Cosmology – The Big Bang – And God

Recently, Stephen Hawking announced that there is no need for God, in terms of winding up the universe. The Big Bang [1] is a demonstrable result of M-theory. I won’t bore you about M-theory, except to say that It’s not complete and it’s not a sure bet yet. But even if it or one of its competitors turns out to match the data, be complete and self-consistent then great: such a thing might even have everyday consequences.
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Classical Scattering and The Convergence of Science and Religion?

In the mid 1960s the theory of classical wave motion took a leap ahead with an incredibly simple idea. A formalism allowing a single family of equations to describe seemingly diverse phenomena like wave motion in plasmas and other conducting fluids, the propagation of light (electromagnetic waves) and sound in complex media, seismic waves, electric waves on transmission lines, even the movement of fish larvae in ocean currents.
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A Systematic Theology – B.H. Roberts’ Dream

In 1912, Brigham Henry Roberts had finished his editorial adventure in LDS church history with the closing of his introductory essay to volume 6 of the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His final paragraph reads:
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The Infinite, part 4. Difficulties, order.

There are many orders of infinity. With no humor intended, there are infinitely many such orders. But when dealing with large collections of things, usually these are very abstract things, you can get into trouble.
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Robert J. Matthews. RIP

Robert Matthews, long time religion professor at BYU and JST scholar passed away today. Sympathies to his family and friends. Perhaps now he knows the answers to many of those deep questions.

Former dean of religious education at Brigham Young University, Robert Matthews played a significant role in many LDS Church projects. He worked to thaw relations between the (then) Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his study of the manuscripts of Joseph Smith’s biblical revisions, held at the time in RLDS archives.

Among many Church assignments, Matthews served as president of the Mount Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, Utah.

A Note on Some Additions at boap.org – Church President’s Sermons

Since I’m not doing anything on the book at present, I wanted to tell you all that there is now a collection of sermons from other LDS church presidents besides Joseph Smith at boap.org. We have some from all but Thomas Monson up now. It’s certainly not a complete corpus, but there is a lot there. I think these are sermons of church presidents, while they held the office, not previous to that time. As I said, the collection is not complete by any stretch. You can find them by going to boap.org, the link is on the home page. You can Google search it or you can use your browser to text search individual presidents. The Hinckley collection is very small. Besides, we may end up removing the post-1971 stuff in any case.

If you have a request for something that is missing, I’ll try and get it added.

-WVS

Is Reality Consistent with First Order Predicate Calculus?

The whole of science is based on answering yes to that question. But what about religion? At least from Augustine to Aquinas, people hoped the answer was yes. Of course, they wouldn’t have used the same terminology.
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Joseph Smith and Catholicism

During Joseph Smith’s youth it is unlikely that he knew many or perhaps any, Catholics. The New England area was home to few Catholics in 1805, and they were an unappreciated minority. But during the first half of the 19th century, America began to experience a boom in Catholic population. This growth can be seen in the number of Catholic houses of worship following the war of 1812. Edwin Gaustad (Historical Atlas of Religion in America) provides some figures: in 1820 there were 124 such structures in the US, a comparatively tiny number even in church-poor America. By 1850, the number had grown to 1,221. Ten years later there were 2,550. From 1820-1860, this was nearly a 2000% increase in Catholic buildings, a doubling in the final decade. For comparison, Methodist houses of worship — the fastest growing Protestant denomination of the period — increased by about 600%. Congregational buildings increased by about 100%, representing the slowest growth rate among major Protestant groups (this is a little remarkable because the Congregational church was “established” in New England– i.e., had state support–for many years. The constitutional provision did not apply to the states). Immigrants were responsible for much of this growth and this was particularly true in terms of Irish immigration (in regard to Catholic growth).
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Ontological Revelation

Paul Tillich drew a distinction between “ontological” reason and “technical” reason. Not being too picky here about what he meant, I’ve been wondering if one can make a distinction in revelation, particularly I’m thinking of Joseph Smith’s revelations and “near revelations.”[1]
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Free will and foreknowledge

Joseph Smith (JS) seemed comfortable postulating both that mankind generally, with exceptions, have free choice (at least internal moral choice) and that God has perfect foreknowledge. Although perhaps the latter can be (and has been) debated in some sense. Of course there are more complex shades of meaning here. Read more of this post

Jonathan Grimshaw and Honorable Doubts, Part I.

In tracking how JS’s sermon-texts have been treated over the last 170 odd years, more than one mysterious personality surfaces.  One of these was Jonathan Grimshaw.   Grimshaw was an English convert to Mormonism who had tried more than one religion prior to his contact with the Mormons. Read more of this post

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