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100 Visions Of the Sacred and Secular in Israel From P. David Hornik

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

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Israel and Islam. What is it that really divides the the two, keeping the children of Jacob and Ishmael in perpetual war?

It turns out the difference stares us in the face, at the root of the words themselves. Clarity in understanding the wars of the Middle East comes when grasping the words in the original languages, Hebrew and Arabic, a point Dennis Prager explains in his book Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.

In Hebrew the word “Israel” means to “wrestle with God” or “to struggle with God.” Jacob was renamed Israel after spending a night wrestling with God’s angels. Struggling and arguing with the idea of God is what characterizes man’s relationship with Him in the Torah. Abraham talks back to God, arguing humanity’s case. This perpetual shifting and negotiating, new reaching out to the Divine is mirrored in the way the Bible is put together and how Jews and Christians learn to study it. We wrestle with God by wrestling with the text, trying to assemble the pieces in new and better configurations, building on the sages who have come before us. In Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchk’s The Lonely Man of Faith he shows how this movement back and forth is built into man’s nature as reflected in the two creation stories in Genesis. Both describe man’s orientation to God and it is our challenge to shift back and forth between them.

In Islam the idea of man arguing with Allah or debating the proper interpretations of the holy text is blasphemous. In Arabic the word “Islam” means to submit to Allah.

While the Bible is a document made of numerous texts across the centuries depicting many mysterious and often conflicting understandings of God and competing schools of interpretation, the Koran purports to be the revelation of one prophet who supersedes all the others. And his book has an easy cheat system for how to make sense of conflicting passages: when two parts conflict, just go with the later prophecy. Abrogation! The practical result of this is that the violent, later prophecies are still in effect for Islam. And where did its doctrine of “struggle” manifest? In its call to wage Jihad. The struggle is not primarily with a transcendent deity, but to impose Shariah law — a Caliphate — onto the entire planet. There’s no mystery between man and Allah in the Koran, the relationship is clear: we are his slaves.

The more one studies the history, culture, and contemporary conflicts between Israel and Islamic states and Jihadists the more evidence one finds for this root breakdown between a free people and an enslaved people. Two of my most important guides in coming to grasp these issues have been P. David Hornik and Robert Spencer who I’ve had the pleasure of of editing each week for years. Today I present collections of their work together, Hornik based in Israel and providing analysis of the news in the Middle East and the cultures influencing it; and Spencer connecting the Koran with the actions of its modern day adherents today.

If there are themes you’d like to see David or Robert explore then please get in touch with your ideas: daveswindlepjm @ gmail.com or @DaveSwindle on Twitter.

Click here to read “Begin to Understand Islam With These 118 Robert Spencer Articles

One of the understandings of Israel I’ve drawn from David’s writings is the paradox of the culture: that Israel is both very religious and very secular and that the range of religious expression varies widely within the country. David rightfully posits that this tendency lies in the Torah itself. I start this collection of David’s work with his “Abraham Ancient and Modern” series. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

Last year a study of Israeli Jews found that 84 percent of them believe in God. It came as a surprise to many. Israeli Jewry is commonly divided into “religious” and “secular” sectors, with the former making up only about 20 percent. It turns out, though, that a large majority of the “secular” are theists.

The “religious-secular” division of Israeli Jewry has roots in the Book of Exodus, which introduces laws about Sabbath observance, kosher eating, personal and ritual purity, and so on. “Religious” Jews in Israel are those who follow these laws — as further elaborated in subsequent books of the Bible, and interpreted and codified by the rabbinical tradition. “Secular” Jews in Israel usually follow some of the laws but are not committed to them as a whole.

For instance, and maybe most prototypically, “religious” Israelis stay home on the Sabbath, observing both the injunctions to “do no work” and “kindle no fire” on this day. Secular Israelis kindle their car engines and go for family outings, their Sabbath in some ways more similar to Sunday (the Jewish Sabbath falls on Saturday) in majority-Christian countries.

“Secular” Israelis, though, are mostly theists; they live in the Land of Israel and are usually committed to doing so, not infrequently to the point of life-threatening forms of army service; and they are generally responsive to the holiness of Jerusalem and other aspects of Jewish tradition. A “secular Israeli” myself for almost three decades, I’ve long thought that the “secular” or “nonreligious” tag fails to do justice to a more complex, interesting reality.

Looking beyond the Book of Exodus to the book that precedes it — Genesis, and especially one of its central characters, Abraham — may offer richer and more affirmative ways to think about the issue.

Click here to continue reading “Abraham, Part 1: Are ‘Secular Israelis’ Really Secular?.” In David’s own approach and body of work he embodies this approach too. This collection contains both the secular in his news articles and political polemics and series on the world’s worst purveyors of antisemitism, to the religious with his series on Jewish holidays, to the territory in between with his skeptical but sympathetic series on the emerging science of near death experiences.

I hope that through this collection more can come to appreciate David’s inspiring worldview and see how they can apply his insights about life in Israel to their own journey through the sacred and secular.

Abraham Ancient And Modern Series

  1. Abraham, Part 1: Are ‘Secular Israelis’ Really Secular?
  2. Abraham, Part 2: God’s Gadfly or Meek Servant?
  3. Abraham, Part 3: Do You Have to Marry a Jewish Girl?
  4. Abraham, Part 4: Does Holiness Get Lost in the Fog of War?
  5. Abraham, Part 5: Can The ‘Wild Man’ Ishmael Be Tamed?

Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations?

  1. Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 1: The Whole World Against Us
  2. Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 2: That Bird Could Be a Mossad Agent!
  3. Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 3: From Woodstock to the Promised Land
  4. Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 4: Why Is Israel So Lousy at Making Its Case?
  5. Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 5: Whichever It Is, I’ve Married It
  6. Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 6: Europe Loves Jews, Just Hates Judaism and Israel
  7. Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 7: Syrians in Israeli Hospitals Fear ‘Monster-Jews’
  8. Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 8: Jerusalem Dig Strikes Rare Gold

Near Death Experiences

  1. What Near-Death Experiences Tell Us
  2. Near-Death Experiences: Two Books Provide More Compelling Evidence
  3. Near-Death Experiences—A New Take on Life, Part 1: Sam Parnia Explains Where the Field Is Leading
  4. What if They Gave a Review of Your Life and You Had to Come?
  5. Introducing: A Deity Who Makes Sense
  6. Near-Death Experiences—A New Take on Life, Part 4: Brian Miller’s Case Challenges the Skeptics
  7. Near-Death Experiences, a New Take on Life, Part 5: Can God and Evil Be Reconciled?
  8. 4 Amazing Facts Suggesting the Mind Can Exist Independent of the Brain
  9. ‘I’-Sight: When the Blind-from-Birth Can Fully See During Near-Death Experiences

 

Israel

  1. 4 Amazing Archaeological Finds in Israel This Past Year
  2. 4 Reasons Israel’s Future Looks Bright as the New Jewish Year Begins
  3. Farewell to a Fighter: Meir Har-Zion, Larger-than-Life Israeli Legend, Dies at 80
  4. Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day
  5. Israeli Independence Day, 2014
  6. Israel’s Embattled Pro-Israel Priest
  7. Israel’s First Astronaut: A Tale of Tragedy and Miracle
  8. ‘Nakba’ Concentrates Israeli Minds
  9. Obama’s Full-Court Press on Israel
  10. 5 Reasons Why Liberal Jews Will Never Support Israel
  11. A Review of David Solway’s The Boxthorn Tree
  12. 5 Ways Israel Keeps the Peace in the Middle East
  13. 5 of the Latest, Dumbest Statements About Israel by Jewish Liberals
  14. Why Is Washington Enraged Over More Homes for Jews in Jerusalem?

 

War in the Middle East

  1. Goldstone’s Mea Culpa and Israel’s Wars
  2. 3 Kidnapped Boys, But the Usual Cold Shoulder
  3. Israel Buries Sons, Mulls Response
  4. The 10 Most Disturbing Palestinian Propaganda Videos
  5. The Insane Hamas War
  6. 6 Videos That Show the Truth About the War in Gaza
  7. Why Israel Defeated—But Didn’t Crush—Hamas
  8. Next Round—Islamic State Vs. Israel?

 

Jewish Holidays

  1. The Shavuot Holiday in Israel: Joy in the Law, Joy in the Land
  2. Purim: A Wacky Tribute to Life
  3. 4 Things to Get Liberated From This Passover
  4. Tu Bishvat, Israel’s Holiday of Trees
  5. Chanukah: The Triumph of Light
  6. Simchat Torah: Dancing and Singing with the Law
  7. Sukkot, the Autumn Harvest Festival
  8. Israel on Yom Kippur: Renewing Life Amid Traumas of the Past
  9. In Israel, a Rosh Hashanah of Apples and Gas Masks

 

Israeli Women

  1. Israeli Women, Part 1: Ace Pilots Reporting for Duty
  2. Israeli Women, Part 2: Island of Progress in a Dark Sea
  3. Israeli Women, Part 3: The Jews’ Iron Lady, Golda Meir
  4. Israeli Women, Part 4: Great Ladies of Hebrew Song

Relationships

  1. Simone by Starlight: How to Lose a ‘Date’ But Gain the World
  2. Simone by Sunlight: Can People-Pleasing Save a Romance?
  3. 4 Things You Should Never Do to Find Lasting Love
  4. 4 Signs That You’re on the Way to Lasting Love

 

Life Reflections and Advice

  1. Memories and Mysteries of a Friend Dead at 40
  2. Sacred Places: Real, or Do We Make Them Up?
  3. What I See at the Secret Hour
  4. Why the Beasts Fail to Understand Israeli Happiness
  5. American? Israeli? Who Am I?
  6. How I Became a Conservative
  7. 3 Tips for Falling Asleep at Night
  8. 10 Ways My Life Improved Since I Moved to Israel
  9. 5 Realizations as My 60th Birthday Draws Near
  10. My Murdered Friend
  11. The 12-Step Guide for the Recovering Obama Voter

 

Music, Art and Culture

  1. Goodbye, Literature
  2. 4 Old, Dreamy Songs
  3. 3 Unwritten Short Stories Still Haunting This Ex-Fiction Writer
  4. The Wonder and Beauty of Israel’s Old, Old Mosaics
  5. How Great Jazz Artists Express a Peculiar Kind of Hebrew Happiness
  6. Master of Music, Bungler of Life
  7. David Solway’s Musical Debut: Blood Guitar and Other Tales
  8. Habibi: A Moroccan Poet Sings to His Love

 

The Ten Worst U.S, Purveyors of Antisemitism

 

The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide

 

Check out these previous compilations of PJ Lifestyle’s best writers:

  1. 100 Compelling Health and Medicine Questions Answered by Theodore Dalrymple

  2. 125 Articles and Blog Posts Showcasing the Wit & Wisdom of Walter Hudson

  3. These 150 Paula Bolyard Articles & Blog Posts Will Inspire You

  4. 136 Kathy Shaidle Articles That Expand Your Appreciation of Life and Culture.

  5. 116 Articles Exploring American Culture by Chris Queen

  6. 194 Articles and Blog Posts Showcasing Susan L.M. Goldberg’s Compelling Culture Commentaries

  7. Don’t Miss These 20 James Jay Carafano Articles Exploring War’s Impact on Pop Culture

  8. 15 Great Lists Debating Comic Books and Pop Culture by Pierre Comtois

 

Read bullet |

Begin to Understand Islam With These 118 Robert Spencer Articles

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

spencer1

Israel and Islam. What is it that really divides the the two, keeping the children of Jacob and Ishmael in perpetual war?

It turns out the difference stares us in the face, at the root of the words themselves. Clarity in understanding the wars of the Middle East comes when grasping the words in the original languages, Hebrew and Arabic, a point Dennis Prager explains in his book Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.

In Hebrew the word “Israel” means to “wrestle with God” or “to struggle with God.” Jacob was renamed Israel after spending a night wrestling with God’s angels. Struggling and arguing with the idea of God is what characterizes man’s relationship with Him in the Torah. Abraham talks back to God, arguing humanity’s case. This perpetual shifting and negotiating, new reaching out to the Divine is mirrored in the way the Bible is put together and how Jews and Christians learn to study it. We wrestle with God by wrestling with the text, trying to assemble the pieces in new and better configurations, building on the sages who have come before us. In Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchk’s The Lonely Man of Faith he shows how this movement back and forth is built into man’s nature as reflected in the two creation stories that start Genesis. Both describe man’s orientation to God and it is our challenge to shift back and forth between them.

In Islam the idea of man arguing with Allah or debating the proper interpretations of the holy text is blasphemous. In Arabic the word “Islam” means to submit to Allah.

While the Bible is a document made of numerous texts across the centuries depicting many mysterious and often conflicting understandings of God and competing schools of interpretation, the Koran purports to be the revelation of one prophet who supersedes all the others. And his book has an easy cheat system for how to make sense of conflicting passages: when two parts conflict, just go with the later prophecy. Abrogation! The practical result of this is that the violent, later prophecies are still in effect for Islam. And where did its doctrine of “struggle” manifest? In its call to wage Jihad. The struggle is not primarily with a transcendent deity, but to impose Shariah law — a Caliphate — onto the entire planet. There’s no mystery between man and Allah in the Koran, the relationship is clear: we are his slaves.

The more one studies the history, culture, and contemporary conflicts between Israel and Islamic states and Jihadists the more evidence one finds for this root breakdown between a free people and an enslaved people. Two of my most important guides in coming to grasp these issues have been P. David Hornik and Robert Spencer who I’ve had the pleasure of of editing each week for the past few years. Today I present collections of their work together, Hornik based in Israel and providing analysis of the news in the Middle East and the cultures influencing it; and Spencer connecting the Koran with the actions of its most zealous modern day adherents.

If there are themes you’d like to see David or Robert explore then please get in touch with your ideas: daveswindlepjm @ gmail.com or @DaveSwindle on Twitter.

Click here to read “100 Visions Of the Sacred and Secular in Israel From P. David Hornik”

Last year, inspired by James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus’s America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century—Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come, I argued that the history of the conservative movement could be understood in terms of three phases, each defined by the most serious threat to the country, and one writer-activist in particular provided an intellectual foundation: “Robert Spencer’s Vital Role in Creating Conservatism 3.0

The 1.0/2.0/3.0 Bennett-Lotus model is applicable beyond the broad scope of their book. As America itself goes through the shifts from one era to the next so too do the cultures and institutions within it. So I will apply it to one of my preoccupations, political ideology. How does this sound?

Conservatism 1.0 = The Old Right, those who fought against the expansion of the federal government and US entry into World War II, often referred to as isolationists. This ideology was soundly refuted by US victory over the Axis. It turns out that foreign policy ideologies that assume muskets and months to sail across the Atlantic have limited utility in post-Hiroshima worlds. The heirs of this tradition today are the so-called paleo-conservatives (Pat Buchanan) and paleo-libertarians (Ron Paul) and their stealth advocate who has duped Republicans and infiltrated the Tea Party, Rand Paul. (My ax-grinding against all three will continue for the foreseeable future. These people should have been cast out of polite society long ago so they’d have more time to spend with their Holocaust-denying buddies.)

Conservatism 2.0 = The New Right, built by William F. Buckley Jr. and Barry Goldwater and institutionalized at the presidential level by Ronald Reagan. While adapting the Old Right’s traditionalism and opposition to the New Deal, the big shift came in reacting to the new foreign policy reality threatening human freedom: Soviet imperialism. The battle against murderous Marxism was what really animated Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan more than anything else. (It was in reading the extraordinary Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America that this started to become more apparent.)

So I’ve come to conclude that what we call “the conservative movement” was really just the political/cultural wing of what began as anti-communism. Thus, the reason for the degradation of Conservatism 2.0 is that with anti-communism as the primary base the ideological tent could widen to bring in people who do not actually believe in American values. Opposing the Soviets for one reason or another does not require one to be an advocate of America’s founding principles. Thus with the removal of the Soviet threat — only for a time really, of course… — the Reagan coalition has collapsed as each faction now squabbles for power and attention.

Conservatism 3.0 = As anti-communism created Conservatism 2.0, Robert Spencer’s counter-jihad movement will provide a foundational justification for the shift to Conservatism 3.0. As previous generations were fueled by reports of the horrors within Marxist slave states, today the truth about Shariah slave states will gradually bring together people across cultures, borders, and ideologies. And I say Robert Spencer’s counter-jihad movement because he has been a leader in this war for over a decade, documenting not just what is happening but explaining why.

In my years knowing Robert and editing his work, I’ve gradually come to see that the depth of this war is actually deeper than any America has ever experienced. The Nazis and Communists were the 20th century’s institutionalization of 19th century European ideologies based in class and race. But this is a conflict that predates the colonization of the North American continent. I’ve come to see that it’s vital not just to understand the history of Islam and what the Koran teaches, but the central role that they’ve had in provoking the creation of our nation centuries before we existed. What initially inspired Westward exploration? Islam shutting off the trade routes to the East. We exist today because our ancestors would rather try and go around the Jihadists than to defeat them militarily.

In starting this collection of Robert’s PJ Media and PJ Lifestyle articles we begin with his all-time most popular article, one that received over 100,000 pageviews, “5 Ways Muslims Have Contributed to ‘Building the Very Fabric of Our Nation’“:

Last Sunday, in his message congratulating Muslims on Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Barack Obama wrote: “Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.” That’s right: he said “manyachievements and contributions.” I could only think of five. Maybe you will be able to think of some more.

5. Getting us here in the first place

This one predates the United States as a nation, but without it, the United States would not exist. Every schoolchild knows, or used to know, that in 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America while searching for a new, westward sea route to Asia. But why was he searching for a new route to Asia? Because the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims in 1453 closed the trade routes to the East. This was devastating for European tradesmen, who had until then traveled to Asia for spices and other goods by land. Columbus’s voyage was trying to ease the plight of these merchants by bypassing the Muslims altogether and making it possible for Europeans to reach India by sea.

So the bellicosity and intransigence of Islam ultimately opened the Americas for Europe – and made the United States possible.

Continue page 2 of the article here. To further grasp the chasm of differences between Western and Koranic values, consider the first of several series in this collection, a group of 13 articles in which Robert focused on how Islam molds men and women differently in its family structure. Also see Robert’s “Jazz and Islam” series which I’ve included next — these fights go well beyond the religious, political, and military realms, manifesting in how the competing civilizations regard art and the most intimate aspects of human life. Over the years Robert has consistently shined a light on these difficult truths, being banned from Great Britain and vilified even by self-proclaimed conservatives for his refusal to shut up as humans suffer. I hope with this collection if you may have shrugged off Robert’s interpretation of Islam in the past you’ll give him another chance.

How Islam Affects the Family and Male/Female Relationships

  1. Straight-Arrow Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a Mama’s Boy
  2. How Mothers from Hell Raise Their Boys to Do Evil
  3. Why The Sword of Islam Cuts Apart Families
  4. Will Islam Make a Man Out of You?
  5. The Muslim Family: An Empire of Fear
  6. Can Parents’ Divorce Push a Teen to Join Al-Qaeda?
  7. Would You Strangle a Cop for Giving Your Wife a Ticket?
  8. Proving Their Manhood in Syria
  9. My Son Jihad: Glorifying Evil in France
  10. ‘Stone Cold’ Yousef al-Khattab and His Children
  11. Teaching Children Jihad in Dagestan
  12. How 10-Year-Old Boys Learn to Slaughter Infidels in Syria
  13. The 7 Ways Islam Kills Romance

The Real War on Women

  1. The Silent Tragedy of Child Marriage
  2. What Would It Take for You to Kill Someone You Love?
  3. Why It May Be Easy for Huma Abedin to Stand by Her Man
  4. Could the Rape Jihad Come to America?
  5. Canada (and the U.S.) Welcome Polygamy
  6. Child Marriage Comes to Australia
  7. Burned Alive for $47
  8. Daughters of the Jihad Death Cult
  9. 5 New Hashtags for Michelle Obama
  10. 7 Reasons Why the Oklahoma Beheading Has Everything to Do with Islam

The Jazz and Islam Series

  1. Why Did Lenin and Muhammad Hate Music?
  2. 5 Exhilarating Jazz Improvisations to Unshackle Your Spirit
  3. Blues for Sayyid Qutb
  4. 5 Jazz Women We Love
  5. John Coltrane and Bilal Philips: Two Converts’ Paths
  6. The Questions Nobody Wants to Ask About ‘Moderate Islam’
  7. James Holmes: It Serves Him Right to Suffer
  8. Innovators: 6 Unique Jazz Performances That Will Blow Your Mind
  9. How Miles Davis and John Coltrane Ruined Jazz
  10. Why So Many Jazz Musicians Converted to a Heretical Form of Islam
  11. No More Music for Muslims: The Spiritual Journey of Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Terrorism and Jihad

  1. See No Jihad: U.S. Still Treating Fort Hood Jihadis as Criminals
  2. The Real Lesson of Benghazi
  3. ‘Islamophobia’ and the Latest New York Jihad Plot
  4. 8 Reasons You Aren’t Safer than You Were 4 Years Ago
  5. Obama’s Dangerous Fantasy of Al-Qaeda Defeated
  6. Pork No, Killing Infidels Sí
  7. The National Guardsman’s Jihad
  8. 5 Things the National Guard Jihadist Wants You to Know About Islam
  9. 5 Things You Should Know About the Latest Military Jihadist
  10. 5 Truths the 9/11 Museum Should Tell About 9/11
  11. 8 Signs That ISIS Will Strike in the U.S. Soon
  12. 5 New Signs of the West’s Myopia About the Jihad Threat
  13. 4 Freedoms at Stake in Our Defense Against Jihad
  14. 10 Things We Should Have Done Since 9/11 to Defeat the Jihad
  15. 10 Acts of Jihad in America That Americans Haven’t Heard About
  16. 6 Reasons Why the U.S. Should Not Arm the Syrian ‘Moderates’

What Is Stealth Jihad?

  1. Investigate Radical Christianity!
  2. McCarthyism and Mohamed Elibiary
  3. Why Is the Pentagon Listening to Hamas-Linked CAIR?
  4. DC Comics Mainstreaming ‘Islamophobia’
  5. Obama’s Islamic Supremacist Human Rights Rep
  6. How Muslims Celebrated Islamophobia Awareness Month
  7. The Ground Zero Mosque and Media Sleight of Hand
  8. #MyJihad: CAIR’s New Twitter Campaign to Whitewash Islam
  9. The Jihad Against Christmas
  10. A Subway Murder and the ‘Islamophobia’ Industry
  11. Huma Abedin, Alger Hiss, Huma Abedin, Alger Hiss, Huma Abedin, Alger…
  12. What Is the Difference Between ‘Extremist’ and ‘Moderate’ Muslim Brothers?
  13. 4 Muslims Who Deserve to Be Under Surveillance
  14. 6 Elements of ‘Extremist’ Islam That ‘Moderate’ Muslims Endorsed as They Condemned the Islamic State

Antisemitism

  1. Islamic Antisemitism Enters American Electoral Politics
  2. The Worldwide Rise of Islamic Antisemitism
  3. Would a Palestinian State Bring Peace?
  4. Obama Throws Israel to the Wolves
  5. 7 Reasons Why the Palestinians Don’t Occupy the Moral High Ground
  6. 5 New Muslim Calls for Genocide of the Jews
  7. 6 Ugly Signs of Resurgent Worldwide Antisemitism

Europe

  1. Yes, You Can Tell the Truth About Jihad Violence in Britain (As Long As You’re For It)
  2. 5 Books That Will Get You Banned From Britain
  3. The 5 Latest Signs of Britain’s Imminent Demise
  4. Who Lost Britain? 14 Culprits

Censorship

  1. Is It Still Possible to Question Islam?
  2. Suicide of the Western Media
  3. The Muhammad Movie Riots
  4. U.S. Imams Call for Restricting Free Speech
  5. 2013: The Death of Free Speech
  6. Too Cowardly To Print Muhammad Cartoons?
  7. Building Bridges Between Christians and Muslims: A Case Study
  8. Conan O’Brien Discovers: Muslim Polygamy Is No Joke
  9. 5 Ways the Islamic War on Free Speech Advanced Last Week
  10. 5 Muslim Movie Reviews
  11. 5 New Victories for Muslim Enemies of Free Speech
  12. 5 Things the Media and Government Won’t Tell You About Boko Haram

Reza Aslan

  1. Why Reza Aslan’s Christian Relatives and Friends Aren’t Trying to Kill Him
  2. 5 Falsehoods in Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
  3. The Hypocrisy of the Left’s Commitment to ‘Peacemaking’
  4. 3 Times I Was Framed for Murder – And How You Can Be, Too
  5. 5 Ways Bill Maher Is Right and Reza Aslan Wrong About Islam

Hypocrisy

  1. The Media’s Double Standard for Muslims
  2. The New Left Fascists
  3. The Hypocrisy of the ‘Islamophobia’ Scam
  4. The Hypocrisy of the Fatwa Against Terrorism
  5. The Hypocrisy of the Feminist Response to Islam’s Oppression of Women
  6. The Hypocrisy of the Western Christian Response to Muslim Persecution of Christians
  7. The Hypocrisy of the Leftist Response to Ariel Sharon’s Death
  8. The Hypocrisy of Ibrahim Hooper and CAIR’s ‘Islamophobic List’
  9. The Hypocrisy of the Huffington Post’s Praise of Muhammad
  10. The Hypocrisy of the Media Whitewash of Islamic Blasphemy Charges
  11. 5 Islamic Scholars Who Say They’d Demolish Me in Debate – But Don’t Dare Try

Shariah

  1. Muslim Journalist Challenges Sharia, Gets Accused of ‘Hate’
  2. Is Michael Bloomberg Secretly a Muslim?
  3. Muslims vs. Archaeology
  4. U.S. Army Solution to Afghan Attacks: ‘Avoid Arrogance,’ ‘Respect Islam’
  5. Now that the U.S. Is an Islamic State…
  6. Algerian Jihadists Wanted to ‘Teach the Americans What Islam Is’
  7. When Slaves Choose Their Slavery
  8. The Persecution No One Dares Name
  9. ‘It Never Occurred to Us that Muslim Neighbors Would Betray Us…’
  10. Behead First, Ask Questions Later
  11. 5 Sharia Atrocities for Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres to Protest
  12. 5 Stories from Last Week Revealing Sharia’s Spread in the West
  13. 5 Ways the Quran Explains Today’s Headlines
  14. 5 Non-Muslims Who Know More About Islam than the Caliph of the Islamic State

An excerpt from the appendix of Not Peace But a Sword summarizes the difference between Islamic and Biblical values:

 

****

Check out these previous compilations of PJ Lifestyle’s best writers:

  1. 100 Compelling Health and Medicine Questions Answered by Theodore Dalrymple

  2. 125 Articles and Blog Posts Showcasing the Wit & Wisdom of Walter Hudson

  3. These 150 Paula Bolyard Articles & Blog Posts Will Inspire You

  4. 136 Kathy Shaidle Articles That Expand Your Appreciation of Life and Culture.

  5. 116 Articles Exploring American Culture by Chris Queen

  6. 194 Articles and Blog Posts Showcasing Susan L.M. Goldberg’s Compelling Culture Commentaries

  7. Don’t Miss These 20 James Jay Carafano Articles Exploring War’s Impact on Pop Culture

  8. 15 Great Lists Debating Comic Books and Pop Culture by Pierre Comtois

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10 Ways to Avoid Regretting Your Wedding

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The average wedding in America costs roughly $30,000. Egged on by countless wedding TV shows, magazines, and websites, people throw what appear to be pseudo star-studded events that aim to rival the kind of blow-out parties you only see in movies. In the end you wind up with one night of clouded memories, a ton of photos, and a group of hungover people hovering over breakfast in the hotel lobby the next day. The bills may last you months, even upwards of a year. And for what? To make your grandmother happy? Because you really liked that episode of My Fair WeddingYou can have a great, regret-free wedding without sacrificing yourself to the Wedding Idol. Here’s how.

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Atlas Shrugged in 7 minutes: Saving You 47 Hours, 21 Minutes, and Perhaps Your Very Soul

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 - by Scott Ott

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn RandI just read Atlas Shrugged. It was my third attempt in 20 years. It took me five weeks of fierce determination. If you’ve mulled reading the book, I may be able to add precious days to your span on this mortal coil. (WARNING: The rest of this little essay is pure, unalloyed spoiler.)

Dagny Taggart runs a transcontinental railroad company. Dagny is slim, elegant, bold. In her spare time, she’s writing a 1,168-page novel in which she has sex with three different slim, elegant, bold men. She’s not a slut, mind you, nor horny as a rabbit during the rut.

No, she has sex with each man because she agrees with his philosophy, best summarized thus: I am the most important being in the universe, and my pleasure is the goal of the universe, so leave me alone.

Dagny has sex in her youth with Francisco D’Anconia, heir to an historic copper fortune and the richest man on earth, who’s also writing a 1,168-page novel.

Dagny has sex repeatedly with Hank Rearden, a rich (unhappily married) steel magnate, who, in his spare time, is writing a 1,168-page novel.

And finally, Dagny has sex with John Galt, the most interesting man in the world (who’s not pushing Dos Equis), but  who IS writing an 1,168-page novel which, like the others’, contains a mix of economics, philosophy, daily news and sex. It’s basically the Huffington Post, in book form.

Galt has worked as a laborer for Dagny’s company for 12 years, in the same building as she, though Dagny doesn’t know it. In his spare time, Galt works to shut down the economy of the entire world by getting a handful of effective producers to abandon their life’s work and to defect to Galt’s Gulch, an idyllic hideaway in the mountains.

Is it just coincidence that each svelte, ingenious, wealthy member of this foursome has all of this amazing perfect sex while running his or her massive business, and writing a 1,168-page novel?

No, not coincidence: It’s Ayn Rand.

Miss Rand (whose first name is pronounced any way you please) is the author of a 1,168-page novel called Atlas Shrugged. She’s her own inspiration for each of these characters. So, in a very real sense, Atlas Shrugged is about a svelte genius who wants to be left alone, to fantasize about an industrial Utopia while having sex with herself.

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What 2 Retired Whores Can Teach Slut-Walk Feminists

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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A story about two old Jewish ladies is making the rounds in the Jewish press, but not for the reasons you may think. Sure, they’re bubbes. They’re children of a Holocaust survivor to boot. But the real reason they’re attracting so much attention is that they happen to be retired professional whores.

Dutch twins Louise and Martine Fokkens (probably not their real last name, since “Fokken” is a Dutch term for “old whore”) have become international celebrities since the 2011 release of their biographical documentary Meet the Fokkens. Women’s magazines like Cosmo picked up on their story shortly after the film’s release, publishing quick little details like:

Louise and Martine (mothers of four and three respectively) became prostitutes before the age of 20 in order to escape violent relationships.

It’s an interpretation that, at best, qualifies as a half-truth. Louise was forced into the sex trade by an abusive husband. Martine, however, became a prostitute out of spite:

Martine followed her sister into the trade, working first as a cleaning lady at brothels before she began turning tricks herself. “I was angry at how everybody around us shunned Louise,” Martine said. “I did it out of spite, really.”

Both women eventually divorced their husbands, whom they now describe as “a couple of pimps.” But they continued working in the district “because that had become our lives,” Louise said.

“Our life in the business became a source of pride, a sport of sorts,” Louise added.

In retrospect, both women say they regret becoming prostitutes.

Reading their story, one can’t help but wonder if mainstream feminist advocates for slut walks and “Yes Means Yes” legislation would condemn the pair for regretting the life they chose. After all, their body, their choice, right? They took control of their bad marriages, divorced the husbands they referred to as “pimps” and chose, fully of their own volition, to remain in the sex trade after their exes were fully out of the picture. Martine and Louise, it would seem, are the originators of the Slut Walk.

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Does Everybody Want Freedom?

Sunday, October 19th, 2014 - by Robert Wargas

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A few years ago, on a rainy summer’s day, I was browsing around a secondhand bookshop on the east end of Long Island, breathing in the musty wonder of the overstuffed shelves, when an elderly man approached me. I had in my hand a first edition of William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. The man started up a friendly conversation about the Second World War, asking me whether I had watched a recent television documentary on the subject.

He continued talking, perhaps unaware that he wasn’t allowing me to respond. I didn’t take this as an insult. Most people prefer to hear themselves talk; this isn’t necessarily a sign of malice or rudeness on their part. I find it’s especially true of the elderly, who are usually lonelier and thus more desperate for the ear of a stranger. So I stood there and listened as politely as I could, not altogether uninterested in his views of fascinating matters like the Nazis and other dictatorships, which are subjects that I could eat with my breakfast cereal.

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Is Medical Greed Leading to D.I.Y. Deaths?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

My PJ colleague Walter Hudson published a compelling argument regarding physician-assisted suicide in response to the ongoing dialogue surrounding terminal cancer patient Brittany Maynard. His is a well-reasoned argument regarding the intersection of theology and politics, written in response to Matt Walsh’s Blaze piece titled “There is Nothing Brave About Suicide.” Both pieces are a reminder that, in the ongoing debate over whether or not Maynard has the right to schedule her own death, little has been said regarding the role the medical profession plays in the battle to “Die with Dignity.” Walsh argues:

None of us get to die on our own terms, because if we did then I’m sure our terms would be a perfect, happy, and healthy life, where pain and death never enter into the picture at all.

It’s a simplistic comment that ignores a very real medical fact: Death can come on your own terms. And that doesn’t have to mean suicide.

My mother was a nurse for 20 years. During that time she worked in a variety of settings, from hospitals, to private practice, to nursing homes. Much like Jennifer Worth, the nurse and author of the Call the Midwife series, my mother practiced at the end of Victorian bedside nursing and the dawn of Medicare. As a result, the abuses she witnessed in the name of insurance claims were grotesque. For instance, if a patient required one teaspoon of medication, an entire bottle would be poured into the sink and charged to that patient’s insurance company. This was just the tip of the iceberg of unethical practices that would become priority in the name of the almighty “billing schedule.”

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Ross Douthat Loves Lena Dunham for All the Wrong Reasons

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Conservative columnist Ross Douthat has declared his love for Lena Dunham. It hardly comes as a surprise that a New York Times writer, even one who dwells to the right of the aisle, would find the Girls prodigy appealing. What makes Douthat’s devotion disturbing is that he has managed to transform a goddess chained to a slew of liberal causes into a sacrificial lamb for conservative culture. In his struggle to do so, his misses the mark in what could have been one of the most culturally relevant critiques of Girls to date.

The critic defends Dunham’s showpiece Girls, writing,

She’s making a show for liberals that, merely by being realistic, sharp-edge, complicated, almost gives cultural conservatism its due. 

It’s a seemingly ironic observation, based in the idea that Girls “often portrays young-liberal-urbanite life the way, well, many reactionaries see it…” That is, a subculture on the verge of self-destruction due to excessive amounts of what sociologist Robert Bellah dubbed, “the view that the key to the good life lies almost exclusively in self-discovery, self-actualization, the cultivation of the unique and holy You.”

In other words, as Gawker so simply put it:

He likes watching the show because it allows him to feel superior to Dunham and her fellow sluts.

By employing a rote, traditionalist perspective, Douthat argued himself into a hole, turning his love into judgement and burying his point in poorly-worded theory and equally bad theology.

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A Special Dispensation if You’re Thinking of Seeing the New Left Behind Movie

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Scott Ott

If you’re a Bible-believing Jesus-loving American like me, I hereby officially absolve you from the guilt of staying as far away from the theater as possible during the inevitably short run of the new adaptation of Left Behind.

I also grant a special dispensation, if you’ve already seen the movie, from any inner compulsion you feel to “say something nice” as a passive way of encouraging Hollywood to make more “Christian” or “Biblical” or “values-based” films, or for fear of being judged by those who thought it was “awesome and super-Biblical.”

I further grant you absolute forgiveness for your previous Facebook posts in which you gushed about your eagerness to see Nicolas Cage in Left Behind, and speculated about his spiritual condition.

How can I grant such merciful forgiveness? I have personally borne the burden for you, and by my $10.25, you are saved… from spending your $10.25.

Unlike you, Left Behind remains unforgiven.

While the movie purports to be about “the rapture” — the sudden vanishing of all Jesus-believers from the face of the earth (and the cabins of aircraft) — I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching another Zucker & Abrahams Airplane movie. I kept expecting Leslie Nielsen to pop into the flight deck to deadpan, “I just want to tell you both, good luck. We’re all counting on you.”

If I were more faithful to the doctrine of Frozen, I would merely let it go…let it go. But I feel mystically drawn to record my impressions here — drawn as a moth to the Mothra.

Here’s the problem: Left Behind is a bad movie.

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The Battle Against Israel’s Orthodox Patriarchy

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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I didn’t fully appreciate how spiritually free I am as an American woman until I set foot on an El Al plane.

“Do you speak Hebrew?” the fretting woman in front of me asked.

“No, not really.”

“It’s okay, I speak English,” she hurriedly replied, obviously looking for a friendly face. “These Orthodox,” she motioned to the people sitting next to her, “they don’t like sitting next to women.”

“Well, that’s their problem.” My response was pointed, matter-of-fact, American.

She smiled as if a light bulb went off in her head. “You’re right!” Her expression grew cloudy. “But what if I take off my sweater? They won’t like that I expose my shoulders with my tank top.”

Again, I simply replied, “That’s their problem.”

She smiled, empowered. Removing her sweater, she took her seat and stood her ground.

And at that moment I thanked God I was raised in pluralistic America, and realized, oddly enough, that the Holy Land was giving me my first chance to practice the biblical feminism I’ve preached.

Israel is a Western nation in that women have equal rights by law. Israel is also a confluence of religious and ethnic cultural attitudes, not all of which are friendly to women. Two days into our trip to Jerusalem, a family member who also happens to be a retired journalist explained the latest story to hit the nightly news. A man accused of spousal abuse was released to return home. Later that evening, police found his wife had been shot dead. The husband confessed to the murder. Apparently, domestic violence and death is a relatively small but significant problem in Israel. When I asked my former journalist why, he pointed to the influence of Middle Eastern (both Arabic and radical Islamic) patriarchal culture as the primary source.

Yet, even religious Jews in Israel (and around the world), despite their insular nature, are far from immune to sexual abuse. Sex scandals among the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) show up frequently on the evening news. In this case it’s not the Arab/Muslim influence, but perverted behaviors that arise from rabbinic abuse of biblical teachings. How do you expect a man to relate to a woman sexually when he’s not even allowed to look her in the eye?

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10 More Movies Projecting the Jewish Experience on Film

Sunday, September 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

10. Daniel Deronda

A multi-part BBC series based on the powerful English classic penned by Zionist George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Daniel Deronda tells the story of a young gentleman who discovers, through a series of almost mystical events, that his mother is Jewish. A fantastic examination of Jewish identity in Victorian high society, the novel was cited by the likes of Henrietta Szold and Emma Lazarus as influential on their decision to become Zionists. Wonderfully cast, the BBC version is grossly engaging and well worth a marathon viewing.

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4 Reasons Israel’s Future Looks Bright as the New Jewish Year Begins

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by P. David Hornik

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls this year on Wednesday, September 24. The year that just ended—5774 on the Jewish calendar—was not an easy one.

There was the war against Hamas in July and August, which Israel won overwhelmingly while losing 64 soldiers and seven civilians. In June there was Hamas’s kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenage boys. (The murderers have now met their just fate.) And Israel’s overall security environment in the Middle East seems more and more precarious. Among other things, jihadis are battling the Syrian army just across Israel’s Golan Heights border; Jordan’s moderate regime could be in danger; Islamic State has set up its “caliphate” of atrocity in Iraq and Syria; while Iran keeps being allowed to progress along the nuclear path by Western powers playing feckless diplomatic games. (Another update: Israel has shot down a Syrian plane over the Golan.)

Where, then, does a “bright future” come into all this? Looking ahead to 5775, Israel has a track record of overcoming security challenges, and in other ways keeps thriving.

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10 Reasons I’m Proud to Be A Jew

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

It’s not an easy time to be Jewish, though there have been few moments in world history where it has been. A recent unscientific poll conducted in Europe found that 40 percent of European Jews hide their religion. The only thing surprising about that statistic is that it isn’t closer to 100%. The sour news out of Europe is never-ending: an arson of a synagogue in Belgium, a Swedish woman savagely beaten for wearing a Star of David, a deadly shooting outside of a Jewish school in France. The list, sadly, goes on, and on, and on.

Unfortunately for antisemites everywhere, Jews have a great deal to be proud of, and always have.

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1. We’re wicked smart

Despite being just .2 percent of the world population, Jews have won 22 percent of the Nobel prizes awarded. From the 1920s until the late 1960s, Jewish students were either totally excluded or subject to quotas in Ivy League universities in the United States. Why? The schools had been admitting the best and brightest, and there were just too many Jews in attendance. Bloomberg reports on the Jewish quotas found in the United States,

Harvard, Yale and Princeton, up until the very early 1920s, had an exam-based system of admission. If you passed you were admitted. If you failed you were turned away. If you were in the gray zone, then they might admit you on conditions but basically, if you passed, regardless of your social background, you would be admitted. That was precisely why the system was judged to be no longer viable because too many of the wrong students, the “undesirable” students — that is, predominantly, Jewish students of East European background — started to pass the exams.

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The 5 Ways Orthodox Judaism Builds Strong Families

Friday, September 12th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

When I tell people I’m an Orthodox Jew I often get two types of responses. From  conservatives: “Wow, that’s so cool, I really admire that commitment and sacrifice. Tell me more about it!” And from liberals: “Wow I can’t believe you’re a Jewish conservative. What’s it like being Jewish with all of those redneck antisemites?” I tell group B how wrong they are by explaining the reactions I get from conservatives 99 times out of 100. But I don’t set the record straight with conservatives often enough about my faith. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s a choice I made (I didn’t grow up religious or necessarily even Jewish). I didn’t make this choice because I’m a martyr. I made it because it is an intensely logical religion, and one that sets the stage for a strong marriage and family life. Before I get into how and why, these are the three basic tenets of Orthodox Judaism:

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1. Kosher

No, this doesn’t mean the food I eat has been blessed by a rabbi. Judaism is a collection of laws, and the laws on what Jews can eat are plentiful. If something is kosher, it simply means that it has been made in accordance with these laws, with a Jewish supervisor ensuring all the rules were followed. Orthodox Jews don’t eat meat and milk mixed together, animals for consumption are killed according to Jewish law, and many categories of food (pork and shellfish being the most famous) are not allowed. The image above is a popular selection of the hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of kosher symbols in circulation. Check your packaged food for some of them; you’ll be surprised how much of what you eat is actually certified kosher!

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13 Reasons to Fall in Love with Lana Del Rey

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

13. She has discovered a close kinship with George Costanza.

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Sure, she may come off all serious in her videos, but Lana Del Rey has a seriously good sense of humor. According to Rolling Stone, Lana Del Rey ”has a George Costanza-like plan for the future.”

“I’m really specific about why I’m doing something or writing something,” she says. “But it always kind of gets translated in the opposite fashion. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve learned that everything I’m going to do is going to have the opposite reaction of what I meant. So I should do the opposite if I want a good reaction.” She’s surprised to learn that George tried this approach in an episode of Seinfeld. “Oh really? That’s awesome. Me and George Costanza! Oh my God!”

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The Challenge of Writing A Short History of Christianity

Sunday, September 7th, 2014 - by Rich Tucker

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Mention that you’ve read a short history of Christianity and people may assume you mean the New Testament. Or, perhaps, simply one of its books, Acts of the Apostles. But those are how-to manuals, not true histories.

Into this gap steps Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey with A Short History of Christianity.

Blainey’s created a cottage industry for himself out of this sort of thing. He’s also penned A Short History of the World and A Short History of the Twentieth Century. His Christianity book falls squarely in the middle of those tomes. Christianity is, in many ways, synonymous with what we used to call “Western Civilization,” at least the last 2,000 years of it.

His book belies its title because it’s anything but short, clocking in at some 550 pages. But that’s to be expected considering the scope and sweep of the topic. It’s not beach reading by any stretch. But this book, like Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time or Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices, was probably meant more as a reference manual than an offering to be read and discussed in book clubs.

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10 Reasons Why I Will Forever Love Joan Rivers

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

I pushed off the idea of writing this article when I first heard that Joan Rivers, one of my comic icons, was rushed to the hospital after a botched outpatient procedure last week. I didn’t want to think about having to say goodbye to Joan, to bid farewell to yet another icon of an age gone by, a powerhouse who managed to be a cultural force until her last breath. The only solace we can muster is in knowing that, for these ten reasons at least, Joan’s memory will be a blessing.

10. Joan never grew old or gave up.

At 81, she was as attuned to pop culture, politics, and current events as a 20 year old. A self-made fashionista, the comedian never retired, sat in a chair, or gave in to technology. Joan will forever be a role model to women who refuse to trade style for a shapeless moo-moo and an office chair for a rocking chair. In her later years she paired up with Melissa, illustrating that mothers and daughters really can work together and get along. She was a modern Bubbe, surrounded by her children and grandchildren as she took the world by storm.

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How Leo Strauss Nurtured American Narcissism

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 - by David P. Goldman

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Crossposted from Asia Times Online

The late Leo Strauss (1889-1973) was a thinker sufficiently nuanced to allow a wide range of interpretation of his views, and a teacher broad-ranging enough to influence students with divergent interests. I am honored to contribute occasionally to the Claremont Review of Books, associated with the so-called West Coast Straussians (although I am persona non grata among some East Coast Straussians). In fact, some of my best friends are Straussians.

As my friend Peter Berkowitz argues in a recent essay for RealClearPolitics, it is silly and not a little mendacious to portray the late emigre philosopher as an arachnidan spinner of right-wing plots. [1] My problem isn’t simply with Strauss, but with the ancients whom he admired. He taught that we have something fundamental to learn about statecraft from the ancient Greeks. This in my view is woefully wrong.

Greek philosophy, to be sure, remains one of the ornaments of human endeavor – as it applies to epistemology, ontology, aesthetics and logic, among other fields. Plato and Aristotle, though, came into adulthood just as the Greek city-states destroyed themselves through their own cupidity. What was left of Athens after the disastrous Peloponnesian War was ruined by Alexander of Macedon, who employed Aristotle as a tutor. I do not mean to deprecate the importance of the Greek polis as an exercise in democracy, but Aristotle was hardly its advocate.

“Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim,” begins the Nichomachean Ethics. But Aristotle’s assertion that all men seek the good (or at least the good as they see it) is wrong on the face of it. Frequently men seek perversion, violence, and the destruction of themselves and all around them. That is typical of civilizations that have reached their best-used-by-date, and at some point has been true of every civilization west of the Indus during the past 2,500 years with the exception of Israel.

By the time the Romans walked in, all of Greece could not field two regiments of phalanx-men. The rational, logical Greeks chose not to have children and disappeared. They did so after Athens built an empire that looted its colonies to pay off the Athenian mob, relying on imperial exactions for half of its food supply. Athens was a slave society that preyed on its neighbors. What is the sum of Athenian wisdom after the war was lost? For Sophocles (in Oedipus at Colonnus) it was that the best of all possibilities is never to have been born (“But who has such luck? Not one in ten thousand!,” said Yankel to Moishe in the old Jewish joke). It was Sophocles more than Aristotle whom Hellas took to heart, and ensured that its next generations would not be born.

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Beyonce’s 10 Worst, Anti-Woman Songs

Monday, August 25th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Also check out Leslie Loftis’ analysis of Beyonce’s performance at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards here.

10. “Bow Down/I Been On”

The Church of Bey has clearly gone to the pop goddess’s head. A critic at New Wave Feminism writes:

Aside from repeatedly yelling “bow down bitches”, the song also contains lyrics such as “I know when you were little girls / You dreamt of being in my world / Don’t forget it , don’t forget it / Respect that, bow down bitches”. Apparently, Beyoncé thought the appropriate response for young women who admired her and looked up to her was to call them misogynistic slurs and demand they genuflect in her presence.

This Bey Anthem doubles as the death knell of the sisterhood.

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VIDEO: Does Suffering Prove God Doesn’t Exist?

Sunday, August 24th, 2014 - by Prager University

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5 Idols that God’s Followers Allow to Get in the Way of Their Relationship with Him

Sunday, August 24th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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These days we don’t really talk much about idols, at least not in the literal sense. We talk about American Idol and teen idols and that sort of thing, but the idols that represent serious sin go unmentioned.

Throughout the Bible, we see the evidence of the damage that idol worship does. After the Exodus, when Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the impatient Israelites made a golden calf to worship. For the people of Israel, it was just downhill from there, as idol worship and the unfaithfulness toward God that such worship represented led to a world of trouble for them, including the exile to Babylon.

In the New Testament book of Acts, Jesus’ apostles encountered idol worshipers when they went about spreading the Good News of the Messiah. These worshipers of other gods — and even some of the craftsmen who made the physical idols — stirred up all sorts of strife for the followers of the one true God.

So what relevance does idol worship have for us today? These days, the idols that Jews and Christians follow aren’t graven images per se, but followers of God do allow certain ideas, preferences, and opinions to become idols that get in the way of their relationship with Him. Many of these idols come with the best of intentions, yet they impede the ability to truly follow God.

In the following pages, through an inter-faith dialogue with one of my favorite colleagues here at PJ Lifestyle, Susan L.M. Goldberg, we’re going to look at five idols that God’s followers allow to get in the way of their relationship with Him. Hopefully naming these idols will get some Christians and Jews to think about how they may affect their own relationship with God.

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5 Realizations as My 60th Birthday Draws Near

Sunday, August 24th, 2014 - by P. David Hornik

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These days I’m approaching the six-decade mark in rather odd circumstances. The Gaza War has reignited, and last night we in Beersheva were woken up twice by rocket alarms, meaning we had to rush out to the stairwell and hear the big booms of Iron Dome interceptors knocking Hamas rockets out of the sky. In other words, not the ideal environment for stocktaking and peaceful reflection.

Even so, the onset of my 60th gives rise to thoughts, so I’ll try, amid the commotion, to summarize some of what I see as life’s lessons.

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VIDEO: ‘What is Truth?’ said Jesting Pilate…

Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - by Andrew Klavan

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Cross-posted from Klavan on the Culture

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God’s Not Dead, But Some Are Trying

Monday, August 18th, 2014 - by Andrew Klavan

Take a look at some of these reviews for the religious indie hit God’s Not Dead:

From Britain’s Socialist newspaper The Guardian:  ”This warped evangelist item…  veers from the suspect…  to the outright hateful: by the jawdropping climax, wherein a preacher is effectively granted divine right to mow down non-believers, “doing God’s work” has become indistinguishable from Grand Theft Auto. Ban this sick filth.”

Here’s one from Movie Nation:  ”It’s a movie where rare is the voice that is raised, but deep is the rage bubbling through its rabid anti-intellectualism. When a non-believer is considered to be better off dead, that’s not brimstone you’re smelling. It’s bile.”

And from my old employers The Village Voice:  ”Judging by the ignorance and contempt with which the script treats nonbelievers, the real goal here is proving that non-Christians are worthless.”

I admit those reviews are the extreme ones. I disagreed with Claudia Puig’s negative review at USA Today but it was fair and honest and gave credit where credit was due. She and I saw the same flaws and strengths but came out with a different overall impression. Tastes differ.

My take? God’s Not Dead, is a pleasant and touching little entertainment, the core of which is an intelligent, succinct, well-reasoned and well-stated response to popular atheist arguments. There’s no Bible thumping, there are no threats of hellfire, there’s no attempt to “prove” God’s existence — the film admits it can’t be proved. But the script makes clear what I have thought for a long time: most atheist arguments, no matter how brilliant the scientist or philosopher who makes them, are just simply not very good judged on the merits.

What’s more, the movie is bracing in its vigor. It doesn’t hesitate to depict both the unkindness and the pain of a Muslim father when his daughter discovers Christ. His is a perfectly plausible reaction and we all know there are Muslim fathers who would do much worse. Nor does the movie fail to confront the fact of suffering and death that many non-believers find a dispositive argument against faith. I was happily surprised at how far the filmmakers were willing to go in making their case.

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