“Compassion as the Heart of the Gospel”

“Compassion as the Heart of the Gospel” July 5, 2019

 

NASA shot of sunburst above the Earth
NASA public domain photograph

 

A new article has just appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship under the title of “Compassion as the Heart of the Gospel.”  It was written by perhaps the least qualified person on the planet even to so much as utter the word compassion:

 

Abstract: The Greek philosopher Aristotle, clearly one of the world’s great geniuses, created the concept of the “unmoved mover,” which moves “other things, but is, itself, unmoved by anything else.” This label became the standard Jewish, Christian, and Muslim description of an impersonal God — a God without body, parts or passions — a concept that has, for nearly 20 centuries, dominated western theology, philosophy, and science. The problem for thinkers in these religious traditions is that the God depicted in the Bible and the Qur’an is plainly personal. A careful review of the Bible and modern scripture reveals a “compassionate, feeling” God. Numerous scriptures confirm that God, in fact, “feels more deeply than we can even begin to imagine.”

 

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A waterfall in Iceland
Kirkjufellsfoss, Iceland, in a photograph by Martin Jernberg (martinjphoto) that, having been posted on Wikimedia Commons prior to 5 June 2017, appears to remain within the public domain

 

The most recent column in the bi-weekly series of articles that William J. Hamblin and Daniel C. Peterson write for the Deseret News has appeared:

 

“The dramatic religious landscape of Iceland’s history”

 

Isolated though it is geographically, Iceland hasn’t escaped the religious changes that have swept Europe over the centuries.  But it has preserved their traces unusually well.

 

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Dalsgaard's missionaries
“Mormoner på besøg hos en tømrer på landet” (Mormons visit a country carpenter)
Painted in 1856 by Christen Dalsgaard, this work hangs in the Statens Museum for Kunst, in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Iceland achieved its independence from Denmark in 1918.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

A distantly related footnote on the subject of Icelandic religious history might be of interest here: In 1960, Iceland’s only Nobel laureate, Halldor Laxness (1902-1998) — he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955 — published a novel under the title of Paradísarheimt (Paradise Reclaimed), which is focused directly on the Latter-day Saints.  It probably reflects his then-recent visit to Salt Lake City and Utah.  For a bit of background regarding the novel, see Fred E. Woods, “Halldor Laxness and the Latter-day Saints: The Story behind the Novel Paradisarheimt,” BYU Studies 49/3.

 

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Also of potential interest, from Jeff Lindsay:

 

“The Twin Book of Abraham Manuscripts: Do They Reflect Live Translation Produced by Joseph Smith, or Were They Copied From an Existing Document?”

 

 


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