Ideas of the science of religion are complicated.
God is difficult to bring into the laboratory, and it is very hard to quantify the sacred,
but science is beginning to ask questions about
the results or the consequences of participating in religious life.
Questions like: does participating in a religious community,
does having faith in God,
does engaging in a process of building a relationship with the divine,
do those questions add positivity to people’s lives?
And the research is conclusive, and the research shows that yes,
a person who participates in a faith community,
who has a relationship with God,
and who is on a quest for purpose,
that their lives are better
and that they do scale higherin the tests of well-being and happiness.
Does that mean it is because as they engage in a process of discovering their faith and
deepening their relationship with the God that it is reciprocated on high?
I don’t know; that it is very hard to quantify.
But what we do know is thatpeople who participate actively in faith community,
they have a higher standard of health
and that might bebecause within religious communities,
in the best-case scenario,
宗教教义 宗教智慧 以及宗教实践都是围绕着
the teachings and the wisdom and the practices are about things like
family, personal responsibility,
making a positive impact in the world,
helping others, deepening relationships;
and all of those practices do add a positive value to a person’s life.
And so the reactions or the consequences for participating in a faith community
do add positive value and well-beingand life satisfaction to people’s lives.
Positive psychology got its start from the awareness
that the field was focused too much on people’s weaknesses
and not their strengths,
and so Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson
worked to shift the way psychology is practiced,
rather than think of someone and their problems
we think of someone and their strengths,
and we try to develop of those strengths,
try to see the best in people.
Everybody has signature strengths,
and we want to focus and help them develop those
and in developing those
it helps to shore-up some of their weaknesses.
In a communal setting,
expanding on the inventory,
we try to apply the same characteristics that are articulated for individuals
but we try to put them into practice in a communal setting.
And in a community setting iswhere Judaism lends itself beautifully
to applying the inventory of strengths and characteristics.
So the intersection of where positive psychology and the science of happiness
intersect with positive religion and positive Judaism
really live at the intersection of PERMA.
PERMA is an acronym,
分别代表积极情绪 投入 关系
which stands for positive emotion, engagement, relationships,
meaning, and accomplishment.
So let’s take each of these five domains
and see them in the context of religious practice.
So we’ll start with P, positive emotion.
In a best-case scenario you think about a sanctuary
or an amphitheater setting where faith communities gather,
and there are messages of hope, there are soothing melodies,
there’s good music, there’s fellowship,
and all of those combined together are designed to
raise the positive emotion in someone’s life.
And I can tell you that when I travel
我去了不同的教堂 会堂 清真寺
I go to different churches, synagogues, mosques—
over the summer I was in Iceland
and I went to a Episcopal church in Reykjavík
where the entire ceremony was spoken in Icelandic
and I didn’t understand a word,
but over the course of an hour and a half I felt my energy level shift
and I walked out of that chapel
feeling more positive,
and it has to do with the environment.
So positive emotions are raised by participating in faith community.
Well the best religions are about helping people to engage in the world
and engagement happens in engaging in relationships,
engaging in study, engaging in work,
engaging in the process hopefully ofmaking our world a better place.
Those tend to be key themes in religious life,
and engagement has been shown to add positive value to a person’s life.
Well, relationships are at the heart of most faith communities.
It is about bringing people together.
It is about caring for people.
包括和其它的信徒 神职人员 教导员建立良好的关系
It is about having relationships with fellow congregants, clergy, educators
and relationship with text and relationship with God.
Those are all elements of relationships that add value to a person’s life
when they’re expressed in authentic ways.
Then we have meaning.
So many people are in search of meaningin the 21st century
and wisdom and literature that comes from the great religions are all designed to help people
discover the meaning and the purpose in their lives.
And finally, accomplishment.
Accomplishment is one of the core teachings that come out of good religious practices.
The accomplishment ofmaking the world a better place,
now that is a core teaching in Judaism—
the idea of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world and making it a better place,
and having that as a goal to accomplish both for individuals
and as a collective religious community—
all that combined together in PERMA
seems to be the perfect application of this theory of positive psychology.
And religious settings, I believe,
are that perfect application, that perfect place to
see and to live the theory of PERMAand positive psychology.
现在 在积极犹太教和积极宗教中 除了PERMA
Now there’s more than just PERMA in positive Judaism and positive religion,
there’s also a studied set of characteristics and strengths
that come directly from the work of Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson,
who in the 1990s developed an inventory of strengths.
There have been some changes to this inventory,
but in a nutshell it has codified 24 different
personality strengths like
希望 乐观 勇敢 灵性 善良
hope, optimism, bravery, spirituality, goodness,
kindness, and others.
And the idea is that each person has signature strengths,
but understood in the context of the larger inventory,
people can see where they fit into the scale
and can attempt to develop other areas of strengths
to help improve the quality of their lives.
So in the practice of positive Judaism
we take that inventory very seriously,
and when we think about religious practice—
we draw on those strengths in our teachings
and the way in which we shape experiences for people’s religious engagement.