Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who knows more about religion than an agnostic?

A very interesting survey was released today by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. They surveyed over 3,400 people to see how well they understood various religions. Not surprisingly, members of the LDS church (Mormons), and Jews scored well. Perhaps what was surprising was how well atheists and agnostics scored. Thirty-two questions were asked. On average, LDS members and Jews scored 20 points. Protestants scored 16, and Catholics got 15 correct. Atheists and agnostics however averaged a whopping 21 points.

I found that interesting. Continuing to read the article from Fox News,article I realized why:

Not surprisingly, those who said they attended worship at least once a week and considered religion important in their lives often performed better on the overall survey. However, level of education was the best predictor of religious knowledge.

It reminded me of the passage in 2 Nephi 9:28-29,
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

So the highly educated tend to scorn God and his counsels, but they score very high on these sorts of surveys.

One more quote from the article:
On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Defensive Tactics

Paul Stephens has it all--a wonderful job at the FBI, a new girlfriend, and a great apartment. Even when Jimmy, a friend from his past, unexpectedly ends up on his couch, Paul has no worries. But when arresting a corrupt judge puts his girlfriend's life in danger, Paul and Jimmy will do anything to save her. How far will Paul go to protect the ones he loves? Filled with suspense and action, Defensive Tactics shows just how much the bonds of friendship can endure.

Defensive Tactics is a LDS based suspense thriller. It is the debut novel by Steve Westover.

The book had several well placed hooks at the end of chapters that compelled me to turn the page and keep reading. Steve’s book has it all. Good and bad FBI agents, good and bad cops, bad judges mingling with mobsters, and likeable protagonists.

Interwoven into the suspense/thriller motif is a character struggling with his faith. Even the “true to the faith” characters make judgment calls that bring their ethics into question as they strive to accomplish the greater good by breaking a few rules. The story was very enjoyable, and devoid of overt sexuality and profane language that is very prevalent in much of today’s literature.

The book did contain a few point of view (POV) shifts that many writers would disapprove of; but since I frequently disapprove of writers that have conniptions over POV shifts, I don’t consider it a huge deal.

Defensive Tactics is a solid novel by an up and coming writer. I have no doubts Steve’s writing will get even better as he continues to hone his craft. You can purchase a copy of Defensive Tactics by clicking here.

Note: I did receive a free copy of the book so I could review it. However, the free book in no way influenced my write up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How the Red Sea, er, Nile was parted

According to this article, there is a scientific explanation for the parting of the Red Sea, except it had to happen at the Nile.

It's a very interesting article. However, after having read it, I find it easier to believe that Jehovah controlled the powers of nature to split the Red Sea. I'm waiting to see the scientific explanation that shows how Christ walked on water...