Learning from our religious big brothers: Hinduism

December 19, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 9:57 am   Category: Uncategorized

One of my favorite “doctrines” within the LDS faith is the charge to go and seek out the good of other faiths and to bring them home to Mormonism. This is an effort to do this. If anyone out there is a true expert on Hinduism, apologies abound and corrections are welcome.

The Problem of Evil has been a delightful pointy stick which many have used to argue against the existence of God. For a long time, I thought the LDS church had a unique out for this particular problem, the eternal existence of souls. I was wrong, but not in the way you may be thinking.
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Why Obey the Laws of Logic?

December 4, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:29 am   Category: Uncategorized

There is a wonderful little book that I would blog if I were not so lazy called Walking the Tightrope of Reason. Robert Fogelin explores the paradoxes and problems associated with reason and logic. On the one hand, we are absolutely and unavoidably commited to the integrity of reason. On the other hand, we find that reason has a tendency to turn against itself and create incoherence when pursued unrestrained. In an early chapter entitled “Why Obey the Laws of Logic?” he makes the point that if we reject the law of non-contradiction, everything goes south fast:

The standard proof that everything follows from a contradiction depends on three seemingly unassailable principles. (more…)

Science Without a Worldview

November 25, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 2:05 pm   Category: Uncategorized

Science offers a worldview. Sure, it is good for a lot of other things too (technologies for example), but I think the scientific worldview is one of the most important things science has to offer. It seems to me that the advances in physics over the last hundred years have left science in an awkward position, which both frustrates and fascinates me.

Ever since Isaac Newton, the prevailing scientific worldview has been one of mechanism, the idea that everything can be explained by physical causes. The universe is seen as a big pinball machine with things bumping into each other, each action causing an equal and opposite reaction, and so forth. (more…)

“Offend the Spirit” — Poor Choice of Words?

October 21, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:10 pm   Category: Uncategorized

Vulgarity, profanity, immodesty, violence in movies, and being up past midnight are examples of things that we commonly refer to as “offending the spirit.” I don’t disagree, in general, with the badness of the things on this list but I find the word choice to be a bit problematic. The picture it paints in my mind is different than what I think is actually going on. This language has always conjured for me an image of the Holy Ghost standing up and leaving the movie theater in disgust. In fact, I think that is the image that speakers are trying to evoke by using such language. However, I think there is an important problem with that image. (more…)

Lesser Known Lewis

September 2, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:11 pm   Category: Uncategorized

Mere Christianity and Screwtape Letters get a lot of attention, but I find most people have not read much C.S. Lewis beyond that (if anything, the Great Divorce, The Abolition of Man, maybe The Weight of Glory). Although I’m a big fan of his famous books like Screwtape Letters, most of my favorite Lewis comes from his shorter essays and lesser known stuff. Here are some snippets from the Letters of C.S. Lewis, a collection of some of his personal letters to fans and friends. I thought some of these might generate interesting discussion if people are inclined to discuss. I numbered them so you can refer to them more easily. (more…)

Eugene England’s Worst. Arguments. Ever.

July 21, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 6:49 pm   Category: Uncategorized

This post is long, but I didn’t want to title a post as I did without at least trying to back it up. You don’t need to read the whole post to comment, feel free to comment on any one of the several arguments discussed.

I know, we all love Eugene England. You do and I do. Nevertheless, someone needs to point out that the arguments in his famous On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage are not good arguments, and it might as well be me that does it. Twenty years after being published this paper is still influential and gets semi-regular mention in the bloggernacle. The main point of the paper is to argue that there will be no plural marriage in the celestial kingdom. Not for Abraham, not for Brigham Young, and not for your grandpa who was sealed to a second wife after his first wife died. (more…)

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