Two quotations from Muhammad

In Medina

  "Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith."   "To overcome evil with good is good, to resist evil by evil is evil." It would be nice if some of his self-professed modern followers would pay attention to such statements.   … [Read more...]

“Eternity will not suffice”

Dr. De Duve, at ninety-five

   “If you equate the probability of the birth of a bacteria cell to chance assembly of its atoms, eternity will not suffice to produce one. . . .  Faced with the enormous sum of lucky draws behind the success of the evolutionary game, one may legitimately wonder to what extent this success is actually written into the fabric of the universe.” Christian de Duve (1917-2013), organic chemist and  1974 Nobel laureate    … [Read more...]

A note on those who denigrate the character of Joseph Smith

JS Sr farm south of Palmyra

  Joseph Smith was controversial. There were and are voices who claim that he was dishonest and destitute of character. But John Taylor, for one, was quite certain about their motivation. “Joseph Smith,” he said,was a virtuous, high-minded, honorable man, a gentleman and a Christian. But he introduced principles which strike at the root of the corrupt systems of men. This necessarily comes in contact with their prepossessions, prejudices, and interests; and as they can … [Read more...]

“Business Insider”: “Role of blacks in Mormon faith topic of conference”

First temple on Hispaniola   … [Read more...]

“Why, why, O Lord, why do you reward me thus?”

Hadrian's Mausoleum

  Immediately after the closing session of the 2015 conference of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology early this evening, my wife and I hurtled up to Salt Lake City for the Utah Opera's very good production of Puccini's Tosca. One of the most famous pieces from that opera is the aria "Vissi d'arte." Tosca, the title character, is an operatic diva who is faced with a horrible moral dilemma that has been cruelly and unjustly forced upon h … [Read more...]

“Corridors of the Night”

Cover of latest Anne Perry

  I have a guilty little secret. And I feel especially embarrassed by it after hearing a very productive scholar, for whose output I have great respect, share the fact that he very seldom reads fiction. My guilty little secret is that I like murder mysteries. Very often, my wife and I will unwind late at night by watching a British mystery, or, lately, a Spanish or Australian one. And we read mysteries, … [Read more...]

“From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher”

"From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher"

  Kevin Taylor kindly brought this to my attention, and I thought that some of you might find it of interest:   … [Read more...]

“Did Jesus Exist? A Debate”

Rembrandt painting of Simeon and the infant Jesus

  The invaluable Robert Boylan calls attention to a really interesting debate: I've briefly addressed this question of the existence of Jesus in at least three Deseret News columns (here, here, and here).  I readily admit that I regard the claim that Jesus never lived at all as eccentric and as largely driven by ideology and by the internet rather than by solid academic … [Read more...]