Speaking

 

Jeffrey Small is an acclaimed speaker, having taught public speaking at Harvard and lectured to thousands of students on the topics of religion in the 21st century and the common spiritual themes present in the world’s religions.

Jeffrey also speaks on the following additional topics:


  1. 1.  The Nature of God:

How can we understand and speak about God in a modern world? Is God the potter, the watchmaker, or the chess master of the universe, or are there new models of God and new symbols to understand the infinite divine behind our everyday existence? For a preview, see this blog post.


  1. 2. The Truth Behind Science and Religion:

A brief history of scientific thought and its relation to religion. Must these disciplines stand in conflict with each other? Or can our theology evolve to embrace our new scientific understanding of the universe?  For a preview, see this blog post.


  1. 3. Why Suffering Must Exist

An exploration of one of the most difficult problems in theology: if God is loving and all-powerful, then why does evil, suffering, and death exist?  For a preview, see this blog post.


  1. 4. Who was Jesus of Nazareth?

An overview of research on the historical Jesus and alternatives to how we think about and understand the Christ.  For a preview, see this blog post.


  1. 5. Connection: Ethics and Morality not based on Commandments

Religion is not just about personal transformation, but also about living in community with one another. Morality is an aspect of every religion, yet too often moral rules written thousands of years ago are applied as literal gospel today. How can we move away from a legalistic morality to one based on love and respect?


  1. 6. Simple Spirituality: Everyday Meditation Methods

For thousands of years every one of the world’s religions has taught meditative practices as a core part of their spiritual teachings. Over the past two decades, the modern medical community has embraced meditation as well with over 1000 peer-reviewed studies showing the benefits of this practice. How can we apply these techniques to our lives every day?


  1. 7. Lessons from a Debut Novelist

A talk not about religion, but about Jeffrey’s experience as a critically acclaimed fiction writer. How does one get an agent and get published in today’s literary world? What mistakes and pitfalls did Jeffrey make that you can learn from?  For a preview, see this blog post.


  1. 8. Success versus Significance: Finding and Living your Passion in Life.

How did someone who began his career as a corporate attorney and then became a real estate developer decide to write thrillers and pursue a passion so at odds with his background?  Hear Jeffrey’s story and how you can discover and fulfill your purpose in life too.

“The primary task of a useful teacher is to teach his students to recognize ‘inconvenient’ facts.”

                                                        Max Weber

Speaking Topics


God and the Brain


Is humanity wired to believe in God? All too often, science and religion are portrayed as at odds with each other, yet at research labs across the country, scientists are studying the human brain and its relationship to our religious beliefs and practices. Drawing on his research for his newest book, The Jericho Deception, Jeffrey Small examines questions such as why mystics from the various world religions seem to have similar experiences of the divine, whether a God part of the brain exists, evolutionary theories for religion, and the science behind prayer and meditation.


Spirituality, Mysticism, and the Worlds Religions


What do the Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammad have in common? In addition to being the founders of three of the great world religions, each was also a mystic: each engaged in deep spiritual practices that led them to experience first-hand the Other. Over a century ago Harvard Professor William James noted that at their heart every religion is rooted in altered mystical states of consciousness. Although in today’s scientific and rational age secularism is on the rise and organized religion is on the decline, people still long “to be spiritual” even if they “are not religious.”  But what does it mean to live a spiritual life? How does one go about it?  In addition to discussing the history and science of the common spiritual practices of the world’s religions, Jeffrey will describe how meditation, mindfulness, and centering prayer can be used by the audience to achieve a more balanced, healthier, and connected life.


Understanding Islam


Islam is the fastest growing religion in the World with over a billion followers, yet in the US many see the religion only through news stories about its most fanatical members. Many people are surprised to learn that the root meaning of the word “Islam” is actually “peace,” that the Muslim’s trace their religion back to Abraham—just as Christianity and Judaism do, that many of the Bible’s most cherished stories are found also in the Qur'an, and that the religion prohibits the killing of innocent civilians in the name of religion and preaches tolerance toward Christians and Jews.  Jeffrey explores the theological underpinnings of Islam as well as the origins of Islamic terrorism.


Rethinking Christianity in the 21st Century


What is the fastest growing religious belief in the US? Those who say that they are “not-religious.” Unlike the age of the Biblical writers, we live in a world ruled by science, technology, and secular thought – a world that is interconnected in ways that a few decades ago was unimagined. What is the future of Christian thought in this modern, secular age? How do we conceive of God today? How do we reconcile science and religion without watering down either one? How can we be true to both our intellects and our souls: our minds that must see the world in logical terms and our hearts which yearn for a greater spiritual connection?



East Meets West:

What Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism

Can Learn From Each Other


The largest religion in the world is Christianity, yet 67% of the world’s population is not Christian—over four billion people. China and India have become, not only two of the most influential world economies, but also exporters of religious ideas that have captured the imagination of the West. In a time in which many churches offer both yoga classes as well as meditation instruction, we live in a multicultural society in which contact among faiths that seem to have contrary doctrines is more intimate that ever before. What can a religion centered on the figure of Jesus of Nazareth who is seen by his followers as the divine incarnate, a religion in which the supreme cosmic reality Brahman is also a seed of each of our own selves, and a non-theistic religion that defines a path out of human suffering without the help of a supernatural deity teach each other?



Who Goes to Heaven?

Perspectives on Eternal Life from the World’s Religions


Although Christianity is the largest religion in the world, only 33% of the world's population is Christian. So what are the prospects for eternal life for the other 4 billion people? Join author and scholar Jeffrey Small in a lively presentation on the ancient origins of the concept of resurrection as well as comparative views of heaven and eternal life in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. What can we learn from traditions that are different from our own that may enlighten our views on the meaning of salvation? How can we view eternal life not as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of our lives but instead find salvation during this life?

Click here for information on Jeffrey’s past classes, including links to download powerpoint slides. To listen to a few of his presentations go to Audio/Video.

Format


Each of Jeffrey’s talks is accompanied by a multimedia presentation that audiences have found visually engaging and educational. He will speak for an hour and then take questions for a half-hour. Following the Q&A, Jeffrey will sign copies of his novels.

Praise for Jeffrey Small’s lectures:


“An engaging speaker, Jeffrey’s multi-media presentation is exciting, provocative, yet serious. Those who enjoy both modern science and progressive spirituality will be drawn into his classes and keep coming back for more.”


The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler,

Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip



“With his brilliant scholarship, remarkable talent and dynamic presentation, Jeff Small just may be that urgently needed young prophet for today. We know of no one else with so compelling a calling for us to update and rethink our faith and beliefs in light of the scientific discoveries, biblical research, and societal globalization of today.”

Blaine and Sylvia Kelley,

Founders of the Atlanta Progressive Theology Group

This short selection from one of author Jeffrey Small's lectures explores various theories for why we live in a multi-faith world.

Click here for a schedule of Jeffrey’s upcoming lectures and book signingsUpcoming_Talks.html