Religion

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Israeli Founder Contests Founding Myths

Israeli Uri Avnery

The Torah (or Old Testament) is a master work of literature and faith, but it tells many mythological tales that have little or no basis in real history, as Uri Avnery, one of Israel’s founders, has had the courage to declare, with an introduction from retired U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

Israeli Scholar Disputes Founding Myth

Israeli historian and author Shlomo Sand. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

From the Archive: Twin myths undergird the claim by Israeli hardliners that they own the land of Palestine: the Biblical stories about the Exodus and the ancient kings of Israel and the claim that the Romans forced the Diaspora of Jews to Europe, a fiction that a brave Israeli scholar exploded, as Morgan Strong reported in…

A Special Look-back at 2014

A New Year's scene over Sydney, Australia

At Consortiumnews, we combine reporting on current events with the historical context that gives those events meaning, a context that is often lacking in the mainstream media. So a selection of our stories from 2014 offers an intriguing way to look back – and to understand – the pivotal events of the year just ended.

The Islamic State Stumbles

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Last summer, there was widespread hysteria across Official Washington over the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the brutal Islamic State – and handwringing over President Obama’s limited military response – but the jihadist momentum now shows signs of stalling, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

What Would Jesus Do at Christmas?

Jesus, driving the money-changers from the Temple, in a painting by El Greco.

America’s widening gap between rich and poor is especially noticeable at Christmastime when the rich shower themselves with extravagant gifts and assuage their self-images by donating a few turkeys and a toy or two to the poor, a tradition that troubles Rev. Howard Bess.

Asking Christians about Tolerance of War

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Many Americans are tuning out on politics and international affairs – feeling they have no real say in what the government does – but there is a danger from such passivity, particularly the license given to the powers-that-be to make war and more war, as Gary G. Kohls explains.

Learning the Lessons of Peace

The Prophet Isaiah (Illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company)

Isaiah, one of the great Jewish prophets, was an advocate of peace whose words inspired Jesus’s non-violent teachings centuries later and continue to resonate to the present day, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

Behind the War with Boko Haram

The Nigerian and U.S. flags carried together in parade on the campus of the American University of NIgeria in Yola, celebrating AUN’s tenth anniversary. (Photo credit: Don North)

Exclusive: Last April, much of the world was horrified when the Boko Haram rebels of northern Nigeria kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls and vowed to marry them off. But the violence in Africa’s richest country has a complex back story of religion, ignorance, corruption and injustice, as Don North explains.

Christians Who Ignore the Real Jesus

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Many American Christians see themselves as devout followers of the theological Jesus but don’t want to know much about the historical Jesus, the nonviolent radical who called on his followers to resist social injustice, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

The Battle for Palestine — Part Three

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. (Photo credit: Jim Wallace of the Smithsonian Institution)

Special Report: For nearly seven decades, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has fed into growing Mideast extremism, now including hyper-violent Islamic fundamentalism. But does this tortured history offer any hope for a peaceful future, asks ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk in the last of a three-part series.