November 22, 2020

      We should be thankful that we live, that there exist a planet and a cosmos permitting us to think, to love, and to thank.   Here are three science-related newspaper columns that I published in the Deseret News for past American Thanksgiving holidays:   “The miracle of Earth’s atmosphere design and the air we breathe: As the Thanksgiving holiday draws near, there is much for us to be thankful for — including the very air that we… Read more

November 21, 2020

    This entry is largely drawn from Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove: IVP and Nottingham: Apollos, 2011), 507-526:   One of the most famous passages in C. S. Lewis’s famous book Mere Christianity presents what has been called his “trilemma.”  It runs as follows:   A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on… Read more

November 20, 2020

    I have an unannounced program or schedule for my entries on this blog.  For the past few weeks, that program has called for longer posts (except on Tuesdays and Thursdays), but also less frequent ones.  I’ve made this modification for several reasons.  A principal impetus for it was an exchange with some of the leadership at Patheos that I initiated.  It turns out that Google and such things pay more attention to blog entries that are at least… Read more

November 19, 2020

      The latest installment of my bi-weekly column for the Deseret News has now been published:   “Did Nero really fiddle while Rome burned? Possibly. But here’s what he did do: Taking a look back at Roman Emperor Nero and the context of history help take a different perspective”   ***   Here are some new items that have appeared over the past couple of days on the website of the Interpreter Foundation, which, I’m reliably informed, is… Read more

November 18, 2020

    Many who deny an objective or divine foundation to morality nonetheless assume that evolutionary processes lead naturally, sociobiologically, to something broadly resembling a traditional Judeo-Christian ethic of mutual help, human rights, and cooperation.  Thus, the religious underpinnings that some have thought necessary to morality can be safely dispensed with, as we climb inexorably onto the sunny uplands of naturalistic reason.   To me, however, this does not seem at all obvious or inevitable.   If there is no… Read more

November 17, 2020

    The year 2020 has been a long slog, and few of us will be terribly sad to see it go.  So I’m hoping that some will benefit from this:   “President Russell M. Nelson Shares a Message of Hope and Healing​” “Global faith leader Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shares a simple way you can find hope and healing—no matter your circumstances. Next Friday, tune in at 11 a.m. MST… Read more

November 16, 2020

    One reason for hoping that there is a life after death, a better world to come, is the deep human desire for justice.  This can be regarded from at least two different angles.  One is the wish to make things right.  We’re naturally revolted by the thought that the murderer is permitted to write the last chapter in the life of his victim, that, for example — to be quite blunt about it — the last few moments of… Read more

November 15, 2020

    The earliest Latter-day Saint missionaries to the Near East dreamed of a Church presence in the Holy Land, something more than a few scattered elders and something larger than the graves of a few faithful Saints. They envisioned a Latter-day Saint colony in Pales­tine. Ferdinand F. Hintze, the first president of the Turkish Mission, wrote to his wife as early as 1889 that he was trying to get a colony started somewhere near Jerusalem. Such a colony, he… Read more

November 14, 2020

    From time to time, when I’m commenting about the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, a critic of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will respond with a dismissive and vague remark about the well-known weaknesses of eyewitness testimony.  Now, it has always seemed obvious to me that such responses are transparently ad hoc, that such comprehensive rejection of eyewitness accounts is only selectively invoked:  Nobody can really live a life based on the notion that… Read more

November 13, 2020

    Here are some notes on the earliest Christian disciples and the raising of Jesus from the tomb:   The appearances of Jesus are as well authenticated as anything in antiquity. . . .  There can be no rational doubt that they occurred, and that the main reason why Christians became sure of the resurrection in the earliest days was just this.  They could say with assurance, ‘We have seen the Lord.’  They knew it was he.  (Michael Green,… Read more

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