The Creation of American Ignorance

Over on BCC, Steve P has posted a nice summary of an article in New Scientist which attributes the decline in scientific literacy in the US to three factors:  relativism in the academy, unserious journalism, and the illiteracy of Congress.Amen to the third one!  In fact, amen to all of them!   However, speaking as someone who has taught both science and religion at the undergraduate level, there is at least one discipline in which student ignorance exceeds that of science:  religion.  Just sa … [Read more...]

The Blessings of an Unknown God

This post could be called anti-Areopagean, since in a reversal of the Acts 17 narrative, I write to those who inherited a supremely certain God and extol the virtues of a God unknown. I propose that agnostic theism actually results in a win-win situation, yielding rich rewards in return for handing over so-called certainty. I am not advocating that everyone adopt this philosophy, but I would like to lay out the advantages as I have experienced them.This approach not only takes seriously the … [Read more...]

The Formation of the Gods

I have suggested before in more oblique ways that the humanist account of the stable subject is at odds with Mormon doctrine of divinization, and in this way Mormonism has more in common with the psychoanalytic account of the formation of the subject and the Foucaultian/Althusserian account of subjectivation. I'd like to explore in brief more of this argument. … [Read more...]

King Benjamin Killed God

Jesus set up an impossible paradox when he explained that the two great commandments are to love God and to love one's neighbor (though he was not the first to summarize the Law in such a way). The problem is that one simply cannot do both, as Jesus himself elsewhere noted that one cannot serve two masters.King Benjamin saw the impossible tension between these two contradictory commandments and attempted to resolve it by collapsing them into one single ethical imperative. He said: "when ye … [Read more...]

The Trinity, Two Formulations

Yesterday, I heard St. Augustine's formulation of the Trinity. He gives it as a series of logical propositions as follows: … [Read more...]

Is Mormonism Euhemerism?

The ancient Greek thinker Euhemerus was a mythographer whose reputation has lived on until today as an influential theory for explaining religion. He argued that mythological accounts were records of actual events that developed and were embellished in their retelling. The practice of divinizing ancient leaders in Hellenic cultures (a practice shared by the Egyptians and later Hellenistic rulers, including the emperor cult of the Roman era) served for Euhemerus as an interpretive tool to … [Read more...]

Smells and Bells

"Smells and bells" is a short-hand, colloquial way of speaking about high church liturgy, especially Orthodox and Catholic. It is sometimes contrasted with "Happy Clappy" low-church liturgy of Pentecostals, Baptists, and many "non-denominational" churches. I'd like to consider LDS liturgical life in contrast to the smells and bells form to uncover a bit about what sorts of knowledge and experience these rituals are meant to convey. … [Read more...]

True or False?

Religious truths are more like the truths of poetry than the truths of physics. … [Read more...]


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