Just like Judaism is a religion that can exist independently from Jewish ethnicity or Jewish culture, Islam is a religion, and even though Muslims are ethnically and racially varied, there really is such a thing as a Muslim culture that can exist separately from Islam.
When reading the Bible we don't need to choose between a literal reading and a rejection. Both are small-minded and spiritually deadening positions. The Bible is far too rich to be reduced to such a flat formula, and we are far too magnificent to allow ourselves to be so small.
Has the story of Passover made a people better or more secure? Has it stirred its believers to blame others? Has it encouraged a sense of victimhood? That it has is cause for concern and for discussion at the annual Passover meal.
A closer look at the original context of the words of the Bible can help readers see past these translation mistakes, which range from awkward phrasing to misrepresenting such central themes as the Ten Commandments.
In the United States, in the year 2012, we are seemingly beholden -- for the next few weeks, at least -- to powerful Congressmen serving on the House Science Committee who think that anything other than their beliefs amount to "lies straight from the pit of hell."
It should be no surprise that biblical scholars run in all shapes, sizes, colors and denominations. What would surprise many people, though, is this one fact: many of us have our roots in fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity.
The more seriously one takes the Bible, the more seriously one should be willing to wrestle with its internal complexities. It is a remarkable collection of countless people's perspectives from a broad range of locations over the course of centuries.
Consider how every time we talk about sex and sexuality in dualistic terms -- as either right or wrong in whatever form -- we are controlling others' experience of it instead of being interested in their well-being.
We're obsessed in today's world with facts. Every syllable uttered by people in positions of power is put under a microscope, and we, the general public, love nothing more than to have subterfuge reveal in the media spotlight.
Critics of religion enjoy pointing out how many wars and how much suffering has been caused in the name of religion. But only science has given us the tools to kill each other in ways never before imagined.