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"Tradition?? The only good traditions are food traditions. The rest are repressive."

"There are two ways to think. The first is to trust to your ancestors, your religious leaders, or your charismatic professors. The second is to question, to challenge, to explore history for meanings, and to analyze issues. This latter is called Critical Thinking, and it is this that is the mission of my web site. "

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

April 2018

Words Matter.

Definitions are very useful when words have power over our minds. Terrorism is one of those words. For some people, the only time "terrorism" is used is when an act of violence is committed by a Muslim. But playing loose and fast with a definition has resulted in calling a radicalized Muslim, who murdered 13 of his fellow military at Fort Hood, a perpetrator of "workplace violence."

Acts of violence by Muslims are not always terrorism, such as honor killings of family members (wo more...

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Fake News and Conspiracy Theories


History is full of examples of misinformation being broadly believed by the gullible. There were no newspapers or other media during the middle ages. People learned the news from town criers, priests in the churches, and edicts from rulers. Aside from that, the rumor mills were alive and well, and the superstitious believed anything.

The first Crusade was called by Pope Urban II in 1095, a call to arms in response to the Muslim takeover of the Holy Land, barring and perse more...

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May 2017

Limits to Tolerance (Part 2 of 3)


On May 13, my column provided the global history of religious tolerance. This column features the history of western religious persecution that led to today's modern values of tolerance.

European religious intolerance dates back to when the Romans made Christianity the state religion. Other faiths were discouraged and some actively persecuted. The arrival of Islam in North Africa and the formerly Christian Holy Land created a conflict that soon became the three-century "C more...

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America?s Long Religious Heritage


Unlike the rest of the developed world, which is either tepid on religion or is fiercely secular (France) or actively hostile (China), the United States can still be called a religious country. What is different about our religious history is that we have never had a state religion and we try to protect religious freedom (freedom to practice without government intrusion). Furthermore, our lack of a formal state religion has given rise to some very original new religions, such as Church o more...

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April 2016

Genocide extends back 7,000 years.

Archaeologists have just found a 7,000-year-old Stone Age mass gravesite outside of Frankfurt, Germany! This horrifying find erases what we had always thought about human behavior at the beginnings of agriculture and village life. Genocide has a long human history, but we didn?t know that it was that early in the agricultural revolution when population density could not have been large enough to provide for organized warfare.

This is just one of a number of similar mass graves. T more...

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