November 27, 2015

I graduated from high school in the mighty class of 1982. My classmates and I were the last of the Baby Boomers. During our teen years we experienced the disco revolution, we cheered Rocky on to his first boxing title, and we were made happy by “Happy Days”, “Mork & Mindy”, and “Treasure Island.” O.K., not so much by “Treasure Island.” But the Lawrence Welk Show faded and Journey stole the stage. Many of you were there. The last of… Read more

November 26, 2015

Donald Trump lies . . . a lot. Why does anyone support this man in a bid for the most powerful position in America and the world? It is possible, perhaps likely, that there are Trump supporters that read Civil Nations. Why do you support him? What am I missing that may be compelling enough to look past his lies. What say ye? Jump to the comment board and civilly walk me through the Trump phenomenon. Forward my question about… Read more

November 25, 2015

Two days ago, I wrote about tendencies to oversimplify the same-sex marriage discussion—including responses from society generally and religions specifically. I indicated that my philosophy students initially lack the ability to construct arguments that indicate they understand the many sides of the same-sex marriage debate. This frequently results in less than thoughtful responses and even pejorative expressions against one side of the debate or the other. We are a mere five months removed from the SCOTUS ruling. This is “freshly… Read more

November 24, 2015

You are, no doubt, familiar with the story. Amanda Blackburn, she was young, bright, vivacious, articulate, passionate, pregnant with her second child, and ministerial partner with her husband, Davey at Resonate Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was shot by robbers that broke into her home. She and her unborn daughter died the next day (November 10, 2015). Grieving the loss of his wife and unborn child—and wondering how he will raise their son alone, he issued the following statement. His… Read more

November 23, 2015

I teach a philosophy course at Utah Valley University entitled “Ethics and Values.” We explore the intersections between ethics, religion, and society. One week from today I will begin lectures treating the ethical implications of same-sex marriage. Of course, Mormonism’s recently announced policy will be part of the general exploration. So will the linkage between polygamy and same-sex marriage. We will explore natural law, modernism, post-modernism, religion/theology, law, politics, and so forth. Multifaceted to say the least. You might say… Read more

November 22, 2015

Jews account for about 2% of American society and yet they are the most positively viewed religion in the country. Mormon population in the U.S. surpassed Judaism just a few months ago. How are Mormons viewed? It depends who you ask. Take a look at this report from Pew about how Americans feel about Judaism, Mormonism, and other major religious groups. I think you’ll find it worth your time to peruse. http://www.pewforum.org/2014/07/16/how-americans-feel-about-religious-groups/ Please consider following Civil Nations via email. You… Read more

November 21, 2015

What Percentage of Muslims Dislike ISIS? This week, Pew Research Forum, one of the most trusted research and analysis organizations in the world, released a report that showed that the vast, vast majority of Muslims in nations with predominant Islamic populations overwhelmingly oppose ISIS. Some ask, “Why doesn’t this vast majority oppose ISIS?” They do. “Why doesn’t this vast majority stop ISIS?” They would if they could. But there is no central religious hierarchy in Islam. It is something like… Read more

November 20, 2015

The story is unfortunate but the timing could not have been better for readers that are Mormon AND hold the position that Islam is a terror-laden faith across the board—those that subscribe to the idea that Muslims are generally prone to be “radical” or “terrorists.” Well, the following story may cause you to reconsider your position. As you know, Donald Trump has proposed that if he were elected president he may shut down mosques across America to alleviate terrorist threats…. Read more

November 19, 2015

I get asked a lot of questions about what is going on in the Middle East. I get even more questions about Islam. Perhaps that is because I have been working in the Middle East for 28 years this January, conducted my doctoral research there, wrote a major book about the history of Mormons in the Middle East, lived there, and continue to travel there on a very regular basis. Whatever the case, when someone asks me about the significance… Read more

November 18, 2015

There is no such a thing as “radical” Islam. There is no such thing as “radical” Catholicism. There is no such thing as “radical” Protestantism. There is no such thing as “radical” Mormonism. There is no such thing as “radical” Hinduism. You get the point. There are radical people in each of these religious movements who claim/hijack these faith traditions. But their claims are lies—bold faced lies. They do not represent their respective teachings of these faith traditions. The actual… Read more

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