Tag Archives: Judaism

What’s Good About Monotheism, Again? What Part Of It Is Worth Treasuring And Rooting For? And Why, Exactly, Is God Always Gendered Male?

Robbed, killed, raped, enslaved–all in the name of God. Ain’t monotheism grand? Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East? ISIS and other extremist movements across the region are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in … Continue reading

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The Religion Tree: A Poem

THE RELIGION TREE I. The leaf doesn’t fall far from the tree, and we are all leaves on the same tree, and will take our leave from there. II. The yellow leaf signals fall, the green leaf, pride before the fall. … Continue reading

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A Film That Appears To Be Worth Seeing

This looks good and has gotten a lot of recent attention and critical acclaim. It has also generated controversy. It opens in New York and Los Angeles May 24, 2013. Directed by Rasha Burshtein, an Orthodox Jewish woman who lives … Continue reading

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Which Religion is Best? The Admirable Superhero Criterion

There are five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. They can be judged by any number of criteria. Which one has the most admirable superhero? There are certainly compelling characters in four of the five: Jesus is awesome … Continue reading

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Egypt without Jews, Christians, and Pyramids?

Jews have been a part of Egypt and its history for over three thousand years, but Islamic fundamentalism’s steady rise in the country has absurdly driven their numbers literally into the dozens. A new documentary, made by an Egyptian and … Continue reading

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Pushback against Biblical Literalism Directed at Homosexuals

John Corvino provides some pushback to biblical literalists on the subject of homosexuality: __________ And Marc Ambinder recently wrote a moving reflection on how difficult it still is for young gay teens: Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve met a lot … Continue reading

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Did God Die In The Holocaust?

In the 1930s and 40s, a great many Jews in Europe would have exercised their free will in the direction of Adolf Hitler’s head by putting a bullet in it, but God (if He exists) did not give a single Jew … Continue reading

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Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Joins Prayer for Destruction of Jews and Their Allies

Um, those allies would include those of us in the United States. __________ And we give them money. (Or, more accurately, we borrow money from the Chinese and then pass it on to the Egyptians.) Especially galling is when the cleric … Continue reading

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Does God Want You To Be Curious?

In a recent interview, science writer Philip Ball talks about his new book on curiosity, and implicates religion in stifling it: It’s certainly true that the instinct to know more about our environment must go back as far as humanity … Continue reading

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The Idol of War: Why God is Not an Islamist, an Orthodox Jew, or a Republican Christianist

How does one extract God from the mob? The Catholic contemplative Thomas Merton, in his book New Seeds of Contemplation (originally published in 1962), made the following startling observations about strong hate: Strong hate, the hate that takes joy in hating, is … Continue reading

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NYC Seeks Ban on “Dinosaur” and “Evolution” in Standardized Tests. Sam Wineburg Has a Wonderful Retort.

When CNN reported last week on the fifty words that the New York City Department of Education seeks to ban from its standardized tests, the list was discovered to include “dinosaur” and “evolution.” Fundamentalist Christian, Orthodox Jewish, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, … Continue reading

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A Bit of Advice on Translation from Leon Wieseltier

Leon Wieseltier, annoyed by what he regards as a dreadful translation of the Haggadah, offers an important distinction for would-be translators to consider: All translation is interpretation, since it is a choice among meanings; but translation is not the same … Continue reading

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The Coming War with Iran: Will American Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Be to Blame?

It certainly appears that Sheldon Adelson would have more than a little bit of responsibility for America’s war with Iran, should it occur. Here’s an alarming bit of background on Sheldon Adelson in the Financial Times on Sunday: Then there is Sheldon Adelson, … Continue reading

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Arnaud De Borchgrave on a (Forthcoming) Nuclear Iran and Israel’s (Unpleasant) Options

Arnaud De Borchgrave is a realpolitik conservative who’s 85 years-old, but he’s still in the game. Of Iran he recently wrote the following for the Washington Times: What former CENTCOM commanders and Israeli intelligence chiefs have in common is intimate knowledge of Iran’s formidable … Continue reading

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The War on Christmas Comes to Israel?

This curious ad comes from the Israeli government. Its purpose is to discourage Israelis from marrying American Jews or moving to America (as either of these might lead to such horrors as Christmas-celebrating grandchildren). Andrew Sullivan sees the ad as … Continue reading

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Let Freedom Sing: Feminism Under Fire in Israel

The intellectual and cultural rot of religious fundamentalism continues its 21st century spread. This is in Haaretz today: Secular and religious cabinet members engaged in a heated discussion over the issue of women’s rights in Israel on Sunday, forcing Prime … Continue reading

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Iran vs. Israel in 2012: Cuban Missile Crisis 2.0?

The Jerusalem Post today quotes Wim Kortenoeven expressing concern over Israel’s ongoing existence should Iran acquire nuclear weapons. Kortenoeven, described by the Post as “a leading expert on the Middle East” and an official of Holland’s Party of Freedom, is … Continue reading

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Iranian Cleric Calls Israel a Cornered Cat

The Jerusalem Post today quotes Ayatollah Mahmoud Alavi, a senior cleric in Iran, as saying that Israel (which he calls “the Zionist regime” and “a cornered cat”) “will receive a crushing response from the Islamic Republic” if it tries to take out Iran’s … Continue reading

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2012: Will Iran’s Nuke Program Lead to the End of the World?

Maybe. The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, . . . believes Israel is closer to utilizing the military option in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program than it is to finding a diplomatic solution to the threat. . … Continue reading

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Baloney Detector

How well does a belief that you currently subscribe to hold up under these 10 questions? Do I have any actual evidence for the thing I say I believe, and what is the extent and quality of that evidence? If … Continue reading

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