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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 7, 2007 / 27 Kislev 5768

On motives, Mormons, Muslims & Mitt

By Jonah Goldberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Personally, while I'm intellectually curious about Mormonism — the topic du jour because of Mitt Romney's big religion speech this week — I really can't get worked up about the topic.


Romney says that his faith informs his values, and I believe him. I also think he's generally right about the importance of faith in a free society. But, ultimately, I don't much care why he's a decent guy; I just care that he's decent.


In fact, I think we get too hung up on motivations, particularly when it comes to religion.


For example, many Christian conservatives support Israel and look kindly on Jews because they believe they have a holy duty to do so. The Messiah will not return, according to the book of Revelation, until the Jews restore the Kingdom of Israel.


Evangelical Christians believe that when the Messiah returns, things won't go too well for the Jews — two thirds die, one third convert. Gershom Gorenberg, author of "The End of Days," once complained to "60 Minutes," "As a Jew, I can't feel very comfortable with the affections of somebody who looks forward to that scenario."


Well, boohoo. In the horrible annals of Jewish problems, the fact that a whole bunch of Christians love Jews for the "wrong" reasons has got to rank pretty low. Besides, since presumably Jews don't believe in Christian prophecy, what's the problem? If it's not true, then no harm, no foul. If it is true, well, who are we to argue with God? My guess is God's response to the morally decent Jew who gets really worked up about this would be something akin to "Don't worry, I've got you covered."


Of course, that's not a terribly sophisticated theological argument. But, historically, theology hasn't mattered that much to Americans. Mormons are a good example. Americans didn't want Utah to become a state because Mormon men took too many wives. Mormons dropped polygamy and — bada bing — Americans dropped their objections to Mormon statehood.


Irving Kristol has cited the fight over Utah's statehood as a quintessential expression of how America practices theological pluralism while insisting on moral conformity. It is the American way to care about what people do, not about what they think. Every religion's theology has some wacky stuff in it, not only from the atheist's perspective but from the perspective of pretty much every other religion. It's impossible to know how much this or that theological tenet guides a person's actions. All we can judge is the person's actions.


This is why I think many people get too invested in the tenets of Muslim theology. Defenders of Islam, as well as apologists for terror, often say Islam means peace and point to this or that quote from the Koran. Opponents of Islam will often say that Islam is a religion of violence and conquest and point to a different part of the Koran. As a literary exercise, both sides have good arguments. But at the end of the day, Koranic exegesis will only get you so far. Ultimately, a religion is what its adherents do in its name.


And for a significant minority of Muslims, it is simply the case that Islam is a religion of violence. How else are we supposed to react to a Sudanese mob chanting for the execution of a schoolteacher because she permitted her students to name a teddy bear Mohammed. The people who should be angry about this fact are the majority of Muslims who claim theirs is a religion of peace (and, it should be noted, some Muslims were indeed mortified by the spectacle).


I have liberal Jewish friends who are sometimes flummoxed as to how I could hang out, ideologically or personally, with "Christian fundamentalists." My short answer is: Have you ever met any? I may not want some of them planning my next trip to Vegas, but the ones I've met couldn't be nicer or more polite.


And the same goes for Mormons. Yes, I think there's some weird stuff in Mormonism, but they might say "Same to you!" about Jews. Still, all of the Mormons I've met have been serious, kind and morally upstanding. Republicans might also note that Mormons are among the most reliably conservative senators and congressman.


I think the objections to Mormon theology are often sound. But I think there are sound objections to pretty much every theology. It's a good thing for Romney that while theology isn't relevant to picking a president, morality is.

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