Knowing: Why Care?

Why do we care if we know rather than merely believe? Both in religion and life in general? I think that typically we appeal to an ethics. There are several ways this occurs. The first is that we have a community notion that knowledge entails beliefs that are true and have a certain degree of justification. If I go into an employer and say I know how to program in C++ and Python and I've never programmed in my life then we recognize that is a lie and that it is wrong to tell that sort of lie. In … [Read more...]

Mormon Ways of Knowing

Years ago I got a call from someone from one of the major LDS book publishers. (It's been so long I can't remember which - although it definitely wasn't Deseret Books) They were planning on publishing a kind of Mormon dictionary that addressed many of the topics within Mormonism using short scholarly entries. The main emphasis was less the summation than to have a pretty thorough bibliography for each entry. They were calling me because several people had suggested that I was the best source for … [Read more...]

Jesus: Savior or Symbol

This post is extremely long. Consider yourself warned, and skim through quotations if you want. Or just read the final section.Here I will reconcile three seemingly paradoxical points:I love the doctrine of Atonement.I have difficulty believing in it literally.My (dis)belief does not remove the power of the Atonement from my life. … [Read more...]

The Hierarchy of Truth

Narratives wield a power measured not in historical accuracy but in effect on the reader. In many cases, the values expressed in a narrative, and especially the way that narrative moves us to thought and action, outranks the relationship of that narrative to history. In fiction, truths such as love, loyalty, following principles and defending freedoms shine even more clearly as they are unencumbered by the complexities of reality. But when we are reading Lord of the Rings, we know that we are … [Read more...]


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