Culture

Pornography, Islam and National Security

Captured caches of terrorist material often include pornography. Could pornography pose a risk to national security?

MercatorNet reports:

A federal grand jury recently indicted Army soldier Naser Jason Abdo, age 21, on three charges related to a plot to attack soldiers near Fort Hood, Texas. When authorities arrested him, they found in his possession bomb-making materials, a gun, ammunition, and the article ”Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” from a recent issue of al-Qaeda’s English online journal Inspire. Initial questioning of Abdo indicates that his intended targets were U.S. military personnel.

Much of the attention on this case so far has focused on Abdo’s religion—Islam—and his refusal to deploy to Afghanistan. As Rep. John Carter, whose 31st District in Texas includes Fort Hood, announced, “We may well have averted a repeat of the tragic 2009 radical Islamic terror attack.”

Any effort to make sense of this troubled young man will need to include understanding how he chose to approach and interpret his religion, and perhaps most importantly, why he adopted the interpretation he did. Any effort to understand Abdo without considering this question would be profoundly incomplete.

Yet tucked away, often near the closing paragraph of the articles about this case, is mention of an issue that I believe warrants more attention than it has received in the past decade of terrorism studies: namely, pornography. And in Abdo’s case, child pornography…

Read on here.

Culture

Steven Seagal ‘Killed my Puppy’

IOL News:

Actor Steven Seagal is being sued for allegedly killing a puppy, according to a report.

According to orange news, the action star is alleged to have killed the dog during filming of his reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman, in which he appears as a deputy sheriff.

TMZ reports that the owner of the pet, Jesus Llovera, is demanding $25 000 in compensation and a written apology after Seagal burst into his home to hunt down an illegal cockfighting ring.

Llovera claims that during the raid deputies shot and killed his 11-month-old pet.

Llovera said the raid on his home was unwarranted and that he only raises birds “for show”, TMZ reported.

Seagal has reportedly issued a vehement denial, saying: “I’ve been called a lot of things in my career, some of them not so kind. But to be labelled an animal abuser is beyond the pale and that is simply a role I will not accept.”

Officers also deny killing the dog, the report said.

Church

Interview: NT Wright’s ‘Kingdom New Testament’

As most by now know, ‘The Kingdom New Testament: A Contemporary Translation‘ is NT Wright’s version of the New Testament. Described as,

… a fresh, vivid translation of the New Testament.  This is The Message for a new generation. Not in centuries has such a powerful new translation of the Scriptures arisen for Christians everywhere, changing the way the entire English-speaking world can access the books of the New Testament. Wright seems to do the impossible, at once achieving a closer match to the Scripture’s original Greek, invoking more appropriately gender-neutral terminology, and providing a more natural, readable tone to the readings—even while magnifying the vibrancy and urgency of the original works. For Christians worldwide, this stunning new translation of the New Testament… is a crucial way to re-claim the message of the Bible.

(I’ve just added it to my wish list, hint, hint, anyone? 😉 – even though it’ll probably take almost forever to get here)

Well I see that a few days ago, Dr Ben Witherington had an interview with Dr Wright on this book:

I am very pleased to present the following interview, as a harbinger of the publication of N.T. Wright’s new book,  The Kingdom New Testament, (Harper One) a fine, fresh translation of the New Testament into contemporary English…

1) What prompted you to do a fresh translation of the NT?

It came  about because of the ‘Everyone’ commentaries (published by SPCK and WJKP  and now complete with Revelation due out next month). Originally we  discussed whether I should take one of the existing  translations and comment on it; but the series is meant to be ‘popular’  in the sense of ‘designed for people who would never normally dare to  open a biblical commentary’, and so I did NOT want to have to say ‘what a  pity the NRSV doesn’t quite catch the meaning’  or ‘here again the NIV lets us down badly’ or whatever. So . . . I  decided to try doing my own translation, so that people could read a  fresh version of the passage and then a comment on it without needing to  correct or discuss alternative meanings, etc. Then  some reviewers of the early volumes said, ‘Why not gather them all  together and make a complete NT’, and it seemed a good idea!

The rest is here.

The other questions asked and answered are:

2) What would you see as the distinctive features of your translation,  or its major contributions to our understanding of the language of the  NT?

3) When you did this translation, what sort and level of audience did  you keep in view in your mind’s eye?

4) Inevitably, someone will ask— Why do we need another English  translation of the NT?   How do you respond?

5)  Was J.B. Phillips one man translation something of an inspiration for  this project?  What are the difficulties with one person trying to do a  translation of the whole NT?

6) Where would you position this translation on the spectrum of more  literal or more idiomatic and paraphrastic translations?