Ancient religions used myths to explain the mysteries of the universe to primitive people, making up stories that modern humans know to be imaginative but false. The problem, however, is that many people still anchor their world views in these old fables, as Rev. Howard Bess describes.
Saudi Arabia, now in alliance with Israel and with tacit U.S. approval, is dragging the Middle East into a nightmare of sectarian conflict, pitting its own warplanes and Sunni terrorists against Shiites, Christians and other minorities as part of a misguided competition with Iran, as Anthony F. Shaker describes.
Exclusive: Tangled in corrupt old alliances, such as with the Saudi monarchy, the Obama administration has now joined a war in Yemen that pits some of the region’s most anti-democratic forces and Al-Qaeda against a home-grown rebel movement with limited backing from Iran, as Jonathan Marshall describes.
The West is quick to show disdain for the Muslim world and almost as quick to bomb it. But the only way to ultimately diffuse Islamic extremism is to understand the West’s historic role in causing the problem – and then pursuing practical ways to address legitimate concerns, as Alon Ben-Meir explains.
From the Archive: In Holy Week, many Christians celebrate what they regard as God’s sacrifice of his Son and the Resurrection. But some scholars see another narrative in which Jesus, a rural rebel, brings his critique of the Jewish-Roman power structure to Jerusalem and is killed for it, as Rev. Howard Bess wrote in 2011.
Amid the endless demonization of Russian President Putin, David Brooks and other upscale U.S. pundits have taken to misrepresenting the views of several Russian philosophers whom Putin is known to admire, apparently following the theory that whatever Putin likes must be evil, as Paul R. Grenier explains.
The racist dishonesty of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has challenged Judaism’s humanistic principles, as many young Jews will now flip the Passover script, putting the Palestinians in the position of Moses demanding “Let my people go” – or give them the vote in one state, writes Rabbi Michael Lerner.
A sensitive point in criticizing Israel over its persecution of the Palestinians is the need to separate the actions of that government from the Jewish people, many of whom also object to those repressive policies. One bungled case at UCLA raised accusations of anti-Semitism, as Lawrence Davidson describes.