Believers and Doubters

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Why do some of us believe, and some of us don't? Can our doubts bring our beliefs into sharper focus? Do we all need to believe in something, and to seek meaning by creating rituals, myths and symbols? And what is the difference between belief and faith? TED speakers offer personal perspectives on belief from all ends of the spectrum, from ardent atheists to the devout faithful.

Evangelist Billy Graham and Anne Graham Lotz, founder and president of AnGeL Ministries, discuss technology and faith. Psychologist and Middle East reporter Lesley Hazleton, calls for a new appreciation of doubt and questioning as the foundation of faith — and an end to fundamentalism of all kinds. SNL actor and writer Julia Sweeney considers how a person goes from believer to atheist. Author Alain de Botton suggests a "religion for atheists" that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence. Self-taught mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik takes an eye-opening look at the myths of India and of the West — and shows how these two fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven help us consistently misunderstand one another.

Learn more or listen again to this week's episode, which originally aired on November 24, 2013.

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Guy Raz