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Faith is By Choice An LDS Faith Blog

Sic Et Non

Self-Delusion

1 month 2 weeks 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

1 month 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

1 month 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

1 month 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

1 month 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

Some lines about Syria

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Still working through the preliminary manuscript:   Syria, too, is under the control of a wing of the Ba’th Party. It is a hostile faction, however, that long despised the Iraq wing of the party and tried to undercut it at every turn. Syria, too, is ruled by a ruth­less tyrant. Hafez al-Asad […]
Dan Peterson

A few scientists who were also ecclesiastical leaders

1 month 3 weeks ago
    There are many who claim that science and religious belief are entirely incompatible.  They allege that the first represents rationality, while the latter embodies an unreasoning gullibility that is the very antithesis of science.  Some of them are openly contemptuous of anybody who suggests otherwise.   One of those who would have disagreed, however, […]
Dan Peterson

Reading the scriptures

1 month 3 weeks ago
    From his location in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the irreplaceable Jeff Bradshaw contributes another Old Testament “KnoWhy” to the sputtering Interpreter Foundation, which — I’m reliably informed by anonymous people who don’t actually seem to know anything about the topic — is yet again on or near its deathbed:   “Have […]
Dan Peterson

The late Mr. Saddam Hussein

1 month 3 weeks ago
    A bit more from The Once and Future Manuscript:   The Ba‘th Party takes its name from an Arabic word that can mean both “renaissance” and “resurrection.” That is the promise that it made to the Arab people. But it never delivered on its prom­ise. Instead, it represented an Arab socialism that was […]
Dan Peterson

“A Day in the Life of Joseph Smith, Translator Extraordinaire”

1 month 3 weeks ago
    I’ve shared this comedic masterpiece with you before now, but that doesn’t bother me at all because . . . well, because it’s hilarious.  Although it’s much shorter than Hugh Nibley’s Sounding Brass and The Myth Makers as a satirical send-up of some of the theories proposed by people who’re desperate to explain […]
Dan Peterson

My Life as a Straw Man

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Some Reflections on Being a Pin Cushion   I learn new things about myself all the time, thanks to the wonders of the Internet.   I’ve learned, for example, that I reject evolution and believe the earth to be only six thousand years old.   This came as a shock to me, because, […]
Dan Peterson

A note on the early history of the Iraqi state

1 month 3 weeks ago
    British troops took Mesopotamia away from the Ottoman Turks during the First World War (1914-1918), and in 1920 they received a mandate from the League of Nations to administer the area. Losing little time, they helped the locals to set up a government in 1921, under the name of “Iraq,” and brought in […]
Dan Peterson

Objective Proof in Religion

1 month 3 weeks ago
    I’m often challenged by certain critics to “prove” my fundamental beliefs.  I don’t claim to be able to do so, however, and I never have.  Nor do I think that atheists can prove theirs.  In such matters, we must make individual, personal, decisions in the absence of definitive, objective, publicly available evidence.  That’s […]
Dan Peterson

A spectacular failure

1 month 3 weeks ago
    In this further snippet from my manuscript, I reflect (very, very briefly and summarily) on the life and legacy of Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser.  Although he has been dead for very nearly half a century, he continues to loom large in the history of the region:   His most important mission, though, as […]
Dan Peterson

National Identity

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Every day, a little bit more.   The institutional details of government were often imposed from the outside as well. Political parties and national anthems, cabinets, parliaments, and constitutions—all of these are foreign notions of which, for the most part, the form but not the substance has taken root in the Middle East. […]
Dan Peterson

Petra, again

1 month 3 weeks ago
    We took our leave of (almost all of) our friends from the conference at the law school of the University of Jordan, met up with some new folks, and headed southward on the long drive toward Petra.     En route, we made a brief stop at the Crusader castle of Shoubak or […]
Dan Peterson

Artificiality and the political map of the modern Middle East

1 month 3 weeks ago
    The West wasn’t always exactly helping:   The newcomer among the three political traditions that we are discussing here is the idea of the modern nation-state. It is a for­eign idea, brought to the Middle East in the early twentieth century by British and French and, to a much lesser degree, Italian colonialists. […]
Dan Peterson

Biblical Jordan

1 month 3 weeks ago
    I’ve been over here in Jordan, with my wife, to participate in what was called, in English, “The First Annual Middle East Conference on the Rule of Law and Religion: ‘The Amman Message in a Changing World,'” which was held on 22-23 April 2018 at the School of Law of the University of […]
Dan Peterson

Three Physicists

1 month 3 weeks ago
    The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you. In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious […]
Dan Peterson
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