Book review: “Slavery and Islam” by Jonathan A. C. Brown

"If slavery is a manifest and universal evil, why did no one seem to realize this until relatively recently? What does that mean about our traditions of moral reasoning or divine guidance? Why do our scriptures condone slavery and why did our prophets practice it? How can we venerate people and texts-- the prophets, Founding Fathers, a scripture or founding document-- that considered slavery valid or normal? And, if we see clear and egregious moral wrongs that those people and texts so conspicuously missed, why are we venerating or honoring them in the first place?"

Book review: “Destiny Disrupted” by Tamim Ansary

Your knowledge of the Muslim World was probably Disney's Aladdin before 9/11. Then it became limited to the daily news cycle of the "war on terror." How did such a rich and diverse civilization become relegated to the dustbin of history? Ansary does a masterful job of putting modern conflicts in their historical context from Babylon to the Six Day War.

Book review: “A Secular Age” by Charles Taylor

Most accounts of secularization are pretty flat: the march of clear and virtuous reason against the suffocating faith of the Middle Ages. Charles Taylor gives much more detailed account than these over-simplifications-- and regardless of your background, Taylor's work is an engaging read.

Moral relativism?

I am not a moral relativist. But I am what I will call for lack of a better term an experiential relativist. I believe that everyone's experiences, and thus what can be expected of them at any given moment, is different. I try to avoid any hint that I am somehow on a higher plane... Continue Reading →

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