“Real” Islam and the Secular State

By Mark E. Gammon. In his address to the nation on Wednesday night, President Obama laid out a strategy for dealing with the Islamic State (ISIS, or, alternatively, ISIL) that was predicated on two basic propositions. As many Twitter users put it succinctly: “The Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state.” Both of these assumptions are open to debate, but for those with more than a passing interest in religious ethics, the first deserves special scrutiny. The president of course was echoing … [Read more...]

Presidents, National Prayer, and 9/11

By Christine Wicker.American presidents routinely call for six national prayer days each year; three are coming up to commemorate 9/11. That’s far more than the great majority of American presidents would have approved. But as the number has increased, a change has occurred that wouldn’t have surprised early Baptists or Quakers at all. The thunder that once accompanied such proclamations has been stilled. The great Jehovah, dispenser of blessings and punishment, now seems more like a benign u … [Read more...]

Narendra Modi and the Dawoodi Bohras: A Relationship of Profound Ambivalence

By Abdeali Ujjainwalla. Former Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s ascendency to Prime Ministership in India has re-ignited the debate among the Dawoodi Bohras who are overwhelmingly Gujarati either as resident in the state, or resident elsewhere but with ancestral roots to the state. While most discussion tend to revolve around the 2002 Gujarat carnage where many Bohras were victims of violence and Modi was accused of abetting the violence, this brief article focuses instead more on the pr … [Read more...]

Quashing Jewish Dissent on Israel

By Shalom Goldman, Duke University.A New Yorker cartoon of a few years back shows Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Looking at Moses, one Israelite says to the other, "Well, he's alright, but I wish he were a little more pro-Israel."The leadership of American Jewish community organizations never has to worry about such criticism. For the officials of the self-described “major” American Jewish groups, "strong on Israel" is the first qualification of leadership, and “pro-Isr … [Read more...]

Religion, Revelation, and the Rolling Stones

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By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityWhat do the Rolling Stones have to do with religion? Aside from the usual answer—that they are a religion in their own right for many rock and roll fans—they now find themselves in the midst of another kind of religious controversy. Surprisingly, it is a controversy that places, albeit briefly, Orthodox Jews and advocates for the Palestinian cause on the same side of an argument.The controversy arose when the Rolling Stones announced in March that they wo … [Read more...]

“Death Is Not Final”: LIVE DEBATE with Dr. Eben Alexander, Author of “Proof of Heaven”

TODAY (May 7, 2014) at 6:45pm EasternIn partnership with FORA.tv, Patheos presents an Intelligence Squared debate: "Death is Not Final."If consciousness is just the workings of neurons and synapses, how do we explain the phenomenon of near-death experience? By some accounts, about 3 percent of the U.S. population has had one: an out-of-body experience often characterized by remarkable visions and feelings of peace and joy, all while the physical body is close to death. To skeptics, there … [Read more...]

Together Fighting Hatred and Intolerance

By Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. RosenbergI am the son of Holocaust survivors. Most of my family perished in the Holocaust, either in the crematorium or shot dead on the street. I am still deeply disturbed by the tattooed number from Auschwitz on my father’s arm and remember my mother looking twice her age from her experience at the camp. Like many children of Holocaust survivors, I never had grandparents. I became a rabbi as a concept of never again. I vowed that I’d do everything in my power to sto … [Read more...]

Are Religion Courses Harmful to Faith?

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By Todd GreenYes. There's no use in beating around the bush. Whether one firmly believes that Christianity alone contains Truth with a capital "T," or thinks that God's nature or existence is a settled matter, there is always the possibility that the academic study of religion will rattle the foundations of one's faith. Religion courses, indeed, can be hazardous to one's spiritual health.We religion professors are aware of these risks. We are also aware that on many college campuses, … [Read more...]

World Vision and the Distant Dream of Christian Unity

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By Jacob LupferWorld Vision USA, a Christian relief agency that raises and spends $1 billion a year, shocked American Christianity last week by announcing that it would employ Christians in same sex marriages. World Vision’s international umbrella organization has a federated model allowing national affiliates some discretion over personnel policies. In Canada and New Zealand, for instance, World Vision does not discriminate in hiring.Appealing to evangelical (particularly Baptist) distin … [Read more...]

Airing Dirty Linen in Public: A Critical Riposte to Hamza and Poonawalla

By Abdeali UjjainwallaI refer to Shireen Hamza’s piece on 5 March 2013, and Aziz Poonawalla’s response on 7 March 2014. As I know neither Shireen nor Aziz, my riposte to both of them is a dispassionate one. I am however a Dawoodi Bohra follower of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin Saheb. I would also like to think that I am as intellectual as Aziz with a doctorate in political science, and slightly older than Shireen being in my early 30s. I come from a generation of Dawoodi Bohras who are both at on … [Read more...]


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