Job’s Visitors

The blood hadn’t dried and the bodies were still warm when Job’s visitors arrived. A few immediately took the classic lines. Condolences and all that, but really Job its your fault. You didn’t take the threat seriously, manage security for your children, close the borders to the foreign pestilence, and of course cleanse your own [Read More…]

A Level Playing Field in Missouri?

Offensive racial, ethnic, and religious slurs are means of asserting power and privilege, and thus creating a social space in which there are distinctive power differentials. The person being offensive is essentially asserting his or her power over others, whether it is Donald Trump or some other faceless drive-by bigot. In the same way taking [Read More…]

Do Unto Others . . . ? Not so much.

Imagine for a minute that you live in a country where Christians are a small minority and Muslims are a majority. Would you want to be forced to resolve business disputes according to Shari’a law even though you don’t believe in it, and clearly don’t have any friends in a Shari’a court? Many Christians face [Read More…]

Activists versus Dialogue at the Parliament.

“Would the fundamentalists have shown up for a pluralistic conference that respects multiple viewpoints anyway” This was a recent posting I saw regarding the Parliament of the World’s Religions failure to engage Christian conservatives as well as many other groups. It makes a big assumption: that conservative religious groups aren’t interested in dialogue, which really [Read More…]

How to Stop ISIS Recruiting

At the Council for Foreign Relations lunch there was a vigorous and useful discussion about the need to amplify the voices of peaceful and socially conscious Islam so as to drown out the shouts of the extremists. Since I promised to report: 1. Wood spoke the classic language of hard power and soft power. While [Read More…]

Buddhist and Muslim Dialogue for the Earth

The word sacred has two related dimensions. One dimension of something sacred is that it connected to God, or whatever is the object of religious devotion, reflection, and faith. The second related dimension is that something sacred is worthy of veneration. And this second dimension is where we get into trouble when we talk about [Read More…]

ISIS and Religious Terror: To Report is not to Support

“By publicizing the views of ISIS as Islamic you are helping their cause.” That was more or less the accusation being made at the Council of Foreign Relations lunch at the Parliament of the World Religions. The target of the accusation was Graeme Wood, the journalist whose excellent article in the Atlantic on the Islamic [Read More…]

Mecca to Roseburg, Two Sides of the Same Hopeless Fatalism

Congress needs to get off its knees and back to work. Another shooter, another group of young people turned to corpses, and another group of American politicians feeling terrible sorry and praying for the families of the deceased. And as it turns out, more proof that American Christian congressmen are really no different from Saudi Muslim [Read More…]

Its God’s Will. The Hajj Tragedy and Dialogue

If your religion teaches you that under some circumstances you have no moral responsibility for the loss of life of people who entrust themselves to your care, those who do business with you need to know “buyer beware.” “It was God’s will.” Those were the words pronounced by the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia. It [Read More…]

Ahmed’s Clock, It Will Happen Again

We need to get out of the weeds of blame in the Ahmed Mohamed case, and over his sudden celebrity as well. He is a story, but not the story we need to understand. But we’ll start with him. In the week of September 11th the case of Ahmed Mohamed of Irving rocketed, in 48 [Read More…]


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