How Jewish was Jesus?

There is a consensus among Biblical scholars that Jesus and the New Testament can only be understood in the context of the ancient Jewish sociocultural system. However, Christian theologies over the centuries have largely developed in synthesis with Greek philosophy.

The Israel Lobby

The overbearing power and McCarthyite tactics wielded by the American Jewish establishment against critics of Israeli government policies has made critical discourse about U.S. support for the Israeli government extremely difficult. As a result, it is all too easy to buy into the arguments put forward by the book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” that the ‘Israel Lobby’ is primarily responsible for the tragic course taken in U.S. Middle East policy.

NSP Update: Notes from the Network of Spiritual Progressives

THE NSP HAS SET OUT TO TRANSFORM ALL OUR INSTITUTIONS, POLICIES, and social practices so that they encourage rather than undermine our ability to treat every human being as an embodiment of the sacred (as having “inherent worth and dignity,” in secular terms) and our ability to respond to the universe with awe, wonder, and radical amazement. Where does one start on a task that large?

Carbon: Tax Not Cap-and-Trade

A May headline in the Chicago Tribune says it all: “The First Refugees of Global Warming: Bangladesh Watches in Horror as Much of the Nation Gives Way to Sea.” Each day’s news brings more reminders of the harms that global warming is already causing to people, communities, and nature throughout the world. From Hurricane Katrina and the inundation of island nations to heat waves in Europe and drought in Australia, climate change is wreaking horrific damage.

The Simpsons: It’s Funny ‘Cause it’s True

Flying into Orlando in a 2003 episode of The Simpsons, patriarch Homer peers down at a theme park and sees a large, distinctive Future Sphere like the one at Disney’s Epcot, and takes a decidedly dim view. “It’s even boring to fly over,” he whines. Thus begins a typically madcap set of misadventures and missteps familiar to any family that has dragged itself to Florida for a vacation it couldn’t afford, including a run-in with a fascist-sounding mouse and grossly overpriced food.

Why Torture Continues

The American media has largely acquiesced to the Bush Administration’s strategy in reporting on the war: if American human rights violations get reported at all, they are quickly forgotten. Yet, the strong efforts by the Bush Administration to retain torture as a standard procedure in dealing with anyone it considers a terrorist or “enemy combatant” indicates a commitment to continue using torture for as long as the government can get away with it.

Conservative Judaism: Good for the Gays?

In the gay Jewish community few people are breaking out the champagne over the Conservative movement’s long-expected split decision on homosexuality this past December. It was, the conventional wisdom goes, a positive step—nothing more.

Two Dystopian Movies . . . and their Visions of Hope

WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be human? What is it that limits our humanity, and what causes it to flower? The need to find or create meaning seems to be one commonality of human existence—through storytelling, myth, or religion, we can connect to our core decency, a place untouched by the vagaries of the world. Recently, a cadre of Mexican directors—Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men), Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu (Babel)—has taken on our global humanity, offering genre-defying and emotionally rich perspectives