Skip to main content
Faith is By Choice Striving to Build Faith in the Church of Jesus Christ

Sic Et Non

Approaching the Thanksgiving Holiday

9 hours 17 minutes ago
    I published this column in the Deseret News for Thanksgiving 2013:   It’s the season of Thanksgiving, and, so, minds like mine turn naturally to etymology, to word origins.  Please be patient.  There is method in my madness.   The origin of the word “religion” is obscure, and has been much debated.  But […]
Dan Peterson

How Solomon built his temple

1 day 4 hours ago
    From Ma‘mar ibn Rashid, The Expeditions: An Early Biography of Muhammad, translated by Sean W. Anthony (New York and London: New York University Press, 2015), 106-108, I quote an interesting folkloric account, recorded in the eighth century AD, of the building of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.  That famous sanctuary was considered so remarkable […]
Dan Peterson

Science, between fact and theory

1 day 5 hours ago
    Is it true, as some devotees of scientism who like to denigrate religious faith insist, that science limits itself entirely to rigorous extrapolations from known and objectively verified facts?   I’ll cut directly to the chase:   No.  It’s not.   There are lots and lots of illustrations of this truth, but, for […]
Dan Peterson

Southeast Asia, Mesoamerica, Manhattan, and Utah Valley

1 day 7 hours ago
    If you haven’t watched this yet, please take a couple of minutes to do so:   “The Christ Child: A Nativity Story – Full Trailer”   ***   “Church Celebrates Milestone in Vietnam: Official certification granted under the Law on Belief and Religion”   “President and Sister Nelson Embark on Weeklong Southeast Asia Ministry: Elder […]
Dan Peterson

Liberty University’s goal — amazingly — of becoming something like BYU

1 day 23 hours ago
    The 10 November 2019 edition of the Interpreter Radio Show featured Terry Hutchinson, John Gee, and Kevin Christensen. The first hour of their discussion covered the textual history of biblical manuscripts. In the second hour, they had a roundtable conversation about the upcoming Come, Follow Me lesson #47 on 1–3 John and Jude.  The entire program […]
Dan Peterson

Islam, a religion of the desert?

2 days 6 hours ago
    Here’s a passage from the chapter of our principal textbook that I discussed with my “Introduction to the Religion of Islam” class late on Thursday afternoon:   “From its origins, Islam has been closely identified with settled forms of social and economic life, in both the town and the city.  The romantic and […]
Dan Peterson

Two new articles from the Interpreter Foundation

2 days 11 hours ago
    This article of mine appeared in the print edition of the Deseret News a couple of weeks ago and went online at LDS Living more recently:   “What Joseph Smith’s Neighbors Thought of Him, Even When They Disagreed with His Religion”   And here’s an article of mine — the first of a […]
Dan Peterson

Fine-Tuning and Dimensionless Physical Constants

2 days 11 hours ago
    I have some bad news and some good news.  First, the bad:   “California landfills are belching high levels of climate-warming methane: Airborne remote sensing spots the Golden State’s biggest emitters of the gas from the sky”   “New CDC Report on Superbugs Is Full of Bad News”   But here’s some (potentially) good […]
Dan Peterson

Too short

3 days ago
    My wife and I are just back from the Brigham Young University campus, where we enjoyed a concert by the Utah Symphony entitled “Rhapsody in Blue.”  As you might guess from that title, it was an (almost) all-Gershwin program.   It started out with Gershwin’s familiar Cuban Overture, featuring (as three of the […]
Dan Peterson

“What’s the Best Way to Sail From World to World?”

3 days 4 hours ago
    “Did you miss seeing Mercury transit the sun? Don’t worry, it’ll happen again in May 2049”   “What’s the Best Way to Sail From World to World? Electric Sails or Solar Sails?”   “This Stingray-Shaped Spacecraft Could Be Perfect For Exploring Venus’ Dark Side: Could a stingray-shaped spacecraft get to the dark side of […]
Dan Peterson

From two biographers of Muhammad

3 days 7 hours ago
    Here’s a pretty succinct paragraph from W. Montgomery Watt — Scottish historian, orientalist, Anglican priest, premiere biographer of Muhammad, prolific Islamicist, and Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh — on the founder of Islam:   “His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men […]
Dan Peterson

“There’s Growing Evidence That the Universe Is Connected by Giant Structures”

4 days 6 hours ago
    This is really quite astonishing.  Mind-boggling, in fact:   “There’s Growing Evidence That the Universe Is Connected by Giant Structures: Scientists are finding that galaxies can move with each other across huge distances, and against the predictions of basic cosmological models. The reason why could change everything we think we know about the […]
Dan Peterson

Is Islam really a religion?

4 days 8 hours ago
    People write to me from time to time insisting that Islam isn’t actually a religion at all.  It’s really, they say, a totalitarian political ideology masquerading as a religion.  Accordingly, it doesn’t really deserve protection under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.   When I’m told such […]
Dan Peterson

Dismissing Witness Testimony

4 days 11 hours ago
    For some reason, my little post on “Running with the golden plates” has inflamed a certain tiny sector of the web that I like to watch, and they’ve been pulling out the big guns (e.g., even the eminent American philosopher and historian Mark Twain; who ever saw that coming?) to demolish the testimony […]
Dan Peterson

Some Arabic influence in the American Southwest

4 days 12 hours ago
    Having grown up in southern California; having attended high school across the street from one of the most important of the old Spanish missions; having spent time in places like Santa Fe, New Mexico, I reflect fairly often on how very Arab the American Southwest sometimes feels.   My high school was part […]
Dan Peterson

A Kierkegaardian reaction to “Thoroughly Modern Millie”

5 days ago
    We’re just back from a strong performance of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Hale Center Theater in Orem.   Curiously, it got me to thinking about a passage in the Philosophical Fragments (1844) of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.   Kierkegaard uses a parable about a king and a maiden to […]
Dan Peterson

“”Two science societies removed BYU job postings over the school’s Honor Code ban on ‘homosexual behavior'”

5 days 4 hours ago
    If I’m not mistaken, we were repeatedly reassured during the ultimate successful campaign for the redefinition of marriage that, once same-sex marriage had triumphed and become the law of the land, there would be no crackdown against people and institutions that adhered to the traditional view of marriage as a joining together of […]
Dan Peterson

On reconsidering the emotions of God

6 days ago
    I published this article, on “Reconsidering the emotions of God” in the 30 January 2014 edition of the Deseret News:   The scripture John 11:35 (“Jesus wept”) is well known as the shortest verse in the King James Bible. It’s less known, however, as one of the Bible’s most significant passages. But it is precisely […]
Dan Peterson

Islamic Relief and the Latter-day Saints

6 days 7 hours ago
    It’s just a hunch, but I’m guessing that, when most Americans think of religious charities, they don’t immediately think of Islam and Muslims.  Nevertheless, Islamic Relief USA (aka IRUSA), which was founded in 1993, is a significant religiously motivated charitable organization with a worldwide reach.  And IRUSA’s first interfaith partner was the Church of […]
Dan Peterson

“Twenty Questions about Science and Religion”

6 days 8 hours ago
    New on the website of the Interpreter Foundation, from David H. Bailey (Ph.D. Stanford University), a Latter-day Saint mathematician and computer scientist who is now retired from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California:   “Science & Mormonism Series 1: Cosmos, Earth, and Man: Twenty Questions about Science and Religion” Part of our book […]
Dan Peterson
7 hours 1 minute ago
Subscribe to Sic Et Non feed