“Climate change not as threatening to planet as previously thought, new research suggests”

    Oh my.  If this proves to be true, will Al Gore feel obligated to fly around in private jets even more than he currently does?   “Climate change not as threatening to planet as previously thought, new research suggests”   “Limiting global warming to 1.5 °C may still be possible”   Personally, I’m neither a climate-change zealot nor a climate-change skeptic, and I’m certainly not opposed to attempting to clean up our environment and to keep it clean…. Read more

“Post-Biblical Judaism”

    In the previous passage from my forthcoming book, I wrote briefly about the scandal of what we in the West have often called “world history.”  Now I focus a bit more:   Post-biblical Judaism There is a similar gap—not scandalous, but still more than a bit unfortunate—in our knowledge of the history of religion. For most Latter-day Saints, and for most Christians generally, the history of Israel ends with Malachi. There is a blank space of a few… Read more

From Chapter 1, “After the Testaments”

    Something of an apology (in the classical sense) for the book on Islam that I’m preparing for a Latter-day Saint audience, from Chapter 1:   I have a little book in my home library that I treasure. I love it for its impressive title: The History of the World in Two Hundred and Forty Pages.[1] In many ways, although I’m about to use it as a bad exam­ple, it isn’t really a bad book. But I confess that… Read more

A glimpse at one of the (many) wonders inside of you

    Below, I offer a passage from a lecture by Francis S. Collins, M.D. (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Ph.D. (Yale University), entitled “The Language of God: A Believer Looks at the Human Genome” and delivered on 3 December 2008 in New York City as part of the “Socrates in the City” lecture series.  Dr. Collins had served, prior to this lecture, as director of the Human Genome Project.  Subsequent to giving it, he was named by… Read more

“When Mormons Aspired to Be a ‘White and Delightsome’ People”

    It’s probably pure coincidence, but The Atlantic, one of America’s better and more serious magazines, has published two fairly substantial articles of late that have dealt, to some degree or another, with Mormonism.  This one, an interview with the non-LDS (but not, I think, anti-LDS) historian Max Perry Mueller, likely won’t altogether please us, but it’s worthy of our attention:   “When Mormons Aspired to Be a ‘White and Delightsome’ People:  A historian looks at the legacy of… Read more

“Paganism Condemned”

    Still going:   Paganism Condemned Another common theme beginning in the earliest chapters of the Qur’an is a denunciation of paganism, the worshiping of pagan gods. This theme drew enthusiastic praise from Parley P. Pratt: Mahometanism included the doctrine that there was one God— that He was great, even the creator of all things, and that the people by right should worship Him… On this account, on the simple subject of the Deity and His worship, if nothing… Read more

A meditation on the rise of the religious “nones”

    Imagine there’s no heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people living for today Imagine there’s no countries It isn’t hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people living life in peace You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope some day you’ll join us And the world will be as one Imagine… Read more

“O that I were an angel”

    During the period immediately prior to and at the beginning of my mission, it seemed that I was hearing the song “O that I were an angel” just about all the time.  It is, of course, based on Alma 29:1-2:   O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare… Read more

Continuing with Muhammad at Mecca

    It just doesn’t end, does it?   For this belief [in a physical resurrection] and others, the doubters made fun of the faith­ful.29 Whenever possible, they would deliberately interrupt the rec­itation of the Qur’an. Always they would laugh at it as just “old fairy tales.”30 Muhammad was accused of magic. Sometimes he was said to be demon-possessed or merely a crazy poet.31 It is evident from the historical record that such treatment bothered Muhammad deeply. “We know too… Read more

From the mailbag

    (Please don’t read further if you strongly dislike being exposed to foul language.  I’ve obscured the words used, but I haven’t tried to make them even slightly unguessable.)   Yesterday, in a blog entry titled “An amplifier for gossip,” I commented on an anecdote, pseudonymously posted on a mostly atheistic ex- and anti-Mormon message board, that reports someone’s alleged exchange with me and puts me in quite a bad light.  I questioned the accuracy of the anonymous anecdote, observing that it… Read more

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