KEN’S QUESTION: Is the picture of religion in the media generally better or worse (or both) than it was 25 – 30 years ago? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Unquestionably worse. To begin, let’s acknowledge that the media inevitably report more about the bad than the good news. We take for granted countless acts of charity quietly performed by religious agencies and individuals while the scandals hit page one. The following comes from an American viewpoint, though affected by circumstances in… Read more

THE QUESTION: Is it moral for a Christian to work as a spy, and in the process deceive the enemy or employ illicit sex to obtain essential information? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER explores that fascinating ethical topic, raised by a recent lead article in Providence, a young “journal of Christianity & American foreign policy.” See The journal’s cover illustration, from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1946 movie “Notorious,” showed a U.S. agent (Cary Grant) who seduces and recruits a woman (Ingrid… Read more

THE TWO QUESTIONS above have been raised online in 1) a 2018 article for a Catholic Website and 2) several 2017 Web postings, among other places. THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: That first one is easy: Aramaic. As writer Philip Koslowski stated January 21 on the international Catholic, it was the common language spoken by Jews in the 1st Century Holy Land. There’s virtually no doubt Jesus would have taught in that tongue. For one thing, the original Greek New… Read more

THE QUESTION of why Christian clergy often wear black was posed to The Religion Guy during a conversation a while ago. The thought had never occurred, so this is a good example of things we tend to take for granted and don’t hink about. Thus it makes a good “Religion Q & A” topic. (Please feel free to submit your own questions at any time by clicking above at SEND YOUR QUESTIONS IN.) THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Black is becoming… Read more

THE QUESTION:  Why did ancient Jewish leaders approve the sensuous Song of Songs (a.k.a. Song of Solomon or Canticles) as a book in the Bible? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: The biblical Song, a remarkable poetic celebration of sexual and emotional love between a man and a woman, won recent praise in The Wall Street Journal’s “Masterpiece” column, which analyzes history’s major works of art. Writer Aliora Katz commented on its cultural value: “In the time of Tinder and casual hookups,… Read more

RACHAEL’S QUESTION: What is the significance of Jesus cursing the fig tree? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Our discussion will focus on the Gospel of Mark (11:12-14 and 20-26) rather than the briefer parallel version in Matthew (21:18-22), which most experts think was written down later. Mark records the following: Jesus was traveling with his disciples to Jerusalem, where he was to “cleanse” the Temple by driving out devious money-changers and sellers of birds for sacrifice. He was hungry and spotted… Read more

The memorized “Lord’s Prayer” is so frequently recited by countless Christians that it can be easy to slide past what the familiar words are saying. For instance, how do we understand its most puzzling phrase: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13 per the King James Version and many other English translations. A condensed wording for the prayer also appears in Luke 11:2-4). So, does God lead us into temptation? Why would He? After all, the… Read more

And it came to pass that the weirdest religious quote of 2017 occurred when Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of sexual assault upon girls who were ages 14 and 16 when he was in his early 30s. Moore denied this. But State Auditor Jim Ziegler leapt to his fellow Republican’s defense by offering the Washington Examiner this head-scratcher: “Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just… Read more

DEANN’S QUESTION: Are the congregants massacred in Sutherland Springs martyrs? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: A shooting rampage during Sunday worship at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, took 26 lives (if we count an unborn baby). It was the worst slaughter at a house of worship in American history, though such atrocities occur all too often at churches in strife-ridden Islamic lands and more often at mosques — witness more than 300 Muslim worshipers massacred November 24 at Bir al-Abed,… Read more

THE RELIGION GUY OBSERVES that with “fake news” all over the news it’s wise to be aware of fake history. Consider Dan Brown’s influential pop novel “The Da Vinci Code.” Though the plot is fiction, readers may assume the book provides reliable historical background. Experts say that’s misleading, and one example is Brown’s version of how the New Testament came to be. That’s a timely question due to an important new technical work on the subject, “The Biblical Canon Lists from… Read more

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