September 25, 2018

    Differences (continued):   Related to this point is the fact that, for Muslims, we are not all brothers and sisters because we are the children of the same God.  They understand what Christians mean when such words are used, and may even be sympathetic to the point a Christian might be trying to make, but, in their view, God does not have children.  We are creatures of God—no more related to Deity than the light bulb was related… Read more

September 24, 2018

    Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him,  And makes me poor indeed. William Shakespeare, Othello   ***   I particularly liked Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s speech today on the floor of the… Read more

September 24, 2018

    I’m sometimes quite puzzled by certain television commercials.  Recently there was an ad — I can’t recall what it was for — that used a non-Beatles version of the old Beatles song “Getting Better.”  I think it changed the lyrics just a tiny bit, from   I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, A little better all the time    to something like   I have to admit it’s getting better. It’s getting better all the time  … Read more

September 24, 2018

    A little bit more, now, from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010):   We still do not know how it is possible for people to experience an enhanced consciousness during a cardiac arrest, that is, during a period when the brain displays no measurable activity and all brain function, such as bodily and brain-stem reflexes and breathing, has ceased.  Looking at the interaction between consciousness and the brain, we concluded that… Read more

September 24, 2018

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh sent the following letter to the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier today.  See also my entry on “The Presumption of Guilt.”   Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein: When I testified in front of the Senate three weeks ago, I explained my belief that fair process is foundational to justice and to our democracy. At that time, I sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than 31 hours… Read more

September 24, 2018

    Wow.  It was absurd.  (Senator Spartacus of New Jersey, for example, made an utter grandstanding fool of himself.)  Then it got ugly.  (Senator Hirono of Hawaii came out of the closet as an enemy of due process and the presumption of innocence, at least for males and Republicans, although “Senator Hirono Didn’t Always Tell Men to ‘Shut Up’ and Believe Accusers.”)  And now it’s become uglier still.   Once again, I don’t know, and I will likely never… Read more

September 24, 2018

    I will be introducing Royal Skousen in the Hinckley Center tomorrow (Tuesday) night, on the BYU campus, for the lecture that he will deliver, assisted by Stanford Carmack, on “The Nature of the Original Language of the Book of Mormon.”   Here’s the text of the introduction that I gave to his lecture in April 2017, when the second edition of his enormous six-part Analysis of Textual Variants appeared:   I’m honored to introduce to you my friend… Read more

September 23, 2018

    Continuing with some notes on the topic:   Differences   Islam and Mormonism conceive of God rather differently.  Mormonism teaches an embodied God; at least officially (whatever ordinary, uneducated Muslims may believe, and though the Qur’an can easily—and, I think, should—be read otherwise), Islam teaches of a God without body or location.  (There is overwhelming evidence that many early Muslims, probably including the Prophet Muhammad himself, believed in a corporeal deity.)   The line of prophets in Islam… Read more

September 23, 2018

    I expect that I’ll stop extracting notes from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010) fairly soon.  But not just yet.   Some people who have near-death experiences feel themselves pulled rather abruptly into a “dark space,” and about fifteen percent of them find it somewhat or very frightening.  Here are two examples of that “dark space”:   And then everything went dark, but to my mind I didn’t lose consciousness, because… Read more

September 23, 2018

    In my previous post — creatively titled “Big Questions (A)” — I responded to a reader’s concerns about the Church’s numbers being small and about the fact that even its numbered members too often have a hard time holding on.  I continue my reply to him in this post.  Here’s a continuation of his comment to me:   If we truly all passed the first estate with flying colors by following Christ’s plan why has this earth been… Read more

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