God and the Moral Law in Mormonism

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After I wrote a review of The God Who Weeps, a book about Mormonism, I told Mormon readers to feel welcome to guest post to answer some of my questions or to add some clarifications.  (Oh, and meanwhile, Joanne McPortland has also written a review talking about the similarities between Mormonism and Gnosticism).   Over here chez moi, Carl Cranney has stepped up to the challenge. Here's how he introduces himself:Carl Cranney is a Mormon, yet is a PhD student in systematic theology at the C … [Read more...]

Cultivating Curiosity [Index]

"Don't you understand?  If curiosity kills the cat in the game... it dies in real life!"

Back in September, Bob Seidensticker of the Atheist channel took on a challenge to try 40 days of prayer, and he asked some of the Christian Patheosi what we thought he needed to do to give it a fair shot.  While other people talked about thankfulness and humility, I kinda ended up talking about Live Action Roleplaying (LARPing).  But seriously, I find this approach helpful for considering ideas and worldviews I disagree with, and short circuiting antagonistic feelings that may keep me from lo … [Read more...]

You’ve Already Got Your Quest-Object!


 One theme I didn't get to touch on in my discussion of Gary Thomas's The Sacred Search yesterday is his attack on the idea of a soulmate, one specific person that you are destined to be with.  (I have to note that xkcd, and Tim Minchin have very funny riffs on this idea).  Thomas says a lot of our rhetoric on this topic draws heavily on a speech near the end of Plato's Symposium, which is adeptly glossed in Hedwig and the Angry Inch below:So, in this telling, we're all on an … [Read more...]

An Outward-Oriented Marriage

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I received a free review copy of The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas as part of the Patheos Book Club.At a recent lecture, the speaker explained the difference between apologetics and theology.  In apologetics, you are writing for the unconverted, so you have to make sure to explain your reasoning and make an aggressive case.  In theology, you're writing for people who share the basic tenets of your faith, so you can skip over the background and just plunge deeply into your tradition.  Although … [Read more...]

I Want You! (to be a virtuous virus firebreak)


I've been terribly tardy in getting my flu shot this year, but I finally did it today.  (Turns out there's a bit of a run on for vaccinations in DC; my original appointment was cancelled because the pharmacy ran out, and I had to phone six CVSes before I found anyone with supplies).Vaccination is awesome for you, since the flu sucks, but it's also a public service.  The vaccine is 62% effective (which means people who get the vaccination are 62% less likely than those who don't to have such a … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/11/13)

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--- 1 --- Remember when I told you about that awesome New Yorker article on the professional pickpocket?  Well, now they've got a video up of how he pulls his heists.One thing that was particularly fun about watching this is that, although I couldn't spot how he was doing his steals on the first go-round, I could recognize some of his ways of distracting his mark from aikido class.  --- 2 --- The pickpocket revealed his tricks for The New Yorker, and researchers are giving up th … [Read more...]

Straight from the Humanist’s Mouth


James Croft and Vlad Chituc have both continued to contribute to the discussion of what exactly unites humanists.  Vlad's put up a new post, and James has posted a clarifying comment that I've quoted from below. You seem to think "Humanism" denotes a single, coherent moral system (particularly a metaethical system). He seems to think that it is some sort of equivalent to "virtue ethics" or "utilitarianism" or something.But this is a category error. Humanism, in my understanding, can mean … [Read more...]