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Archive for April, 2007

A new translation of the Quran has just come out, and I suppose it is a tiny step in the right direction.
It is the monumental work of a Chicago Muslim scholar, Laleh Bakhtiar. She has spent countless hours arriving at the precise translation of each word in order to achieve what she calls “an […]

One newspaper article today reports that Latino Catholics are getting more evangelical and charismatic in their religious services, including speaking in tongues, technically known as “glossolalia.”
One part of me is happy for these people. I’m for anything that floats your boat.
But there’s no doubt in my mind that religious rituals, no matter how […]

What a horrible, horrible thing happened in Virginia this week.
The Chicago Tribune called the killer a “monster” and was criticized for blurring the line between evil and insanity. But where is the difference? Insanity that’s malicious, sociopathic and lacking in conscience equals behavior we call “evil.”
Who other than an evil/insane person wreaks horrible […]

God and government

“That government is best which governs least.”
Thomas Jefferson
What do religion and politics — God and government, clerics and politicians — have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out.
First, both groups are largely self-appointed. While religion or politics may be a family business, neither politicians nor clerics, with very few exceptions, are […]

I would like to see governments and societies toughen up and talk back. I believe that statements such as I heard on CNN should be decried and exposed as incitements to treason. These people should not be able to advocate the destruction of civilized societies — and go unanswered.

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit [better] than he who taketh a city.”
Proverbs 16:32
Religious believers and nonbelievers are way too angry at each other, and this is not a good situation. It certainly does not bring about the peace and brotherhood advocated by […]

The following are my comments on the critical importance of separating church from state.
Religious belief has always been a strong force in American life (“in God we trust” on all our money and as the motto of my alma mater, Brown), and there have been several attempts to formally declare this a Christian […]

Religion as a virus

“Religion is a virus”– this is a phrase I’m hearing more and more from the lips and computer keyboards of atheists. It’s somehow connected to Dawkins’ concept of the “meme,” which is a tacit social or conventional assumption. Neither seems to have physical existence.
Before this virus thing goes too far, let’s have some […]

Another year, another Pesach. Many of my childhood memories of Judaism, colored by the rosy glow of nostalgia, have to do with the boisterous family Seders at the row house – on Fairhill Street in South Philly – of my maternal grandparents, Hymie and Sara Schwartz.
Sara laid out her full spread of […]

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