It’s time to reclaim religion | Sharon Brous

At a moment when the world seems to be spinning out of control, religion might feel irrelevant — or like part of the problem. But Rabbi Sharon Brous believes we can reinvent religion to meet the needs of modern life. In this impassioned talk, Brous shares four principles of a revitalized religious practice and offers faith of all kinds as a hopeful counter-narrative to the numbing realities of violence, extremism and pessimism.

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Comment (100)

  1. I completely agree with Sharon. We need to reinvent religion (אֱמוּנָה) for modern life. There were times in the past when this is exactly what was happening. Religion, inspired by God, was being invented/reinvented (with Abrahamic religions I mean); then the Scriptures got stuck in an authority position, and we're left with interpretation for the freedom we need to live life happily with/under God. – But when I say reinvent, I don't completely mean reinvent. I think what exists is fine with interpretative freedom. I mean – and if I understand correctly Sharon is also meaning this – that we're better off with religion; but it needs to be understood in a modern and harmonious way. I love religious ladies; but I really do think women make better state/civic leaders, and men better religious leaders. I think it's slightly disordered to have publicly female religious leaders (other than Myriam, מִרְיָם, Mother of God). Sorry. Maybe it's because women are given a hard time in other areas, I don't know. Errm… 15:03… Transphobia… I'm not "transphobic"… but I really think the transexual thing is out of control also. If newborns are born slightly gender ambiguous, and need gender enforcement; then so be it; and everyone can be discreet and respectful about that. – But unfortunately, with all the Rights activism, LGBT, etc., transexuals are discussed too openly in a way that doesn't benefit anyone; and please let's make transgender surgery illegal for older people. Such problems should be nipped in the bud, right from the beginning. Anyway, thank you Sharon Brous. Very well spoken. Good topic.

  2. Religion is a cover up for greed and is divide and conquer mechanism.
    Dear lady Rabby, please show us example in Israel and stop apartheid, true Semite holocaust – genocide of Palestinians and Arab people. IF YOU CAN STOP ZIONIST YOU WILL STOP EVERYTHING.

  3. Religious people have to stop making their religion a problem. Stop using the name of religion for violence and oppression. Stop using it to deny science, progress, and weaken education. Stop using it to push your shortsighted ideals through politics and government. Stop using it to divide people. Then yes, religion might be nice. As for right now, religion is a force against humanity. We're in a crisis against widespread unintelligence and religion is on the wrong side every time. Just because you believe in diety(s) and are a part of an elitist community doesn't mean that you can shut your brain off to the rest of the world, its science, and the solutions it needs. It doesn't mean that you can neglect types of people different than your own. Religion is a club and only some people are a part of it. It divides using ignorance.

  4. I wouldn't deny that religion has values that are inherently good, that it can bring health, emotional stability and goodness to society – but the way it is built, namely around dogma and non-critical thinking, is flawed and always leads to it being misused.

    Instead of always updating religion about the new values we got from scientific research, I think it would be better to abandon religion and dogma altogether and build something new out of the good elements of it. One that might include traditions and emotional preaches, but does not, at any point, teach something dogmatically. Read Alain de Botton's "Religion for Atheists" if you are interested.

  5. You don't need religion to be a good person or have a better life. If you want to help people, just do it. Religion is just a way to control people. I don't believe and the only I don't is there is no evidence.

  6. When she said "reclaim", is she under the impression that religion has ever been a force of good at some point and we need to revert to that state? I'd say that religion has always been bad, still is and will continue to be.

  7. Religion made so many people happy, but also suffer. Self proclaimed Insitutions tried to control them without teaching them any spirtual ways ( you dont have to believe to believe) – whats left are millions of people religously defending their earthly values, may it be left right middle IDC. If religion would have had any long lasting positive effect, modern society would grow together in bad times, instead they steal from their neighbors. If more would see the good healty part of religion, spirituality – most people would realize, that all humans are the same, but completely indifferent at the same time – what makes our lifes so much easier. Life free of prejudice for some time and you'll see beauty in every step.

    Its not important if my god is the only one or his. Whats important is that we are meeting at a dinner, and not in the battlefield.

  8. We need to move on from the need of spiritual relationship as a coping mechanism; to cope with our insecurities and problems. Be a better person, grow up and face the problem ourselves. Culture, literature, music and arts should replace religion instead.

  9. I haven't watched the video in full yet, however, just off the bat, I give the disclaimer that as an atheist and someone who values beliefs and practices based on empiricism and reasoning, I think humanity would do much better without religion or any form of faith for faith's sake. I say that keeping in mind not only the moral and social implications but also because I have reason to believe that viewing the world as it presents itself instead of molding it according to our own biases is a more favorable and constructive way to live. Nevertheless, being a realist, I also recognize the fact that theism is still a very prevalent part of the social discourse around the world and, although faith is decreasing in the West, the "net religiosity" in the world as a whole is actually a positive value. In other words, like it or not, religion will remain a very important part of the human experience for a very long time to come. So, since that is the case, I think the premise of the speaker is actually very decent; remodeling religion to make it fit the modern narrative is a very good proposal, considering the fact that humanity as a whole is still not ready to move past religious thinking.

  10. First of all, great speech really. But a supreme being as God(if exists) won't waste his/her time looking at people whether they are doing wrong or right things. It's fairy tale. Teaching next generation why religion is a bad idea and why not to go back to religion ever is the right thing to do now.

  11. I understand why people hate religion. I am not religious, I only believe in the things I see, the philosophy I learned through out my whole life. But I also think that religion is not about believing some things and stories that do not exist such as GOD. It's more about meditate and form your inner world. We could just absorb the good things from religion and get rid of things that you don't think as true. Things are simple, don't make it too complicated.

  12. Like with everything good that reaches a bigger audience there seem to be a great amount of close- minded people, lead by their prejudices, like you see in the comment section
    You don't have to be religious to find that an inspirational, educational talk

  13. So this speaker is essentially against all the artefacts, indoctrination, lazy thinking that arises from organised religion (because people are people, and people are naturally lazy and corruptible), but is still somehow for it because… hope… interconnectedness… some allegories… buzzwords. I'm not sure this is an intellectual basis for discussion, this is just one of her sermons.

  14. The reason religion has been so successful is because it held societies together, just like democracy and capitalism hold our world together today. All societal constructs have flaws and can be used to help or hurt people.
    The presenter is talking about bringing religion into the modern age so that it actually fulfills its purpose again: keeping people together.
    I don't know what the end product will look like, it most likely won't be look like any of our current religions. This is just the first step.

  15. Her sentiments are in the right place, but religion and definitely faith (believing nonsense against all evidence) still belong to the infancy of our species. It's our first, and therefore wrong, attempt at understanding the world. The scientific method still remains our best effort at understanding, and it shows.

  16. You don't need religion when you have yourself. Everything you need is within. There's too much separation in religion. Separation only makes sense to people who are separate from themselves. Religion cannot survive what is to come. It's not true, it's not real, and it never will be. The shift in human consciousness will reach a tipping point, and eventually, religion will be eradicated.

    What kind of peaceful world do you expect to come from following certain man-made (and preferred) rules about how to live? You only need that when you're insecure with yourself and not able to trust others. You need walls, barricades, and the level of defenses reflective of the US military. Or – you don't. You just need to find your own inner security, inner peace, and you have to love yourself. We have to take responsibility for healing ourselves, and not relying on others to do all the work. Because sometimes those others don't care. They want your money and they want to see you suffer in servitude to them. Sounds sick and dark, but it's true, because that's how they carry on. They rely on your sickness of mind, body, and spirit. And that's why religion is toxic to humanity.

    Just wait a while. The information is coming.

  17. Personally, I have nothing against religion if it is spiritually helping any individual to achieve personal enlightenment. It is, however, a problem when religion is trying to merge with the reality that we dwell in, for it is too idealistic for a flawed world.

  18. I think everyone needs to take a step back and actually listen to this talk. She's essentially saying religious extremism and 'Going through the motions' is what is killing religion in the modern age. AND that it's the job of current religious leaders to fix it. They're the problem THEY must be the solution. This is not even close to a proselytized message telling us to be baptized or were dammed. Who actually watched this video?

  19. And yet you people can't answer a simple question. Maybe the only question that matters: Why am I here?

    Until you have dwelled over that well and hard enough, I agree, you will never need religion. And the world doesn't need you.

  20. Bravo!!! Bravo for this passionate and smart woman, far away from abandoning God now more than ever we need to have it present in our lives; but as she says, in a more conscient way, not in a repetitive

  21. Hearing this lady whimper about the inevitable death of religion makes me happy. 🙂
    It's time to dump the childish superstitions and absurd ancient myths. I'm sure they are going to do their best to cling to their brainwashed masses every way they can, but reality will win.

    Looking forward to the day with no religion left at all! :D

  22. To the extent that religion requires belief in a god or gods, I can't buy it – I think we're way beyond that.

    However, wakefulness, hope, connection, and even "mightyness" are all useful concepts, so more power to you in promoting those.

  23. Until so many people stop using religion as a weapon to harm or using it as a wall to isolate, I will not respect religion. It happens far too often by way too many. It is a bad idea that has worn out its welcome.

  24. Religion does not provide a basis for morality and does not come close to informing us about our origins.
    What then is it for?
    Bronze age mythology has no place in the age of information!

  25. I am an atheist, and I do not believe that the future of the human race is in the hands of religions, but it is true that we are beings who seek a meaning for life when it is very likely that we will never find it, The alternative for all those people who can not wake up in the morning without a god to worship, what Sharon explains is a better way of expressing, without violence and without interfering with the progress of the rest of humanity that can live with the taste of what knowledge and science gives us.

  26. "Brous shares four principles of a revitalized religious practice and offers faith of all kinds as a hopeful counter-narrative to the numbing realities of violence, extremism and pessimism."

    A counter narrative!? Religion is one of the worlds main causes of division, violence and hate I'm convinced of it. The last thing we need is more!
    More philosophy yes I agree. Just as where astrology ends astronomy begins and where alchemy end chemistry begins, where religion ends philosophy begins… There is no philosophical or moral code worth listening to, that can not be followed void of a god.

  27. What a load of garbage! basically shes saying "let us cherry pick what we are reading!"
    Also there is nothing called ISLAMOPHOBIA, islam is a violent religion and to be scared from something violent is absloutly normal.
    Sincerely, an ex muslim.

  28. Religion might feel irrelevant? Boo hoo. You can still experience awe and amazement without religion. You can still feel humbled by the vastness of the universe itself. Beauty doesn't come from religion, either. It feels irrelevant because it is irrelevant. Get used to it. Things change.

  29. There is a great essay called "Is life worth living?" by Harvard professor William James who is also one of the founders of modern pragmatism. The essay talks about breaking free of naive religion and finding a new religios believe in order to overcome the pessimism that is the result of the conflict of naive religion and modern science. It's really worth reading and it contains most of what is said in this video.

    Here you go with the pdf.

  30. The reviews only show how much education the so called enlightened and aware community needs on religion. Beautiful talk. Thank you very much.

    I did watch it till the very end before commenting or giving a thumbs up as opposed to most people who came with their heads closed and left with their heads equally (if not more) closed.

  31. Religion was a great thing in the past, before technology. It brought cohesion and unity to ancient societies, allowing them to work together(overall) to ultimately bring us to where we are today. Religion has served us well as the training wheels of civilization, but we are at the threshold of where it's time we take off the training wheels and find our own balance. For the first time in human history we are truly beginning to understand how nature works and our place in it. I will concede that we must be cautious to not become a mass of pleasure addicted libertines and spiral down into a self destructive, devolving mess. We must police our own self discipline and work to gain complexity and knowledge. There are many good things in religion about how to live and conduct ourselves that shouldn't be abandoned only for the sake of spurning religion. This is a critical point in humanity. I find it difficult to believe in an external, conscious and intelligent source of pure good(or evil.) I think good and evil are human constructs but that doesn't mean we should be harmful to ourselves, or each other. Religion without its teeth is an empty box, we have no choice but to shed it and find a new philosophy to carry us forward as one race with one cause.

  32. I think many people have forgotten why people believe in God. It isn't because its what we did in the past. Its not because we under stand God. It is because it's what we have found to be true. You don't stop believing because you don't like it because the very act of discuss still shows that you hate what is real. I know many atheists believe we should abandon religion because they think it causes problems but that is like saying you don't believe guns are real because they shot someone. All I'm saying is that I believe not what is fun but what I believe to be true.

  33. I wonder if the people commenting even saw the video. This is a very beautiful way to think about religion. And I know religion it is not for everybody, but the idea that people come together as a community inspired by love and service is what religion should be about. She is acknowledging that religion has changed (as it should have) since it's beginning, and now it's time to reshape it to our new world. And being part of a group that preaches love and makes us see how much good in this world EACH of us can make is not by any means a bad idea. It is much better than the culture of individualism and cynicism that we have. She is amazing.

  34. Wow…I can't believe the number of close minded responses to this very inspiring talk. It truly seems like we have a problem of people not understanding what religion really is or should be, which I guess is her point. Religion and science are by no means incompatible. They're part of one beautiful whole.

  35. Religion is sadly all too relevant. It continues to run rampage in all parts of the world where it can. Causing harm and damage both psychological and physical. Faith, belief in things without evidence. Not a virtue. Hope, that things will improve without striving to improve them, not a virtue.

  36. Murdering non-religious people is the norm for just about all religions, throughout history. Murdering people of other religions is the norm throughout history. Murdering people of your own religion with mildly different views is also normal.

    Religion has NEVER been about peace. Your imaginary friend is not a solution. Religion is the greatest evil in this world, and it always has been.

    The "Heart" of your religion is hate, hate of others, hate of people who are not your own.

    Selectively reading your holy books is insane. If you honestly believe that your books are the unfailable word of god, there is no picking and choosing. Your god/gods either exist and caused the creation of that text, or it does not, and did not. There is no middle ground.


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