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Society

What Jesus Really Said: Fixing The Mistranslations That Have Shaped Christianity

Jesus spoke Aramaic, but the Bible has been translated from Greek. Many mistaken translations of the Gospels have skewed the development of Christianity — and the course of history. It's time to let the Bible be retranslated to let its true message be known.

BERLIN — Jesus spoke Aramaic. It was his mother tongue and 2,000 years ago it was the main language throughout the Middle East. The New Testament, however, is translated from Greek into all the languages of the world. Aramaic expert and theologian Günther Schwarz (who died in 2009) was dissatisfied with the classical translation and studied Aramaic every day for 50 years in order to better understand Jesus in his native language. In doing so, he came to the realization that about half of all Jesus' words in the gospels were mistranslated or even deliberately falsified.

His shocking conclusion: “What Christians believe, Jesus did not teach! And what Jesus taught — the Christians do not know.” The theologian has written 20 books and around 100 scientific articles about Jesus and Aramaic. He sent his findings to all German-speaking bishops. Response: zero.

So, as a journalist, I want to use my Jesus books to educate people about Günther Schwarz's findings.

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LGBTQ+ International: Spain’s Transgender Bill, Istanbul Pride Arrests — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

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Modi And The "Ideology Of Islamophobia" In India

The Gulf region's public reaction to the controversial comments on Prophet Muhammad made by two senior officials from India's ruling party is worrying Muslim Indians who feel this intervention might do more harm than good. For the author, the BJP's "ideology of Islamophobia" is the center of the problem.

-OpEd-

NEW DELHI — As Muslim countries started condemning the abusive comments two leaders of the ruling BJP party made against the Prophet, a friend’s mother remarked: “We saw what happened to those who protested hate speech against Muslims in Kanpur. Like after every attack, we felt that the highest form of public humiliation of Indian Muslims would be normalized."

She added that when condemnation from foreign governments protesting started pouring in, I was reminded of the story of a swarm of ababeel [swifts] defending the holy Kaaba against an army of wild elephants.”

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How A Hardware Store Helped Build The Muslim Community Of Belize

In Belize, San Pedro's Muslim community revolves around the Harmouches, a Lebanese family who immigrated in the 1980s and whose hardware business is at the heart of the town.

SAN PEDRO, Belize — On tropical Ambergris Caye in Belize, Islam is a family affair. The island's largest town, San Pedro, has a population of just over 13,000, of whom some 200 are Muslims. This small yet vibrant Muslim community was launched by a single adventurous Lebanese family — the Harmouches.

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Ideas
Luigi Manconi

Why Pope Francis Is Right To Avoid Ukraine War Politics

The Pope is being urged to "go to Kyiv," and name Putin as the aggressor in the war in Ukraine. If he did so, the pontiff would renounce his own religious charisma, and ultimately sap him of his unique role and power as the ultimate messenger of peace.

-OpEd-

ROME — Precisely because I am in favor of the Ukrainian popular resistance and of all initiatives in its support, I am equally in favor of Pope Francis' unmitigated stance for pacifism.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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The origin of the pontiff's choice should always reside in the words that constitute the foundation of the relationship between Christians and history: Be in the world, but not of the world (John 15:18-19). Everything is contained in that guidance.

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Coronavirus
Ángel Mazariegos Rivas

Sin Of Disinformation, The Guatemalan Pastors Who Condemn COVID Vaccines

Vaccination rates in Guatemala are among the lowest in the Americas, and misinformation plays a key role. From their pulpits, some religious leaders spread messages against the use of masks and the efficacy of vaccines.

ESCUINTLA, GUATEMALA — One year since the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 began in Guatemala, only 45% of the population over 12 years old has been fully vaccinated and 15% have received a booster.

The figures are far from the projections the National Vaccination Plan presented in February 2021, with the aim to vaccinate the country's entire adult population within six months.

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Geopolitics
Worldcrunch

Why Iranians Are Burning Statues Of Khomeini And Soleimani, Heroes Of The Revolution

With increasing frequency, Iranians are destroying or defacing the monuments of revolutionary and clerical leaders that they have come to loathe as symbols of oppression. It is a dangerous act of protest against the regime, which has called the vandalism "vile."

There has been a sustained — if furtive — trend among disgruntled Iranians to deface, vandalize or destroy monuments raised in honor of prominent figures of the Islamic Republic, in power since 1979. It is a residual form of protest under a regime that allows none. However, rest assured, no harm is done to the country's cultural heritage: It is safe to say the structures in question have no aesthetic value at all.

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Ideas
Ricardo Roa

If The Pope Won't Condemn Putin, He'll Wind Up On The Wrong Side Of History

Pope Francis must make a hard choice that supersedes his eagerness to heal the rift between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, which is diluting his already tepid postures on the Russian war in Ukraine.

-OpEd-

BUENOS AIRES — It is difficult to find an explanation for the Pope's choice for discretion in the face of the massacre in Ukraine. A month into the invasion, as the deaths and destruction mount, Pope Francis has yet to condemn Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin. As far as our Jorge Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, is concerned, they are not at fault. Few in the world would agree; in fact he is swimming against the tide.

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Society
Tobias Käufer

How The Russian Orthodox Church Is Backing Putin’s Holy Crusade

Patriarch Kirill I has offered Putin a religious justification for his invasion of Ukraine, while Pope Francis stands firmly with the Ukrainian people. The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church is a close ally of Putin’s, and has surprising links to the KGB.

-Analysis-

Even the Virgin Mary has been drafted into Putin’s war: “We believe that this image will protect the Russian army and bring us a swifter victory,” Viktor Zolotov, director of the National Guard of Russia, said when receiving an image of Mary from Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow recently.

Bestowing the icon on Zolotov is a clear sign that the Russian Orthodox Church is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Russian army and Vladimir Putin’s government.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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While Kirill aimed to give Russia’s attack on Ukraine a veneer of legitimacy through the ceremony, Zolotov told the Patriarch why "things are not progressing as quickly as we would like”. According to the Orthodox Times, he said the problem was “that the Nazis [by which he means the Ukrainians] are using civilians, elderly people and children as human shields”.

Since the first Russian troops entered Ukraine, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has taken on a more prominent role, as he offers Putin a religious justification for his war of aggression.

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Society
*Rachel Dwyer

Bollywood Is Finally Showing The True Colors Of India's Holi Festival

Holi is much more than just throwing petals and colored powders. In addition to being a celebration of life, family and fertility, its songs and dances can also be a vehicle to warn against life’s dangers, or depict intimate moments where the saris are wet and the bodies can touch. And the Bollywood film industry too is progressively moving away from a sanitized depiction.

My first Holi in India was not an enjoyable one.

Amritsar. 1990. I’d missed the train to Pakistan — seriously... — so I took a three-wheeler to the border at Wagah. Although the driver was somewhat anxious, the fare was too good for him to turn down.

Ignored by lurking terrorists (were there really any?), we did astonish several jawans soldiers crouched behind their sandbagged posts, but were soon hit, inevitably, by a carrier bag of cold water, the rest of the journey being bumpy, chilly and soggy.

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Turkey
Carolina Drüten

Why Gen Z Is A Real Threat To Erdogan's Grip On Power In Turkey

Erdogan has long sought to mould young Turks into a so-called 'pious generation' for his brand of Islamic political rule. Now it seems he has failed, as the younger generation longs for what that the president refuses to grant them. In next year’s elections, their votes may prove decisive.

ISTANBUL — The only Turkey that Zehra Denizoglu has ever known is the one governed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He became Prime Minister the year she was born, and shortly afterward was named “European of the Year”, having brought the inflation rate down to 9%. Now, 18 years later, it is more than five times that, and Erdogan has established a regime where he wields absolute power. Denizoglu is now an adult and has started studying at a university in Istanbul. Next year she will be one of around 6 million first-time voters in Turkey.

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Coronavirus
Irene Caselli

How Courts Around The World Are Stripping No-Vaxxers Of Parental Rights

The question of who gets to decide questions around a child's health when vaccines are at play is complicated, and keeps popping up from Italy to Costa Rica to France and the U.S.

It is a parent’s worst nightmare to find out their child needs heart surgery. When it happened to the parents of a two-year-old child in the central Italian city of Modena, there was something extra to worry about: The blood transfusion required for the operation could include traces of the COVID-19 vaccine, which they opposed for religious reasons.

The parents asked the Sant'Orsola clinic in Bologna if they could vet the blood for the transfusion to make sure it hadn’t come from vaccinated donors. When the hospital refused, the parents took it to court, putting their child’s surgery on hold.

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