September 7, 2018

THE QUESTION: Should national flags be displayed, or patriotic songs be sung, during Christian worship? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This issue comes to mind amid the seasonal fuss over professional football players’ political protests during the pregame National Anthem. Not to mention veterans organizations’ indignation when non-veteran Donald Trump temporarily refused to lower the White House flag to half-staff in honor of the late prisoner of war John McCain. Considering the emotions in such secular situations, it’s unsurprising that the… Read more

August 25, 2018

THE QUESTION: When was the New Testament’s Book of Acts written and why does it matter? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This topic cropped up recently when The Guy visited the adult Bible class at a prominent Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation. Participants are taught that the Book of Acts, which depicts the three decades directly following Jesus Christ’s earthly life, was written between 110 and 120 A.D., a generation later than scholars’ consensus. Does that seem a trivial technicality? “A good… Read more

August 11, 2018

THE QUESTION:  Are various religions good for individuals and for society even if, as skeptics contend, their beliefs are not really true? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Time for a skepticism update. Never before in history has there been such a concerted effort to question the value of religious faith like we now see across the West’s free societies (as distinct from artificially enforced atheism under Communist tyrannies). For instance, the common conviction that religion is important for shaping youngsters’ morals… Read more

July 26, 2018

ELEANOR’S QUESTION: Is it sinful for Catholics to attend a wedding between a Catholic and a Jew, performed by a rabbi? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: No. But there’s much more to be said about how Catholicism views interfaith marriages. (The church is more open on this than those who adhere to Jewish tradition, as we’ll discuss below.) An official U.S. Catholic Web site says that till recent decades “the idea of a Catholic marrying outside the faith was practically unheard… Read more

July 5, 2018

THE QUESTION: Why do most Christian churches baptize babies? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This classic issue unexpectedly popped up as news on June 23 due to an Irish Times interview with Mary McAleese, an attorney and the former president of Ireland. McAleese assailed her Catholic Church for its practice of baptizing infants shortly after birth with parents making vows on their behalf. That treats children as “infant conscripts who are held to lifelong obligations of obedience,” she protested, and that’s… Read more

June 9, 2018

THE QUESTION: Here’s one for July 4th:  What were the religious beliefs of the three founding presidents of the United States, Washington, Adams, and Jefferson? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: The Fourth of July, 1826, the 50th anniversary of American independence, was the date when both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died. What were the odds?!  The two served on the five-man Continental Congress committee responsible for the Declaration of Independence, and Adams, who recognized Jefferson’s golden pen, ensured that his… Read more

May 28, 2018

THE QUESTION: How did anti-Semitism originate and why has this prejudice been so persistent throughout history? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: It’s often said that history’s longest-running prejudice is anti-Semitism, hostility toward Jews as individuals or as a group. (The term was coined in 1879 by an anti-Semitic German journalist!)  This is no bygone social affliction but an ever-present problem made pertinent by numerous recent events. Though the U.S. champions religious freedom, not so long ago its prestige universities limited Jewish… Read more

May 12, 2018

NORMAN’S QUESTION: Was Freud correct or not in his anticipation of the demise of religion in “The Future of an Illusion”? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Ah, 1927, the year of Lindbergh, “The Jazz Singer,” Mount Rushmore, Sacco and Vanzetti, Dempsey and Tunney, the Yankees and Murderers’ Row, CBS Radio and the BBC. And the year of British philosopher-mathematician Bertrand Russell’s booklet “Why I Am Not a Christian.” By coincidence, that same year Sigmund Freud applied his psychoanalytic theories to religion… Read more

April 27, 2018

WINNIE’S QUESTION: Where does guilt come from? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This topic was referred to The Guy after it emerged during discussions at a monthly lunch group consisting of a liberal Catholic, a liberal Protestant, a Unitarian and an evangelical. Guilt  interwoven with religion is a continual theme for humor. The late entertainer Robin Williams, for instance, used to say he was an Episcopalian because it’s “Catholic light. All the pageantry, half the guilt.” Jews themselves continually joke about… Read more

April 13, 2018

JOHN’S QUESTION: (Paraphrased)  Sadly, many American churches cling to buildings, music, and tradition at the expense of reaching others with the Gospel. Was this the issue in the church of Corinth that the Apostle Paul rebukes in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Before looking at St. Paul’s 1st Century strategy for planting churches in cities like Corinth, The Religion Guy should say something about the 21st Century. John’s viewpoint is quite surprising. It’s possible that no prior generation… Read more

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