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ISIS and 3 things God can't do

Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march in Najaf, June 21, 2014 (Reuters/Alaa Al-Marjani)The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is calling on supporters to find the addresses of military families through social media, then "show up and slaughter them."  The jihadist group is already known for beheading or crucifying men, raping women, and burying women and children alive.  Why are they acting with heinous violence?  Because they believe they are required by God to do so.

Muhammad conveyed the Qur'an in three stages.  The first, given while he was living in his hometown of Mecca from A.D. 610 to 622, is conciliatory in nature.  It includes statements such as "let there be no compulsion in religion" (2:256) and "to you be your Way, and to me mine" (109:6).  The second, given after he moved his followers to Medina and established the first Islamic community (known as the ummah), requires Muslims to defend Islam.  It includes statements such as "fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits" (2:190).

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Left Behind: will there be a rapture?

Movie Poster: Left Behind, the new release apocalyptic action thriller based on the New York Times bestselling novel that brings biblical prophecy to life in modern times from Stoney Lake Entertainment, stars Nicolas Cage in the lead role as Rayford Steele (Credit: Stoney Lake Entertainment) The Left Behind series is a publishing phenomenon, with 16 books and $65 million in sales.  Three movies have been based on the series; today's Left Behind makes the fourth.  In it, Nicolas Cage plays a pilot who attempts to calm his surviving passengers high above the Atlantic after the believers have been raptured.  Other well-known actors include Lea Thompson, Jordin Sparks, and Nicky Whelan.

The movie is based on the doctrine of the "rapture" (from the Latin rapturo, to take out).  There are various versions of the rapture, but they have in common the belief that Christians will be removed from the world by God during the "end times."

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Why 'How to Get Away With Murder' shocked me

How to Get Away with Murder official key art with Viola Davis, who plays the lead character Annalise Keating, a brilliant criminal defense professor who becomes involved in twisted murder plot with her ambitious law students (Credit: ABC)Viola Davis is a terrific actress, with two Tony Awards and two Academy Award nominations.  When she was announced as the lead in ABC's How to Get Away With Murder, the show became one of the most anticipated in the new television season.  My wife and I watched the pilot last week, expecting brilliant acting and an interesting plot.

What we didn't expect was a gay sex scene, the most graphic I've ever seen.  It turns out, there's more to come.  The show's creator says, "I knew I wanted to push the envelope, especially with the gay sex."  What's his motive?  "To me, writing the gay characterization and writing some real gay sex into a network show is to right the wrong of all the straight sex that you see on TV. . . . the more people get used to two men kissing, the less weird it will be for people."

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First U.S. Ebola case confirmed in Dallas

A sign outside the main entrance of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Walnut Hill Lane, the site of the first reported US case (Credit: AP/Tony Guiterrez) It was inevitable that an Ebola case would surface in the U.S., but I didn't expect the first patient to be in my own community.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital is in north Dallas.  I have visited patients there often over the years.  When news broke that the first U.S. Ebola patient was at Presbyterian, my first response was one of surprise.  My second was one of fear: does this signal an outbreak here?  Imagine that the first patient was hospitalized in your community—how would you feel?

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George Clooney and the marriage covenant

George Clooney and his wife, British lawyer Amal Alamuddin, arrive on Monday at the palazzo Ca'Farsetti in Venice for their civil ceremony, making them legally wed under Italian law, September 29, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi) On Monday, George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin in a civil ceremony in Venice, Italy.  The couple had a private ceremony the previous Saturday attended by family and close friends including Matt Damon and Bill Murray.

Whenever celebrities marry, we think of other celebrity marriages.  Britney Spears and Jason Alexander may have set the record for shortest celebrity marriage, with a marriage lasting a total of 55 hours.  Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were married for 72 days; their divorce proceedings lasted seven times longer.  Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra were married for nine days.  Jennifer Lopez and Ojani Noa were married for 11 months; she later married Cris Judd, but their marriage lasted only six months.

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