Review: James E. Faulconer, “Faith, Philosophy, Scripture”

Title: Faith, Philosophy, Scripture Author: James E. Faulconer Publisher: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship Genre: Philosophy/Theology Year: 2010 Pages: 254 ISBN13: 9780842527781 Binding: PaperbackIn the 1983 film “A Christmas Story,” little Ralphie wants nothing more than a Red Ryder carbine-action two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and “a thing which tells time.” Parents, teachers, even Santa Claus himself respond to his pleading with the sam … [Read more...]

Review: James Calvin Davis, “In Defense of Civility”

Title: In Defense of Civility: How Religion Can Unite America on Seven Moral Issues that Divide Us Author: James Calvin Davis Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press Genre: Religion/Politics Year: 2010 Pages: 198 ISBN13: 9780664235444 Binding: Paperback Price: 19.95The subtitle of James Calvin Davis's new book In Defense of Civility describes an audacious pipe dream. If the book aims to tell readers "How Religion can Unite America on Seven Moral Issues That Divide Us" I would be satisfied with … [Read more...]

Review: John F. Haught, “God and the New Atheism”

Title: God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens Author: John F. Haught Publisher: Westminster John Knox Genre: Religion Year: 2008 Pages: 124 ISBN13: 9780664233044 Binding: Paperback Price: 16.95Responses to the claims of the so-called "new atheism" vary according to the interests of each particular respondent. John F. Haught, Senior Fellow in Science and Religion at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University is touted as "one of the world's l … [Read more...]

Review: Reid L. Neilson, “Early Mormon Missionary Activities in Japan, 1901-1924”

Title: Early Mormon Missionary Activities in Japan, 1901-1924 Author: Reid L. Neilson Publisher: University of Utah Press Genre: Mormon Studies Year: 2010 Pages: 214 ISBN13: 9780874809893 Binding: PaperbackHeber J. Grant, Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had disappointing news to share at the Church’s October 1903 General Conference. “I know that the Latter-day Saints have been greatly interested in the mission I was called to preside over, and I regret I am n … [Read more...]

Review: Terry Eagleton’s “Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate”

Title: Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate Author: Terry Eagleton Publisher: Yale University Press Genre: Religion Year: 2009 Pages: 185 ISBN13: 9780300164534 Binding: Soft cover (2010) Price: 16.00 “Religion has wrought untold misery in human affairs. For the most part, it has been a squalid tale of bigotry, superstition, wishful thinking, and oppressive ideology. I therefore have a good deal of sympathy with its rationalist and humanist critics” (xi). So Terry Eagleton … [Read more...]

Book Review- “Heaven: A History”

It's not clear to me whether John Lennon realized he was proposing his own sort of Heaven when he wrote the classic ballad "Imagine," but that's what he was doing. He invites us to "imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try" and describes a world of peace and love, a sort of heaven on earth. The longing for peace in a heavenly place has led poets and prophets throughout the centuries to write, paint, sing and talk about Heaven. Professors of religious studies Colleen McDannell (University … [Read more...]

DNA and the Concept of Kinship in the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon claims to be a record of some of the ancestors of current Indigenous Americans (American Indians, Native Americans). This aspect of the book was especially important to early Mormons. What is the relationship between the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon and Indigenous Americans? How does modern DNA science help answer the question? Different Latter-day Saints (and critics) have answered these questions in radically different ways. Some argue DNA studies support the claims of … [Read more...]

A problem with the LDS solution to the Problem of Evil?

There are a few problems with the Mormon solution to the problem of evil. I'm not saying I disbelieve possible LDS solutions, but only to say they don't come without downsides, however slight. First I'll describe the problem of evil (over-simplistically) then I'll address a problem with the LDS response. … [Read more...]

Why Utah Isn’t Deseret—or Pop History, Ahoy!

Mormonism is built on claims of historical events which make claims on us. A real resurrection of Jesus Christ, a real encounter between Joseph Smith, God the Father, and that same Jesus, a God who participates in real history. One result is that history has been the focus of many Mormons and students of Mormonism. History is a crucial part of Mormon identity; the shared narrative situates each person into God's grand "plan of salvation." Mormons are usually more sensitive to the ways the Mormon … [Read more...]