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Faith is By Choice An LDS Faith Blog

Sic Et Non

“Are Mormons Closer to Muslims or Christians?” (Part 4)

3 months 1 week ago
    I continue with my brief response to a terrible 2012 Huffington Post article by a certain Ms. Eliza Wood:   Ms. Wood explains that “both Islam and Mormonism are at best very distant cousins of Christianity with some of the same overarching guidance.”   It’s impossible to know what Ms. Wood means by […]
Dan Peterson

A note about (and from) the modern Middle East

3 months 1 week ago
    This section of The Manuscript begins with a reference to the segment of the Palestinian population living within the boundaries of the state of Israel or, at a minimum, under Israeli control:   From his rise to control of the PLO in 1969, and well through the 1970s, it was this latter faction […]
Dan Peterson

A bit more about Mr. Arafat

3 months 1 week ago
    The manuscript goes ever onward:   Another of Arafat’s achievements was his getting the Pales­tinian movement to speak mainly with one voice. There had been many factions among the Palestinians. Palestinian Christians mis­trusted Palestinian Muslims; residents of one town were suspicious of the residents of other towns. Arafat was able to get them […]
Dan Peterson

Worlds in Collision

3 months 1 week ago
    The natural prospects of the Universe, and of life within it, aren’t good.   The atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell eloquently recognized this more than a century ago:   “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and […]
Dan Peterson

“Are Mormons Closer to Muslims or Christians?” (Part 3)

3 months 1 week ago
    Continuing with my hasty response to a lamentable 2012 article in the often-lamentable Huffington Post:   “In order to lead,” claims Ms. Wood, “both Islam and Mormonism do not require formal seminary training, but take regular members and move them up into leadership roles.”   Ms. Wood seems to presume that the Apostle […]
Dan Peterson

Meet Mr. Arafat

3 months 1 week ago
    Continuing with the manuscript:   Even with all of its many setbacks, Palestinian nationalism was not easily put down. “What Palestinian nationalism?” you are ask­ing yourself. “Didn’t I just read that Palestinian nationalism was vir­tually dead after the disaster of 1948 left the Palestinians and their land parcelled out among various countries and […]
Dan Peterson

Some thoughts for graduating seniors

3 months 1 week ago
    In August 2013, I delivered the summer convocation address for BYU’s College of Humanities.  Rereading it after nearly five years, I conclude that it may actually not be the worst graduation speech of all time.  Here is what I said:   It’s a privilege to speak to you this morning—even wearing what Hugh […]
Dan Peterson

“Are Mormons Closer to Muslims or Christians?” (Part 2)

3 months 1 week ago
    I continue with a few remarks about an unfortunate little 2012 Huffington Post piece by one Eliza Wood:   “While in some ways neither Islam nor Mormonism is very much like Christianity,” writes Ms. Wood, who has never actually defined Christianity, but who appears to believe that merely asserting that Mormonism isn’t Christian […]
Dan Peterson

The passion of Nizar Qabbani

3 months 1 week ago
    Yesterday, I introduced a famous political poem by the Syrian writer Nizar Qabbani, written in response to the catastrophic 1967 Six Day War between Israel and several Arab states.  But I didn’t actually cite the poem.  Here it is (at least in part):   Friends, The ancient world is dead. The ancient books […]
Dan Peterson

“Are Mormons more like Christians than like Muslims?” (Part 1)

3 months 1 week ago
    A few years ago, a certain Ms. Eliza Wood posted an extraordinarily inept entry on Huffington Post entitled “Are Mormons Closer to Muslims or Christians?”   Her answer is “No.”   But a walk down memory lane will illustrate how, at least with some folks, ignorant anti-Mormonism harmonizes very nicely with anti-Islamic prejudice. […]
Dan Peterson

From the Mailbag

3 months 1 week ago
    I just found the following comment on my blog.  It was apparently sent (by somebody calling himself “Jon”) at around the time that I left for the Middle East, about — what was it? — three weeks ago.  A reader evidently marked it as “spam.”  (Not I.)  It’s referring to my April Ensign […]
Dan Peterson

In the Wake of the Six-Day War

3 months 1 week ago
    Another small dose of The Manuscript:   Since 1948, of course, there have been other wars, in 1956, in 1967, and 1973, and a state of almost permanent tension and fre­quent military clashes between Israel and her neighbors. After the fighting of 1948 came to an end, the new Israeli state signed armi­stice […]
Dan Peterson

Exile

3 months 1 week ago
    Another selection from The Manuscript:   The sense of loss among Arabs was powerful and profound. A poem by Abdul Wahab al-Bayati, “The Arab Refugee,” gives voice to this. Notice its lament over the lost Arab town of Jaffa, whose orange groves, now in Jewish hands, supply Europe with a substan­tial proportion of […]
Dan Peterson

From the City of Palm Trees

3 months 1 week ago
    Sometimes, traveling in the Holy Land reminds me how very much I miss Truman Madsen.   He was a huge influence on me at a pivotal point in my life, and he ultimately became a friend.  He was the director of BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies during the nearly six months […]
Dan Peterson

Self-Delusion

3 months 1 week ago
    “Humans think they are free, conscious beings, when in truth they are deluded animals. At the same time they never cease trying to escape from what they imagine themselves to be. Their religions are attempts to be rid of a freedom they have never possessed. In the twentieth century, the utopias of Right […]
Dan Peterson

On the birth of Israel

3 months 2 weeks ago
    A few more notes:   On 14 May 1948, David Ben Gurion (after whom Israel’s national airport is now named) proclaimed the indepen­dence of a new state of Israel. (It is said that he had not decided whether to call the new country “Israel” or “Zion” until scarcely minutes before he stood up […]
Dan Peterson

A Note on Science, Scientific Literacy, and Religious Belief

3 months 2 weeks ago
    It’s a limited point — it proves no point of anybody’s religious doctrine true — but it’s a point that sometimes needs to be made.   So, as further evidence of the fact that first-rate scientific competence and understanding isn’t intrinsically incompatible with thoughtful religious faith, I offer the example of Charles H. Townes, […]
Dan Peterson

Thoughts on Mormonism and Intellectual Sophistication

3 months 2 weeks ago
    Some years ago, I was irritated by a gratuitous insult to my faith in Thomas Cahill’s otherwise interesting book How the Irish Saved Civilization.  While discussing the ancient Iranian-born religion of Manichaeism, now long gone but once (for a few centuries) a serious rival to Christianity, Cahill suddenly, out of the blue, compared […]
Dan Peterson

Approaching Israel

3 months 2 weeks ago
    For various reasons, I’ve had a difficult time blogging over the last several days.  But I’m going to try to get back into the rhythm of things.  Here’s a snippet from a manuscript-in-progress:   Early Zionists, coming from Europe, were often unaware—sometimes because they were simply not told—that there already was a people […]
Dan Peterson
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5 hours 19 minutes ago
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