WSJ: A Symposium: What Is Moderate Islam? See here.
An FAQ on the Difference Between Mormonism and Biblical Christianity. See here.
Exactly right. The Media Loses Readers and Viewers to its Own Radicalism.
Whether it’s Newsweek being sold to the husband of a Democratic congresswoman for a dollar, or ABC deciding to turn This Week into a BBC program by turning over to Christiane Amanpour, last week the dying media itself provided us with two examples of why it’s dying. By choosing radicalism over readers, the media continues narrowing its own readership and viewership, pursuing ideological purity, not only over integrity, but even over its own profits and future viability.
Read more here.
The Economist reviews German: Biography of a Language by Ruth H. Sanders. The book notes Martin Luther’s contribution to the German language.
Luther’s genius was to infuse his translation with the words he heard on the street in his bit of Saxony, in east-central Germany. He obsessively asked friends and fellow scholars which dialectal words would be most widely understood. The common touch was so successful that a Catholic opponent complained that “even tailors and shoemakers…read it with great eagerness.” It was the bestseller of the century and remains the most popular German translation. Rarely has a single man had such a mark on a language. The German of Luther’s Bible was nobody’s native language in his day. Today it is so universal that it threatens Germany’s once-vibrant dialects with death by standardisation.
A good explanation for why so many Americans don’t think Obama is a Christian.
God, the Gospel, and Glenn Beck by Russell D. Moore.
A Mormon television star stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial and calls American Christians to revival. He assembles some evangelical celebrities to give testimonies, and then preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that they’ve heard the gospel, right there in the nation’s capital.
The news media pronounces him the new leader of America’s Christian conservative movement, and a flock of America’s Christian conservatives have no problem with that.
If you’d told me that ten years ago, I would have assumed it was from the pages of an evangelical apocalyptic novel about the end-times. But it’s not. It’s from this week’s headlines. And it is a scandal.
Read the rest here.
The Daily Beast reviews American Taliban by Markos Moulitsas.
Joel Brinkley: Afghanistan’s Dirty Little Secret.
Western forces fighting in southern Afghanistan had a problem. Too often, soldiers on patrol passed an older man walking hand-in-hand with a pretty young boy. Their behavior suggested he was not the boy’s father. Then, British soldiers found that young Afghan men were actually trying to “touch and fondle them,” military investigator AnnaMaria Cardinalli told me. “The soldiers didn’t understand.”
All of this was so disconcerting that the Defense Department hired Cardinalli, a social scientist, to examine this mystery. Her report, “Pashtun Sexuality,” startled not even one Afghan. But Western forces were shocked – and repulsed.
For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means “boy player.” The men like to boast about it.
“Having a boy has become a custom for us,” Enayatullah, a 42-year-old in Baghlan province, told a Reuters reporter. “Whoever wants to show off should have a boy.”
Robert Eugene Simmons Jr.: The Left’s Unlikely Alliance with Islam.
As we look around the world at the countries that practice Islam as a state religion, it is almost incomprehensible that the left should defend Islam so fervently. We don’t have to look to the radicals in the Taliban or Hamas to see issues that most Americans would question. Sharia Law is practiced by most Islamic centric countries, and it is in almost direct opposition to the principles on which America was established and in direct contrast to the agenda of the left in America. What is important to realize is that Sharia Law isn’t an outlier, practiced by radicals like al-Qaeda, but actually the mainstream core of jurisprudence in the Islamic world.
Read more here.
Robert Fulford: The Long History of Anti-Semitism in Muslim Lands. See here.
Elizabeth Drescher: Why Living Simple is So Hard. See here.
Why Conservatives Should Read Marx by Jonny Thakkar. See here.
The Despair of Zion by Walter Reich.
Any effort to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians must reckon with the fact that bitter experience has taught many Israelis to doubt that their foes want a lasting concord.
Read the rest here.
“Doctors without religious beliefs more likely to help patients to die.”
Atheist doctors are almost twice as likely to take decisions that speed up death for very ill patients as those who are deeply religious, research has found.
Those with a strong faith are also less willing to discuss treatments that hasten the end, according to a poll of nearly 4,000 British doctors.
Sam Harris asks and answers questions regarding his forthcoming book The Moral Landscape.
America: Land of Loners?
Science-fiction writers make the best seers. In the late 1950s far-sighted Isaac Asimov imagined a sunny planet called Solaria, on which a scant 20,000 humans dwelt on far-flung estates and visited one another only virtually, by materializing as “trimensional images”—avatars, in other words. “They live completely apart,” a helpful robot explained to a visiting earthling, “and never see one another except under the most extraordinary circumstances.”
We have not, of course, turned into Solarians here on earth, strictly limiting our numbers and shunning our fellow humans in revulsion. Yet it’s hard not to see some Solarian parallels in modern life. Since Asimov wrote The Naked Sun, Americans have been engaged in wholesale flight from one another, decamping for suburbs and Sunbelt, splintering into ever smaller households, and conducting more and more of their relationships online, where avatars flourish. The churn rate of domestic relations is especially remarkable, and has rendered family life in the United States uniquely unstable. “No other comparable nation,” the sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin observes, “has such a high level of multiple marital and cohabiting unions.”
Oceans of ink have been spilled on these developments, yet hardly any attention is paid to the one institution—friendship—that could pick up some of the interpersonal slack. But while sizzling eros hogs the spotlight these days—sex sells, after all—too many of us overlook philia, the slower-burning and longer-lasting complement. That’s ironic, because today “friends” are everywhere in our culture—the average Facebook user has 130—and friendship, of a diluted kind, is our most characteristic relationship: voluntary, flexible, a “lite” alternative to the caloric meshugaas of family life.
Read the rest here.
An excellent article by Reuel Marc Gerecht, Moderate Muslims Are Not the Answer.
The Uncircumcised Israel Lobby: What Jews Misunderstand About Christian Zionism by Steven I. Weiss. See here.
Andrew C. McCarthy: Inventing Moderate Islam.
Secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society.” The writer was not one of those sulfurous Islamophobes decried by CAIR and the professional Left. Quite the opposite: It was Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide and a favorite of the Saudi royal family. He made this assertion in his book, How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah, an excerpt of which was published by the Saudi Gazette just a couple of months ago.
This was Qaradawi the “progressive” Muslim intellectual, much loved by Georgetown University’s burgeoning Islamic-studies programs. Like Harvard, Georgetown has been purchased into submission by tens of millions of Saudi petrodollars. In its resulting ardor to put Americans at ease about Islam, the university somehow manages to look beyond Qaradawi’s fatwas calling for the killing of American troops in Iraq and for suicide bombings in Israel. Qaradawi, they tell us, is a “moderate.” In fact, as Robert Spencer quips, if you were to say Islam and secularism cannot co-exist, John Esposito, Georgetown’s apologist-in-chief, would call you an Islamophobe; but when Qaradawi says it, no problem — according to Esposito, he’s a “reformist.”
And he’s not just any reformist. Another Qaradawi fan, Feisal Rauf, the similarly “moderate” imam behind the Ground Zero mosque project, tells us Qaradawi is also “the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.”