Personal Emancipation Through a Comparative of Two Metaphysical Encounters: The Samaritan Woman in the New Testament, and Nachikethas in the Katha Upanishad
Anil D’Souza, Christ Deemed-To-Be-University, Bangalore, India
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How Jewish is Artificial Intelligence?
Adam Slonim, Australian Institute for Machine Learning, Adelaide University
Marcus Rosenberg, Hamayan Jewish Community, Melbourne, Australia
[ Abstract ] [ Essay PDF ]
Historically, Jews have been scapegoated for a variety of social, economic, and political ills. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was considerable misinformation and disinformation, especially on social media, linking Jews to the pandemic. This paper uses Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Survey Project data to test whether objective trends in the pandemic severity and Google searches linking Jews with COVID-19 affected attitudes toward Jews. Time series analysis indicates death rates and Google searches resulted in less positive attitudes towards Jews, but despite being statistically significant, impacts were substantively small. The conclusion puts the findings into context.
In 1993 (Kokkinakis v. Greece), the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that under Article 9, “atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and the unconcerned” are protected; but to make that protection effective, the Court requires those views to meet the requirements of “cogency, seriousness, cohesion, and importance.” In 2021 (De Wilde v. the Netherlands), the Court ruled that the pastafarians (adherents to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) failed to meet these requirements. This article analyzes the two verdicts, pointing out the relevance for the protection of religious and non-religious minorities.
The growth in multi-ethnic Evangelical churches (MECs) is a surprising phenomenon given the history of racial segregation in American Evangelicalism. Using interviews and ethnographic data, we delineate cultural, theological, political, and psychological obstacles MECS face in transforming themselves into spaces to confront racial inequalities in the congregation and the larger society. We argue that MECs find themselves in a “valley of transition,” where obstacles might create backlash from white and Black Evangelicals alike. However, opportunities remain for these churches to model for other Evangelicals and the larger American community how to do the difficult work of seeking racial justice.
A study of thrift in the Nation of Islam refines our understanding of the frugality discourse by focusing on eschatology rather than personal piety. Thrift for Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation from 1934 until 1975, constituted the means not to reform society but to overthrow it and usher in the end of history. Muhammad and his followers employed thrift both to promote personal spiritual health and achieve certain social aims. However, Muhammad looked forward to a time when thrift would both catalyze the apocalypse and simultaneously cease as a moral imperative.
This short essay deconstructs the idea of personal emancipation through two spiritual encounters. The first is a critical incident from the Gospel of John when the Samaritan woman encounters Jesus. The second encounter from the Katha Upanishad involves Nachikethas, the young boy who is offered to the God of Death by his father as part of his sacrificial ritual. Both themes make for a formidable argument on the quest for human redemption through the pursuit of truth and the quest for salvation. The essay integrates these two encounters with elements from eastern and western philosophical perspectives in examining individual motivation in seeking for a way out of bondage from eternal suffering.
In response to the Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis, many Catholics have disaffiliated from the church. To stop members from leaving, Catholic bishops have utilized language that is rhetorically similar to the language used by perpetrators of domestic violence. This essay highlights some prevalent rhetorical devices used by Catholic leaders (i.e., ambiguity, bracketing, justification, and excuse) and shows how they are similar to the language domestic abusers will use to gaslight and control their victims. Then, four principles of a trauma-informed rhetoric are offered to combat the existing abusive rhetoric and to facilitate the cultural shifts needed if the Roman Catholic Church is going to heal.
The “first liberty” of the United States is religious liberty as contained in the Bill of Rights forbidding Congress to interfere with citizens’ rights to exercise their religion. The legalization of same-sex marriage has seen the subordination of this right to public accommodation laws because religious wedding vendors have been required either to relinquish their consciences or face financial ruin. The iconic case involving constitutional rights clashing with anti-discrimination laws is that of Colorado baker, Jack Phillips. Phillips’ free exercise, free speech, and freedom from involuntary servitude rights are addressed. In similar cases involving other matters, the Supreme Court has ruled that the rights enumerated in the Constitution trump the unenumerated rights granted by state statutes.
The aim of this article is to identify and characterize the differentiated group of the elderly in early Islam as presented in medieval legal sources. This identification serves as a crucial prerequisite for comprehending old age as a form of otherness and for describing and analyzing the guidelines of the elderly’s personal performance. The discourse of the personal appearance of the elderly in medieval Islam reflects a complex dynamic that is both exclusive and discriminatory, while also highlighting their position within society and their existence within respected margins. The construction of status and personal appearance for the elderly in this context represents an adjustment to the challenges posed by physical and social decline. This transformation is evident in the reconfiguration of roles and the formation of a new subgroup, although marginal, that preserves the dignity and respect of the elderly, and dedicates a separate discussion to their personal performance. The deconstruction or reconstruction of the status of elder people in medieval legal sources is characterized by a shift from focusing on parameters of personal appearance to focusing on behavioral characteristics: from preoccupation with personal appearance to an emphasis on inner qualities of personality. Although the personal performance of the elderly may lack the same level of appeal, it is redefined and discussed within a new context and altered balance, underscoring its significance throughout all stages of life.
Jews, before and after World War II, were viewed with an attitude that was generally more positive and inclusive in the United States. This thinking about the Jews manifested in concepts such as Judeo-Christian and the Christian Zionist movement. Despite this new-found favor, hostile and negative conceptualizations of the Jews and Judaism persisted in some areas of American religion. An anti-Judaic midrash was being elaborated and spread. This negative attitude towards Judaism appeared not in the evangelical discourse about Jews or Israel but in one of the most unlikely of places: in internal struggles within the Christian church in the United States. On the margins of American Christianity, an unorthodox Christian movement arose. It was in conservative evangelical opposition to Herbert. W. Armstrong’s “heretical” movement and in Armstrong’s theology that the anti-Judaic was resurrected and enjoyed new life.
This essay explores the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and Jewish law, tradition, and customs, also known as “Halakhah,” and raises important questions for religious Jewish communities, about how to incorporate AI while maintaining fidelity to tradition. It explores the application of AI in various scenarios, and draws insights from Jewish scripture, including reference to the golem, to shed light on assigning personhood to AI within a Jewish and religious framework. The essay examines the ethical implications of AI and its impact on spirituality. Overall, the essay explores the complex relationship between AI and Jewish law, addressing the challenges and opportunities presented to Jewish people by this rapidly advancing technology.