refuse to tolerate human and perfection yet what exactly is imperfect about down the last holdout of what's left is not in the gaps in the heart of conviction by the the the the the the sow doubt is essential when I think it's part of us that we need to cherish behalf this idea that doubt has somehow imperfect that the something wrong with that is this desire for certainty that I see that it's so dangerous than the desire for perfect ability to just let go of perfection is just accept that we're human we're imperfect that's what makes is interesting that's what makes the world interesting if we were all perfect and we were all alike we would die of boredom just like his faith and conviction began I think they're into separate spheres the people I know of deepest faith and not convinced they have faith despite that does in fact because of their doubts it's a dunce and a very very aware of this need goes beyond belief in the they know that this is not rational and yet they commit themselves in is that active commitment that existential act of commitment that I sewed my very very deep sense that religion is in the sense not even about God it's about humans it's about making ourselves better people cool Hazleton she's the author of the first Muslim The Story of Muhammad you can see her entire talk at Ted got NPR the dork though had them lay hello hello oh you know they're your ex this is the comedian Julia Sweeney what is it that you believe it well I think first of the word believe it has a lot of different connotations I think when people talk about religion they take belief to be the same as faith the soul I would like to define the word believe in the way you're asking me the question as in What do I have confidence in okay fine ok I have confidence in the scientific method I have confidence in the biological history of our species being interconnected and tribal and helping each other and connected through love and family and relations as if answering your question the the the this is a complicated idea for Julie Sweeney she's been wrestling with what it means to believe for most of her life and it's a story that she told on the Ted stage on September tenth the morning of my seventh birthday I came downstairs the kitchen where my mother was washing the dishes and my father was reading the paper or something and I sort of presented myself to them in the doorway and they say duh happy birthday and I said I'm seven and my father smiled and said Well you know about means don't you and I said yeah having a party McKay can get a lot of presents my dad said well yes certainly being seven means that you've reached the age of reason and are now capable of committing any and all sins against God in man the city yet age of reason was I might have said what we believe in the Catholic church that knows that little kids don't know the difference between right and wrong but when you're seven you're old enough to know better seem grown up and reach the age of reason and now God will start keeping notes on you and begin your permanent record and I said at the the way home and the all the time up till today the time I was so good I didn't notice my mom said Well I noticed the the the not known this before from the sun the the little known real credit for in the eye not to realize is very important information on the very day that was basically useless to me so I said whoa Mom and Dad what about Santa Claus I mean Santa Claus knows if you're not here nicer I am a dead city the money I think that is technically just between Thanksgiving my mother said the hops top that lets the I mean she's seven Jilly there is no Santa Claus The The The The The The I didn't know if the time but I really wasn't turning seven on September tenth for my thirteenth birthday I planned a slumber party with all of my girlfriends but a couple of weeks before hand my mother took me aside and said I need to speak to you privately September Tem is not your birthday it's October tenth I said what she said listen the cutoff date to start kindergarten was September fifteen I know I told him that your bird that was a member campaign that I wasn't sure that you are going to go boy and about all over the place so I started to tell you the day was September ten A J are so ready to start school honey are so ready I thought about it when I was four I was already the oldest of four children and my mother even had another child to come so I think she understandably really meant was that she was so ready she was ready then she said Don't worry Julie every year on October ten when it was her birthday but you didn't realize it I made sure the you a piece of cake that day it wasn't until years later looking back on this whole age of reason change a birthday thing that dawned on me the majors seven The The The The tabs on me who I can be so powerful the the the picture crazy story did any of this like shape the way you thought about any of your beliefs well I had always had a sort of affectionate relationship with the Catholic Church which I was raised in a cafe culture and I liked it I love the Catholic school and I love the nuns an hour and then when it came to believe part of it I was was a little bit skeptical but I didn't look into it very deeply until she did one afternoon when Julie heard a knock at the door and there were two Mormon missionaries who were standing there and they said they had a message for me from God I said a message for me from God and they said yes now I was raised in the Pacific Northwest around a lot of Church of Latter day Saints people and you know I work with them even gave them but I never really knew the doctrine or what they said to people when they're out on a mission I guess we sorta curious so I said Please come in and they looked really happy because I don't think this happens to them all that off the sofa set them down and I got the glasses of water and after niceties they said Do you believe that God loves you with all his heart and I thought well of course I believe in God but you know I don't like that would hurt because of cancer for more prizes garden I don't like what he is either because that sexual eyes is God but I didn't want to argue semantics of these boys so after a very long uncomfortable pause I said yes yes I do I feel very loved and they looked at each other and smiled like that was the right answer and they said you believe the brothers and sisters on this planet and I said yes I do yes I do and I was so relieved that was a question I can answer so quickly but the question they ask me when I first arrive really stuck in my head that I believe that God loved me with all his heart because I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about that question now if they ask me do you do for the whole the crowd loves you with all his heart that would've been much different I think I would have instantly answered Yes yes I feel it all the time I I feel God's love when I'm hurt and confused and I feel consoled and cared for I take shelter in God's love when I don't understand why tragedy hits and and I feel God's love when I look with gratitude all the beauty I see sissy ass me that question with the word believing that somehow was all different because I wasn't exactly sure if I believed what I so clearly felt the the the the Julia this is how your talk and I have so many more questions for you or so at this point I guess I should reveal that not long after his Mormon missionaries came to visit you you actually became an atheist how that happened you remember well it was over a two year period but there was a moment it was a epiphany of sorts there's a religious word for you the um I had been doing a lot of reading and research about religion and I was walking through the backyard and it suddenly hit me that I didn't believe anymore like I really didn't believe in God
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Believers And Doubters

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