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

Sic Et Non

Mocking the terminally ill?

13 hours 56 minutes ago
    Even at this late stage of my life, I can still be, and not infrequently am, astonished by the behavior of certain especially bitter and hardcore critics of the Church.  Typically — and unsurprisingly — they’re not never-LDS Evangelicals but, rather, apostates.  (That seems to be historically true, as well, and not merely […]
Dan Peterson

A Muslim mystic’s thoughts on political power and on the salvation of non-Muslims

1 day 1 hour ago
    Here are three passages from Farid al-Din ‘Attar’s famous Sufi mystical poem, written in Persian in the early thirteenth century, titled Mantiq al-Tayr (“The Conference of the Birds”).  The first two passages are about monarchs and monarchy.   In the first of them, the reference is to Mahmud of Ghazni (AD 971-1030), the […]
Dan Peterson

“An eternity of felicity”

1 day 7 hours ago
    The perhaps somewhat surprising title of the latest article to be published in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:   “Comparing Book of Mormon Names with Those Found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Works: An Exploratory Study”   ***   You might also enjoy these items, from Ireland’s Robert Boylan:   “Bees and Beehives among […]
Dan Peterson

Edgar Allan Poe, Vladimir Putin, and a Cosmos Full of Galaxies

1 day 14 hours ago
    The story this morning is that Vladimir Putin hasn’t yet seen enough evidence, in the case of the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi, that he would be williing to imperil Saud-Russian relations over the issue.   This is really big news, of course, since we all know Mr. Putin’s deep, even passionate, moral […]
Dan Peterson

“Repel evil with what is better.”

2 days ago
    Sometimes I learn really valuable things from my students.  Today, the students in my “Classical Arabic Texts” course alerted me to The Mideast Beast, a wonderful news site of which I had never before heard.  Here are two representative recent articles from it:   “Hamas Leader to Move to Israel After Discovering He’s […]
Dan Peterson

Poems, and Prayers, and Promises, and Things That We Believe In

2 days 3 hours ago
    “We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures. .  .  If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the Universe was created for man to live in.”  (John A. O’Keefe […]
Dan Peterson

We’re simply inferior, I guess

2 days 6 hours ago
    My bi-weekly Deseret News column now typically appears in the print edition on Thursdays, and then, also, in the online edition of LDS Living.  Some people tell me that that is a positive development.  I’m not so sure, myself.  But that’s the way it is nowadays.   Anyway, here’s the latest:   “What Do […]
Dan Peterson

A moral quandary in Memphis

3 days 1 hour ago
    The capital of the ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom was in Memphis, to the south of the modern city of Cairo, which was only founded in AD 969.   Relatively little is left of Memphis today.  The Egyptians were acutely aware of the transience of mortal life, and they seem to have been much […]
Dan Peterson

A bit more information on some upcoming public firesides and lectures

3 days 8 hours ago
    Here are some places where I’ll be speaking over the next month and a half or so:   Saturday, 20 October 2018; Calgary, Alberta, Canada: I’ll be one of the speakers at a YSA “Share Goodness” Conference in Calgary, Alberta, which will be held at 2021 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0G2. My understanding is […]
Dan Peterson

The mountain that I saw every day and took for granted

3 days 11 hours ago
    Growing up in San Gabriel, California, I saw Mount Wilson — a peak in the San Gabriel Mountains — on most days.  It was the dominant feature of the local horizon, as well as my reliable indicator of north.  Its most obvious and striking features were the television and radio antennas, but it […]
Dan Peterson

A breathtaking vision for humankind

3 days 12 hours ago
    I realize that my use of the term may jar some just a bit, but I’ve always thought of the Restored Gospel as a form of religious humanism.   Please don’t think of the common modern use of the word humanism as shorthand for the more precise term secular humanism.  That’s not what […]
Dan Peterson

A Qur’anic “Natural Theology”

3 days 23 hours ago
    The Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, lays out a very simple “natural theology,” according to which the physical universe itself, the natural world, is seen as a sign that can point people to God if they will only look.  Here are two representative passages:   “It is God who splits open the […]
Dan Peterson

A distinguished evolutionary biologist, a prominent geneticist, and a devout theist walk into a bar

4 days 2 hours ago
    And they’re the same guy.   (Whether he ever actually went to bars, I have no idea whatever.)   Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky (1900–1975) was a prominent Ukrainian-American geneticist and evolutionary biologist — he came to the United States in 1927, at the age of 27 — who taught successively at Columbia University, the California Institute of Technology […]
Dan Peterson

On sophistication and the Gospel

4 days 7 hours ago
    Over the years, I’ve run into the comment — often, but not always, from embittered and hostile ex-Mormons — that Mormonism (a term that I’ll use in certain ways until I think of a better one) is a shallow faith, lacking any and all intellectual or cultural merit, satisfying only to unreflective middlebrow […]
Dan Peterson

A very frustrating — and then revealing — experience in Cairo

4 days 23 hours ago
      Preface:  Kufic Arabic script is style of writing the Arabic language.  It originated very early — presumably in the city of Kufa, in Iraq — but it’s still sometimes used today.  It features the same Arabic letters that are commonly used elsewhere, in other script styles, but, in Kufic, they’re elongated and […]
Dan Peterson

Everybody was suffering from illusions, until we came along.

5 days 12 hours ago
    We’re about to head out for lunch with our good friends Michael and Margie Draper, who are visiting from Indiana.   But, in the meanwhile, here are a couple of nice quotations that I’ve gathered for something that I hope eventually to publish:   The late anthropologist Loren Eiseley, in The Firmament of […]
Dan Peterson

O Canada! Beware!

5 days 13 hours ago
    I’m headed up to Alberta, Canada, this weekend, for a fireside in Calgary and then a couple of talks in Lethbridge.  So anybody who wants to flee the province before my arrival has until sometime on Friday to do so.  Here’s the schedule as I currently have it:   Saturday, 20 October 2018: […]
Dan Peterson

Another note inspired by my memories of Kamal

6 days 2 hours ago
    Thinking about our bawwab, Kamal, reminded me of an episode that occurred while my wife and I were living in Cairo.   I’ve mentioned that Kamal had a recurrent deep cough that was presumably brought on by his smoking.  (I expect that it has long since taken him away, since we knew him […]
Dan Peterson

“Nature . . . prefers beauty”

6 days 7 hours ago
    Notes from yet another of those incomplete manuscripts:   “At the fundamental level,” observes physicist David Gross, “nature, for whatever reason, prefers beauty.”[1]   Science writer K. C. Cole says that “the same properties that make a snowflake appealing underlie the laws that control the universe.  Truth and beauty are two sides of […]
Dan Peterson
4 hours 23 minutes ago
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