The Trouble with Dogma

Two Steps Forward

This view of Christians as morally superior to others is all too common. Native Americans were slaughtered and raped by generations of European settlers. Never mind that they had lived sustainably on the land for millennia; never mind that their retaliatory violence was an attempt to protect their homes; never mind that they could have contributed so much more than maize to the settlers’ lives. They believed in animalistic nature gods and, therefore, were little better than animals themselves. The Crusades were a centuries-long bloodbath borne of the belief that everyone should be Christian. Judeo-Christian values have wrought the fruitless, zero-sum blood feud between Israel and Palestine: complete unwillingness to compromise, bolstered by years of gruesome violence on both sides, backed by each group’s unyielding belief that they are the chosen people.
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Practicing no religion is a right, too

Social Double-take

“I’m sorry to say this, but on this track, you’re condemned to eternal wrath in hell.” OK. Not the most pleasant thing anyone has said to me. And certainly not what I was expecting to hear when I went over to Free Speech Movement Cafe that day for some sunshine
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On sacred spaces

Religiously Inclined

I recently watched the film “Kingdom of Heaven,” and I was struck by one of the final lines spoken by the character Saladin, a Muslim leader who battled to take over Jerusalem during the era of the Crusades. When questioned by Orlando Bloom’s character, Balian, a valiant defender of the
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Agnosticism, atheism and labels

Religiously Inclined

As is common in the religious world, the concepts of both agnosticism and atheism are unforgivingly complicated. Even the standard Google search does not adequately resolve inquiry into their basic definitions. My own attempts to tackle these two subjects were in fact quite humbling — I realized, once again, that
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Tolerance: the new god

Religiously Inclined

The truth is, I probably don’t agree with you. On one issue or another, I hold beliefs that fundamentally differ from those of my family members, roommates, other Cal Bears and fellow Americans. And this difference of opinion is the pride and joy of the American social makeup — we
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Jesus’ potential main squeeze

Religiously Inclined

A tiny scrap of papyrus is creating quite the buzz lately. Last Tuesday,  Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King made public the text of this tentatively authentic fragment, which includes an alleged quote from Jesus saying the phrase “My wife …” followed by, “She will be able to be my disciple.”
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The question of religion

Religiously Inclined

Potential danger aside, I am a true lover of religion, even though I consider myself an atheist at this particular moment in time. My interest in religion stems from a long and complicated history in which people, places and dramas have left an indelible mark on my religious identity.
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