Robert at Scriptural Mormonism does a good job discussing the place of grace in “old fashion Mormonism” (More or less Mormonism from early 20th century up through the 90’s) I’d add that grace in a lot of ways is misrepresented when that era’s thought is discussed. Often the difference is simply word choice to discuss the theology.
Terryl Givens has up an essay at First Things called “Mormons at the Forefront.” I’ll probably comment on it later this week at T&S.
Evolutionary psychology suggests God makes more sense than not. I’m not sure he sees the tension between EP giving “just so” stories and claims it proves something. Still it is interesting that EP tends to note that at least aspects of religion are genetic. The debate is over how much of that is false positives from basic agency senses versus noticing something in the world. (The ways eyes help us deal with real objects in the world)
“…[scientism] is contributing to a growing trend on the left, quite as ferocious as anything on the right, toward anti-intellectualism and bigotry, and that it is at bottom incompatible with the principles of a humane, open, and free society.” Partially Examined Life on Scientism.
I used to discuss this a lot back at the old blog. (Sadly I was unable to export the posts in a fashion so they could be imported here). I’ve not talked about it in a long time simply because at a certain point it becomes uninteresting. Most people engaging in scientism simply don’t have much of a mind to even bother attempting to understand why philosophers ask the things they do. Often their view of philosophy is pretty distorted.
Just a short post as I’m planning a longer post on this topic at T&S next week. A few people were mentioning Jana Riess’ talk at the UVU Mormon Studies conference last week. She posted a bit on it at her blog.
While I don’t really disagree with most she says, I do want to raise an important point. We have to be careful comparing statistics from different surveys. Typically they are apples to oranges comparisons with different methodologies – especially in terms of how they decide how to deal with getting diversity into their polls. So, for instance, a poll of 20,000 Mormons might seem like a huge sample size, it wouldn’t be terribly representative of American Mormons if it mainly consisted of people from Rexsburg and Provo. Getting both a representative sample and and sufficiently large sample size is difficult.
Somehow I missed that UVU (just a few blocks from work) was having a religious liberty symposium this week and a Mormon studies conference. The symposium included some big names like columnist Ross Douthat. Alas work would have kept me from going anyway. But I am sad to miss it as some of the talks sounded quite interesting.
I really need to make it more of a point to get out to some of these things – especially when they are so close by.
I’d missed this when it came out. Gallup does regular interviews and keeps track of the religion of people who respond to their polls. For 2015 that was 174,000 people. Their rate for Mormons was 2% compared with Christans at 75.2% and Nones at 19.6%. This is significantly higher than Pew (1.6% Mormon; 70.6% Christian; 22.8% None).
Over at BCC Jacob Baker put up a paper tying New Atheists with the John Dehlin style of Mormon critic. While I’ve not yet read the paper, it seems interesting. I admit up front I’m pretty skeptical of the thesis but want to read it through before commenting.
The basic issue is a quote from notable New Atheist Sam Harris on how religious moderates are unwilling to accept that so much of their religious texts are antithetical to their moral intuitions. That is by simply picking and choosing the passages to follow, they ignore the danger the texts have. The typical counterpoint to this are writers (also atheist I believe) like Robert Wright who think religions modernize when they choose what passages to privilege or ignore.1 To them this is a natural part of religion that the Harris type of critique miss. Wright often directly engages the New Atheists on these issues. Wright often actually sees retrenchment of fundamentalism a backlash to New Atheist like attacks on religion.
The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog has an interesting story up on religious freedom and last night’s caucus vote in Idaho and Utah for Ted Cruz. I think it gets a few things wrong. Effectively it is asking why Mormons voted for Cruz, who isn’t exactly a religious freedom champion when they opposed Trump.
The problem is that this election cycle is a perfect example of having any good choices. Thus any choice you make is bad. A vote for Katich at this stage is really a vote for Trump. There’s no way Kasich can win. Exactly why he’s still in the race is not at all clear. He should have left long ago if he cared about the danger of Trump.
Cruz is a very bad choice too for a slew of reasons. I suspect there’s actually a fair bit of sincere support for Cruz for various reasons in Utah. I think it incorrect, but at this stage I think it doesn’t matter. Trump is a huge threat for both the Republican Party as well as the nation. Most of those supporting Trump are either severely projecting onto him what they want him to be like or just don’t care. That is they think a vote for Trump will shake up politics. (It will, but not likely the way they want) Cruz at this stage, as bad as a candidate as at least many Utahns might think him to be is the best chance of stopping the greater threat of Trump. Beyond that the next best bet is to vote for Clinton. It’s worth noting that Utahns in general are not fans of the Clintons. This was the one state where in the 90’s Bill Clinton actually came in third. But I think many people see Clinton as a lesser threat than Trump.