Every mammal, big or small, has the same number of heartbeats in its life. I wondered whether the same laws of “scaling” would apply to the Jewish community.
Physically going to your mosque, temple, church, or place of worship continually predicts a longer life. Why would this be the case?
While I have had the title “rabbi” for a few years, I have had the title “daddy” for just under a month. Naturally, this new relationship is causing me to think of all sorts of questions.
While we hope that our life is easy, with few storms to toss us around, when disasters do happen, we truly see our ability and our need to connect with others. And even more striking, we see just how much it brings out the best in everyone.
In the internet age, we are all not only consumers of content, but producers of it, as well. Anything we say or share might become the basis of others’ work, and more likely than not, they will simply have to trust that we are telling the truth.
It’s inherently challenging for believers and atheists to have productive conversations. But one bright person interested in broadening the conversation is Sam McNerney, a science writer who focuses on cognitive science and an atheist interested in religion from a psychological point of view. So as two people with different religious outlooks we wondered: what can we learn from each other?
There often is tension between our religious beliefs and our religious identities — between our religious teachings that tell us to be compassionate to all people, and the way religious groups can create an “us” and “them” mentality. But “who we are” is very much “what we do.”
Many of the things that make our brains happy are now more harmful than helpful. And some people place religion in that category, as well. Religion is like fatty foods, they claim — something we should outgrow and move beyond. But I think the better question is, what aspects of religion should we try to outgrow?
The question isn’t “how Jewish are we?” or “how religious are we?” The real question is, “How can Judaism help us to become better people and to create a better world?”
Beliefs (even religious beliefs) themselves are neither good nor bad — it’s how those beliefs manifest themselves in our actions that we need to examine.