“Religion Poisons Everything!” (22)

Wilmette, Illinois, Bahai Temple

    I fell in love with the Bahá’í Temple near Chicago from photographs, long before I ever actually saw it. If this is an example of how "religion poisons everything," as the late Mr. Hitchens put it, I confess that I like the poison.  Posted from Park City, Utah    … [Read more...]

“Why men aren’t getting married anymore”

"Single," but not like today

  Thanks to Sander J. Rabinowitz for calling this interesting article to my notice: http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/why-men-arent-getting-married-anymore-2/  Posted from Park City, Utah    … [Read more...]

“The Tempest,” and Shakespeare on mortality

Waterhouse, "Miranda"

  Notwithstanding my fear that doing so will drive my critics still further into madness, I here disclose that my wife and I have just watched the 2010 film version of Shakespeare's The Tempest.  That's two Helen Mirren films in two nights.  (See here for last night's.) I have mixed feelings about the production.  Mirren is wonderful, of course, as Prospera (yes, Prospera), and several of the other actors are also quite good.  But the film was more than a bit no … [Read more...]

New Testament 157

Capernaum - The Greek orthodox monastery

  John 6:60-66 Some critics that I've come across seem to imagine that, if the Church were really true, people would be lined up to enter the font, nobody would ever fall away, and all customers would be completely satisfied and unfailingly enthusiastically willing to pay the price.  Everything that the Church taught would be pleasing to everybody, and instantly accepted without reservation. This passage suggests the vacuity of that notion.  At l … [Read more...]

Somali scapegoats?

The Kenyan shopping mall at Westgate

  There's a lot of talk in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere about "homegrown terrorism," which is a genuine problem and a serious threat. We don't hear much about Africa, typically, but, alas, the same thing seems to be happening there, as well.  According to the Economist, at least a substantial portion of those "Somali" terrorists who've killed so many people in Kenya in the past year or two may actually be Kenyans, much as the Kenyan government would … [Read more...]

“Beatles 3000″

Fab Four NYC JFK 1964

  I am, as I've often said, a skeptic about our ability to reconstruct and understand the past.  And the more remote the past, the more skeptical I am. Not a complete skeptic, of course. I think we can and do know quite a lot. But the odds of our having gotten the ancient past exactly right -- particularly the attitudes and ideas of those who lived in it -- seem to me vanishingly small. "The past is a foreign country," … [Read more...]

“Much left to discover between archaeology and the Book of Mormon”

Nephite River Sidon, says Sorenson

  Today's installation of my weekly Deseret News column has now appeared: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865628607/Much-left-to-discover-between-archaeology-and-the-Book-of-Mormon.html  Posted from Park City, Utah  … [Read more...]

“Religion Poisons Everything!” (21)

Late Lincoln photo

  Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address is a profoundly religious document (virtually inconceivable today).  Is the Hitchens Principle applicable?  Does the speech's religiosity really poison it?  Judge for yourself:  SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 1865 Fellow-Countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pu … [Read more...]