Are religious fundamentalists missing the point of religion?

Don't take the Bible so seriously, says religious scholar and fully interesting guy Rob Bell.

Culture & Religion

Religious scholar, pastor, and all-around fascinating guy Rob Bell thinks that most everyone teaching religious texts these days is teaching it wrong. It's a lot of parables and metaphors, he posits, and there's no way that people should be reading religious texts like the Bible or the Quran literally. As we've seen over the course of history, the more fundamentalist the approach to religion, the more destruction is caused. Apply the stories to the historical context to which they came from, he says, and you'll learn to appreciate religious texts a lot more. Rob's latest book is What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything.

How to find your happiness: The Japanese philosophy of Ikigai

Is today a repeat of yesterday? Rob Bell explains how the Japanese concept of Ikigai can help you wake up with a sense of wonder and purpose.

Personal Growth

What gets you out of bed in the morning? If your only answer to that question is: 'My alarm clock,' then firstly, that's detention, and secondly: where is your sense of purpose? Spiritual teacher Rob Bell explains how his discovery of Ikigai—a Japanese life philosophy—crystilized a problem he was seeing too often, in most people he met. In your late teens or early twenties, you typically land on a path that you follow for the rest of your life. You picked a degree and now you're stuck. You made a decision and now it seems too late to choose again. That can lead us to a deeply unsatisfying place, where today is just a repeat of yesterday. Ikigai contains "this really interesting idea, that when you no longer have something that gets you out of bed in the morning, then you’re kind of dead, even if you’re still alive," says Bell. Your reason for being should shift many times over the course of your life, and looking at your life as containing many seasons— rather than one long stretch—can be a better way to frame and find fulfillment. Ikigai asks four key questions, at the center of which you can find your purpose: 1) What do you love? 2) What are you good at? 3) What does the world need from you? 4) What can you get paid for? Rob Bell is the author of What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything.

Hungry for meaning: Is there a conflict between science and spirituality?

Spirituality plays a different ballgame than science, so the language used in either of them doesn't often match up to the other side. This, says religious teacher Rob Bell, creates a lot of conflicts.

Culture & Religion

Spirituality plays a different ballgame than science, so the language used in either of them doesn't often match up to the other side. New York Times bestselling author and spiritual teacher Rob Bell posits that the two need each other to help describe this modern world. Whereas science deals with explaining cold hard facts, spirituality deals in vagueries that can often help the more human and emotional sides of us a lot more. For instance, grieving families of a plane crash don't want to be told the plane crashed because the force of acceleration became less than the force of gravity — they want to be told that their loved ones are in a better place. Both science and spirituality are searching for the truth, says Rob Bell, and therein lies their similarities. Rob's latest book is What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything.

The power of story: Why great sermons aren't just for the religious

A great sermon doesn’t mean setting props on fire—but it sure doesn’t hurt, says Rob Bell.

Culture & Religion

A great sermon doesn’t mean setting props on fire—but it sure doesn’t hurt, says Rob Bell. Having gone into preaching after being in a band, Bell's methods are unorthodox—and the world is a better place for it. Rather than use the sermon as a belief-affirmation device, or to sway votes and donations, Bell uses his sermons to connect dots of meaning into a universal narrative. "A sermon is for everyone. The sermon isn’t for a particular people who have already agreed that they all believe a particular, narrow set of things. A sermon is about what it means to be human... You think about Martin Luther King—"I have a dream". Now that’s a sermon... It was dangerous and comforting and healing and provocative and you learned something and it gave you a new vision for what might be possible—that the sermon is an art form." Here, Bell shares his three-step process for how to tell a powerful story. Rob Bell is the author of How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living.