Invitation essay

Gefilte Fish in the Land of the Kingfish: Jewish Life in Louisiana By Susan Levitas Popular culture and history have helped create the idea in the public imagination, that American Jews are northern city dwellers, mostly living in New York, who sound and act like Woody Allen. As southern Jewish historian Eli Evans points out, even northern Jews are hard pressed to believe that Jewish life exists, let alone thrives, south of the Mason Dixon Line. The fact is, over one million Jews live in the South, from tiny towns in Arkansas to booming metropolises like Atlanta.

Invitation essay

Religion, he said, was the first human attempt to systematically explain the world. Durkheim thought that religious rationality would wither away in modern times for him, the early twentieth century because scientific rationality would replace it, by virtue of its superior explanatory power.

Alas, he seems to have gotten this one wrong. But Durkheim was right about the genealogy of thought. Modern religion is an elaboration of a belief in magic. In the absence of a scientific explanation of events and institutions, faith in magical powers, fetishization of nature, and overinterpretation of random variation are inevitable.

Durkheim expected religion to fall out of fashion as the outright belief in magic had, for the same reason. For anyone with the least education, the superior power of scientific thinking is obvious.

Only a willful ignorance could lead to any other conclusion. This is where we find ourselves. We live in a world that wants the fruits of scientific labor, but refuses the mental discipline of scientific rationality.

Invitation essay

Just like children, we want to have our cake and to eat it too. I Am Alone, by T.

Religion and Morality: A Contradiction Explained.

Religions have persisted, despite their inability to explain the modern world. Here, in fact, we have a stunning reversal: Many will find this uncertainty anxiety-provoking, and will look around for a convenient escape. As social organizations, religions have a dramatic power that hides their essential irrationality.

They persist today because they are so effective at constructing group identities and at setting up conflict between the in- and out-groups. For all religions, there is an "us" and a "them.

It is no accident that the history of world religions is a history of violence, hatred and intolerance. And, being liars, and thus, evil, they forfeit their rights as equal members of the community.

This is the poisonous logic of religious irrationality. All modern religions are ideological: Complete acceptance is the only way to escape the uncertainty of modernity. For this reason, religion without fanaticism is impossible. Anyone whose mind is trapped inside such a mental prison will be susceptible to extreme forms of behavior.

All religions foment their own kind of holy war. The reader might point out that some believers are more bland and mild than fire and brimstone. Those whose devotion is moderate are, perhaps, only cowardly fanatics.

They want the fellowship and the security but ignore the logic of the system to which they grudgingly adhere. They may be more numerous than the overt fanatics, but they will always have less influence.

This is simply the operation of the rule of the lowest common denominator; in response to uncertainty, the exaggerated sense of confidence of the zealot will win over the crowd. If you doubt that this is true, consider modern politics. The same dynamic applies. This is why our political system has given birth to the "war on drugs" and "family values.

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breac // University of Notre Dame FAQ This I Believe Essay Writing Suggestions Although we are no longer accepting new essays on our website, we thought we would share these essay writing suggestions in case you wished to write an essay for your own benefit. Writing your own statement of personal belief can be a powerful tool for self-reflection.
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Introduction Though perhaps best known throughout the world for his science fiction, Isaac Asimov was also regarded as one of the great explainers of science.

Gefilte Fish in the Land of the Kingfish: Jewish Life in Louisiana

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