Content (Page 52)
While the calendar can remind us when sacred moments happen, we are the ones who have the power to truly make them significant.
Awareness, intentionality and self-knowledge have become rich sources of scientific inquiry. Interestingly, these ideas also have deep resonance with teachings found within Jewish tradition.
While some people think of science and religion as being inherently in conflict, I think it’s because they tend to define “religion” as “blind acceptance and complete certainty about silly, superstitious fantasies.” Quite honestly, if that’s what religion really was, I wouldn’t be religious! In fact, it’s not “religion” in general, but that particular definition of religion that is so often in conflict with science. Instead, my experience with Judaism has been that it embraces science quite easily. So why is that?
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.
Yes, there are reasons to be afraid. But it is crucial for our fears not to dictate our actions. After all, it is far too easy to use emotions like anger, sadness or anxiety as justifications for “why we did what we did.” Instead, our responsibility is to act on our deepest values — even though we are afraid.
There is a difference been retributive justice, which gives us a primal sense of pleasure, and restorative justice, which is about our responsibilities as we try move forward from this moment on.
What makes a moment truly special isn’t the moment itself — it’s how that moment changes the future. Holiness is about marking a transition,but the crucial thing to remember is that the implications of a holy moment can’t end at that moment.
Either God exists, or God doesn’t. And we have absolutely no control over that fact. And so because there’s nothing we can do about whether there is a God or not, I’ve never found that question to be a particularly interesting one to ask. After all, when the question is framed in that way, there are really only three answers people can give — “Yes, I do,” “No, I don’t,” or “I’m not sure.”
On the one hand, we want to accept ourselves where we are, and yet we also want to strive to be better. But walking a tightrope is stressful — it is far too easy to fall over one side or the other. So some researchers have wondered: is there a more effective way to help us accept our human failings and be motivated to improve?
We spend much more time wandering in the wilderness than living in the Promised Land. In fact, that may be why the Torah was given in middle of the wilderness — to remind us that while the Promised Land is wonderful, we learn our greatest lessons on the journey along the way.
Is “intelligence” the same thing as “wisdom”? Or, to phrase it another way, if computers can become “intelligent,” is there any way they could become “wise”?
To me, our goal shouldn’t be getting rid of religion — it should be about moving beyond the “Santa Claus” view of God to create a more sophisticated theology, and using religion to improve our world, rather than harm it.