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Sic Et Non

The Hope of Full Flowering

3 weeks 5 days ago
    I continue to be struck by a quotation from then-Elder Russell M. Nelson that was, I believe, cited in the September 2014 issue of the Ensign:   “We were born to die and we die to live,” he wrote back in 1992.  “As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower […]
Dan Peterson

“Muslim Identity” (Part 3)

3 weeks 5 days ago
    Here’s a third selection from an article that I wrote for Richard C. Martin, et al., eds.,  Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, 2 vols. (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004), on the subject of “Muslim Identity”:   The Ottoman Empire and Its Immediate Aftermath In its classic Ottoman form, the millet system […]
Dan Peterson

The Reactionary Renaissance (Part B)

3 weeks 5 days ago
    A recurring trope among critics of religious belief is the claim that scientific inquiry was stifled by the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages and only began to flourish again when theology was dethroned in the Renaissance, thus restoring freedom of thought.  (The insinuation is that religion has always been an obstacle […]
Dan Peterson

“Muslim Identity” (Part 2)

3 weeks 6 days ago
    Here’s a second selection from an article that I wrote for Richard C. Martin, et al., eds.  Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, 2 vols. (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004), on the subject of “Muslim Identity”:   But there also existed from the start a sense of distinct Islamic peoplehood, beyond ethnicity.  […]
Dan Peterson

Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, and Russia

3 weeks 6 days ago
    Some links that have recently caught my attention and that you might find interesting:   The Daily Caller:  “Tom Perez’s Russia Comments Have People Flashing Back to Mitt Romney 2012”   The Wall Street Journal:  “Romney’s Russia Vindication:  He was right about the Kremlin in 2012, not that Democrats admit it.”   CNN: […]
Dan Peterson

Happy Pioneer Day!

3 weeks 6 days ago
    I would like to wish everyone out there a happy Pioneer Day.   I’ve thought from time to time about the significance of the pioneer experience for the culture and faith of today’s Latter-day Saints, and here’s one thing that occurs to me:   That process of crossing the plains built a sense […]
Dan Peterson

The Reactionary Renaissance (Part A)

3 weeks 6 days ago
    A staple criticism deployed against religious faith in general by some skeptics is the assertion that science and human thought were stifled in the medieval West by the cold, dead, theocratic hand of the Roman Catholic Church — which, they imply, merely offers one particularly clear illustration of the general and inevitable warfare […]
Dan Peterson

Joseph Smith’s sense of humor?

4 weeks ago
    From a rough, unfinished manuscript of mine:   Humor is in short supply among fanatics, and is something carefully avoided by most pretenders to sanctity.  Yet George Q. Cannon remembered Joseph’s “sense of gentle humor.”[1]  Likewise, his modern biographer Robert Remini, a preeminent scholar of Jacksonian America and a non-Mormon, writes that he […]
Dan Peterson

“Muslim Identity” (Part 1)

4 weeks ago
    Here’s the first part of an article that I wrote for Richard C. Martin, et al., eds.  Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, 2 vols. (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004), on the subject of “Muslim Identity”:   In Islamic societies, religion, rather than language and ethnicity, has typically defined political, social, and […]
Dan Peterson

Hell on Earth, and Its Aftermath

4 weeks ago
    Current estimates put the age of the Earth at roughly 4.543 billion years, which means that my memories of its formation are probably just reflections of what my parents told me about it.   The Earth was formed out of debris surrounding what is called the solar protoplanetary disk.  There was, of course, no life […]
Dan Peterson

The Sin of “Shirk”

4 weeks 1 day ago
    The worst sin in Islam is shirk (شرك).  The word isn’t pronounced like the English verb to shirk, as in “shirking one’s responsibilities.”  Rather, it’s pronounced exactly like the English adjective sheer — or, if you prefer, like the English verb to shear, as in “shearing a sheep” — except that there’s a k at […]
Dan Peterson

Carl Sagan Remembered

4 weeks 1 day ago
    There’s much in the work of the late astronomer, astrophysicist, and science writer Carl Sagan (1934-1996) with which I disagree.  Not so much with regard to the science but with regard to his overall worldview.   Here, though, are some quotations from him that I like very much:   “How is it that […]
Dan Peterson

“Adam-ondi-Ahman”

4 weeks 1 day ago
    We spent yesterday afternoon and evening at the incredibly beautiful Butchart Gardens.   Walking through and around them, and sailing just off of them, I found myself thinking of two rather distinct things.   First, I thought of the hymn “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” written by William W. Phelps and included in the first Latter-day Saint […]
Dan Peterson

“Do Latter-day Saints believe that men and women can become gods?”

4 weeks 2 days ago
    Here’s another little mini-essay that I wrote and published back in 2002:   Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that human beings can grow and progress spiritually until, through the mercy and grace of Christ, they can inherit and possess all that the Father has—they can become gods. […]
Dan Peterson

“Was Adolf Hitler Religious?” and other burning matters

4 weeks 2 days ago
    The latest iteration of the bi-weekly Hamblin/Peterson column in the Deseret News has now appeared:   “Was Adolf Hitler religious?”   ***   An interesting story from the official Church news site:   “Elder Gerard Addresses NAACP National Convention: Collaboration between the Church and NAACP expands”   How many would have predicted that story […]
Dan Peterson

Trivia?

4 weeks 2 days ago
    This is another entry that has been inspired by my reading of James Hannam, The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (Washington DC: Henry Regnery, 2011).   Hannam is talking about the three introductory academic subjects that a student at the medieval University of Oxford would have […]
Dan Peterson

What is a “fatwa”?

1 month ago
    Many people have heard the word fatwa.  Most famously, particularly for people in the West above a certain age, the word will ring a bell in connection with the case of the Anglo-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie.  In 1988, Rushdie wrote a novel titled  The Satanic Verses that provoked a major international controversy because of its disrespectful, even […]
Dan Peterson

A last comment on FreedomFest 2018

1 month ago
    Before FreedomFest 2019 draws too near, I want to post my final comment about the just-concluded FreedomFest 2018.   My participation in FreedomFest 2018 commenced with a private Wednesday night dinner with roughly twenty invited guests, including such folks as as John Mackey, Michael Shermer, Mark Skousen, Daniele Struppa, Deirdre McCloskey, Grover Norquist, Steve Forbes, Lisa […]
Dan Peterson

Good Reading, Good Listening, Good Ideas

1 month ago
    Two new review articles appeared today (Friday) in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:   “The Case of the Missing Commentary”   “Much More than a Plural Marriage Revelation”   Moreover, the 1 July 2018 version of the Interpreter Radio Show is up and ready for free listening on the website of the […]
Dan Peterson

At play in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

1 month ago
    We went whale watching for several hours today.  We saw only one humpback whale, but we saw (and spent much more time with) two or three groups of orcas or killer whales.  And, at the end, we cruised over by Race Rocks, where, because of the high tidal current, an exceptional variety of marine […]
Dan Peterson
Checked
5 hours 19 minutes ago
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