Spiritual Community and Conflict: Judaism, Christianity, Islam

April 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Amanda Oldham

Just how many ways can scripture be read? According to Dr. David Nirenberg, the possibilities are endless.

“The book is not written in stone,” Nirenberg said. “People have the power to reshape its meaning.”

Nirenberg was the guest speaker for the 10th Nate and Ann Levine Endowed Lecture in Jewish Studies on Tuesday night in McCord Auditorium. His lecture, “Spiritual Community, Spiritual Conflict: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” encouraged the attendants to use the history of all three religions to aid their reading of scripture.

“You’re not forced to choose between history and faith. Scriptural tradition invites us to join the ongoing struggle of reading it correctly,” he said.

SMU student, Samiha Rouf, attended the lecture and thought the speaker’s ideas were interesting.

“It made me want to look more into my religion,” she said. “I want to study the Bible and texts in depth.”

The distinguished medievalist and University of Chicago professor believes that the world has a fascination with the way the three monotheistic religions interact with each other.

“The world is more preoccupied with religious conflict, especially between Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” Nirenberg said.

For much of the lecture, he focused on discussing ways that history can help interpret the old scriptural texts, despite the distance between the modern and the medieval world. How people interpreted scripture centuries ago may not be the way it is viewed today.

“It’s not that the scripture’s changed,” Nirenberg said. “We read scriptures in different ways.”

Nirenberg suggested that the best way to solve the current conflict between the different religions’ thoughts on scripture was to teach people how to critically read scripture.

Nirenberg advocates using the texts of all three religions to make personal conclusions, saying that this will create tolerant spiritual communities.

“His way of interpreting scripture has practical problems,” SMU senior Drew Konow said, pointing out the difficulties expressed by both the speaker and members of the audience throughout the lecture about building those communities.

Konow also praised Nirenberg for the lecture.

“It was really technical, which might make it challenging,” Konow said. “I thought his interpretations were novel.”

Nirenberg stressed the importance of looking at more than just one religion and ultimately agrees to disagree.

“No spiritual tradition has ‘the answer’. All three are capable of tolerance, violence and exclusion,” Nirenberg said. “If the world converted to one religion, the very nature of how scripture works will create new sects.”

Tech Blog: Rock On With New Rock Band

October 28, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by: Amanda Oldham

You ready to rock, SMU? With Rock Band 3, that is.

Maybe it’s not the same as being on a real stage, with real speakers, real instruments or a real crowd, but it’s the closest most college students can get to real musical fame.

The newest installment to the Rock Band franchise hit stores last Tuesday, adding a whole new list of songs to play as well as throwing in a whole new instrument into the mix. Now you can compete against the guitar solos with a wireless keyboard controller.

No small apartment party should go Rock Band tournament-less. What better way to have a fun time by watching your friends jam out to everything from Green Day to classic Queen hit “Bohemian Rhapsody”? (Though perhaps you should invest in some ear plugs).

Tech Blog: Farmville a Risk to Privacy

October 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Amanda Oldham

Okay all you Farmvillians, it’s time for an intervention.

Several of Facebook’s most popular and addictive games have come under attack for breaching the social network’s privacy policy. Despite the recent updates to privacy settings, games like Farmville and Mafia wars step aside the user’s desired privacy wall to gain personal data.

Zynga, the company behind the games that flood your inbox with invites, faces a class action lawsuit for illegally sharing data about their users and selling them to advertisers. Nearly 218 million users play Zynga’s games, however, the actual players are not the only ones affected.

Data being collected include the user’s name, gender, networks and even their profile picture, along with the same information about their friends.

Facebook has been good about shutting down content providers who find holes in the site’s security, however, forcibly sending millions of addicted Farmville players into withdrawal does not seem like something Facebook wants to do.

Which leads to one other option: users dropping the game to protect their information. Your friends who don’t play Farmville will be happy to see their invite inboxes empty, so let the crops die, or else the information you’ve worked to keep private could be given away.

Tech Blog: Don’t Worry About the 3DS

September 30, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Amanda Oldham

Nintendo dropped a bomb this week when they announced the release date of their new hand held console, the Nintendo 3DS. While the fanboys rejoiced and set their countdown clocks for March 2011, the rest can only snicker.

Now don’t get me wrong, the idea of a console with “real 3D graphics, no glasses required” sounds awesome. However, I doubt the reality will actually be what most people consider 3D. More than anything it feels as though Nintendo is cashing in on the current media craze that everything should be formatted for the 3D experience.

Granted, Nintendo has been ahead of the charge when it comes to innovation. This generation’s favorite nostalgia console, Nintendo 64, helped really break the ground into three dimensional rendered graphics. Nintendo’s latest console, the Wii, took the first step into motion-sensitive controls. A field where very few competitors have challenged. So I very well could be wrong in doubting the 3DS’s ability to blow my mind.

The content Nintendo has to show off the new system does look great. Everything from Mario, Star Fox, Zelda and Resident Evil will have an upcoming title for the 3DS, but is $300 of your hard earned cash worth the glorified upgrade from the DS Lite?

Tech Blog: Review of Wired Magazine’s iPad App

September 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Amanda Oldham

iPad app review: Wired Magazine

  • Immediacy/Urgency:
  • Non-linear news presentation:
  • Multimedia:
  • Interactivity:
    Sleek and shiny iPads deserve sleek and shiny apps. Thankfully, when it comes to technology and gadget news, the iPad couldn’t ask for more than the Wired Magazine App. Given that Wired’s main content is discussions and news pieces about new and upcoming technologies, I could only expect the best from their iPad app. I wasn’t disappointed.

    Immediately upon opening the app, I was greeted with a short video about the main subject of the current issue: whether or not watching shows on television is out of date. As I scrolled through the issue, each page was as glossy and finished as the hard copy, just embedded with videos that expanded on the stories on the virtual page. It allowed me to quickly glance at all of the pages from a distance, which made finding what I was looking for easier until I discovered that clicking on the title of the story in the Table of Contents skipped right to the story anyway, which only makes searching for a specific article to share with someone that much easier.

    Although the smooth multimedia and non-linear presentation of the app was enough for it to win a place in my heart, the only issues I found was in how often the app was updated and its questionable interactivity. Wired produces its issues monthly, thus the app is only updated once a month, and in the world of technology, one month can mean all the difference in a rapidly evolving industry.

    However, I understand that the magazine is not Wired’s main focus, and that information is constantly updated on the website, which offers a huge amount of communication between readers and those posting. The app only downloads the pages and videos of a certain issue. While iPad readers may pick and choose which stories they want to read about, Wired mostly leaves the interactivity to the website.