Journal of Religion & Society

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    How Jewish is Artificial Intelligence? An Essay
    (Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University, 2023) Slonim, Adam; Rosenberg, Marcus
    This essay explores the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and Jewish law, tradition, and customs, also known as “Halakhah,” and raises important questions for religious Jewish communities, about how to incorporate AI while maintaining fidelity to tradition. It explores the application of AI in various scenarios, and draws insights from Jewish scripture, including reference to the golem, to shed light on assigning personhood to AI within a Jewish and religious framework. The essay examines the ethical implications of AI and its impact on spirituality. Overall, the essay explores the complex relationship between AI and Jewish law, addressing the challenges and opportunities presented to Jewish people by this rapidly advancing technology.
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    Otherness and Age: The Construction of Old People’s Personal Appearance in Early Islam
    (Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University, 2023) Hirsch, Hadas
    The aim of this article is to identify and characterize the differentiated group of the elderly in early Islam as presented in medieval legal sources. This identification serves as a crucial prerequisite for comprehending old age as a form of otherness and for describing and analyzing the guidelines of the elderly’s personal performance. The discourse of the personal appearance of the elderly in medieval Islam reflects a complex dynamic that is both exclusive and discriminatory, while also highlighting their position within society and their existence within respected margins. The construction of status and personal appearance for the elderly in this context represents an adjustment to the challenges posed by physical and social decline. This transformation is evident in the reconfiguration of roles and the formation of a new subgroup, although marginal, that preserves the dignity and respect of the elderly, and dedicates a separate discussion to their personal performance. The deconstruction or reconstruction of the status of elder people in medieval legal sources is characterized by a shift from focusing on parameters of personal appearance to focusing on behavioral characteristics: from preoccupation with personal appearance to an emphasis on inner qualities of personality. Although the personal performance of the elderly may lack the same level of appeal, it is redefined and discussed within a new context and altered balance, underscoring its significance throughout all stages of life.
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    Christian Heresy and the Anti-Judaic Midrash: The Jews in the Minds of Herbert W. Armstrong and his Evangelical Foes
    (Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University, 2023) West, Taylor Cade
    Jews, before and after World War II, were viewed with an attitude that was generally more positive and inclusive in the United States. This thinking about the Jews manifested in concepts such as Judeo-Christian and the Christian Zionist movement. Despite this new-found favor, hostile and negative conceptualizations of the Jews and Judaism persisted in some areas of American religion. An anti-Judaic midrash was being elaborated and spread. This negative attitude towards Judaism appeared not in the evangelical discourse about Jews or Israel but in one of the most unlikely of places: in internal struggles within the Christian church in the United States. On the margins of American Christianity, an unorthodox Christian movement arose. It was in conservative evangelical opposition to Herbert. W. Armstrong’s “heretical” movement and in Armstrong’s theology that the anti-Judaic was resurrected and enjoyed new life.
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    Gay Rights Versus Religious Liberty: The Case of Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop
    (Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University, 2023) Walsh, Anthony
    The “first liberty” of the United States is religious liberty as contained in the Bill of Rights forbidding Congress to interfere with citizens’ rights to exercise their religion. The legalization of same-sex marriage has seen the subordination of this right to public accommodation laws because religious wedding vendors have been required either to relinquish their consciences or face financial ruin. The iconic case involving constitutional rights clashing with anti-discrimination laws is that of Colorado baker, Jack Phillips. Phillips’ free exercise, free speech, and freedom from involuntary servitude rights are addressed. In similar cases involving other matters, the Supreme Court has ruled that the rights enumerated in the Constitution trump the unenumerated rights granted by state statutes.
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    Confronting Rhetorical Violence in Response to the Catholic Sex Abuse Crisis
    (Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University, 2023) Turnbloom, David Farina; Breen, Meg; Lamberger, Noah; Seddon, Kate Tyschper; Osuna, Sophia; Carey-DiGregorio, Benjamin; Doss-Hammel, Maya
    In response to the Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis, many Catholics have disaffiliated from the church. To stop members from leaving, Catholic bishops have utilized language that is rhetorically similar to the language used by perpetrators of domestic violence. This essay highlights some prevalent rhetorical devices used by Catholic leaders (i.e., ambiguity, bracketing, justification, and excuse) and shows how they are similar to the language domestic abusers will use to gaslight and control their victims. Then, four principles of a trauma-informed rhetoric are offered to combat the existing abusive rhetoric and to facilitate the cultural shifts needed if the Roman Catholic Church is going to heal.