What religions use mind-altering drugs?

MICHAEL-ANN'S QUESTION: While millions observed Easter Sunday or the Passover season April 20, some folks were celebrating the annual "4-20," numerical code for the marijuana subculture. That coincidence caused Michael-Ann to wonder "how many religions use weed (and other mind-altering drugs) to reach spirituality?" THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER: The best-known example is the Rastafarians, who are deeply rooted in Jamaica and among U.S. immigrants from that nation. Rastas, easily identified … [Read More...]

How does that birth control ruling affect U.S. religion?

THE RELIGION GUY EXPLAINS that no-one has yet posted a question on the June 30 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing certain religious exemptions from the Obama Administration's birth control mandate. So The Guy is posting his own analysis of an important case that highlights the nation's religious, moral, legal, and political divisions. The case involved the Hobby Lobby craft stores and two smaller businesses wholly owned by evangelical Protestant families. They believe that because human … [Read More...]

Where does anti-Hitler hero Dietrich Bonhoeffer fit?

JOHN ASKS: [Dietrich Bonhoeffer] was a hero and martyr for the faith, but is it possible evangelical Christians in America have lionized someone whose theology is not actually in sync with theirs? THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS: Books by and about Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 - 1945) sell without letup, including no less than seven biographies since 2010, plus novels, plays, films, unending articles, even an opera. The German Lutheran pastor is one of the past century's most revered authors … [Read More...]

What’s the track record when atheists wield political power?

DUANE'S QUESTION: He'd like to know what The Religion Guy was talking about in this from "Religion Q and A" on June 8: "When atheists seized governments in the 20th Century they fused their belief in unbelief with state power and enforced it with a cruel vengeance unmatched by the worst cross-and-crown tyrannies during Christendom's bygone centuries." THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER: The Guy was thinking of hard facts about Communists holding political power. To explain the comment (which … [Read More...]

Do religions influence China’s atheistic rulers?

MADDIE ASKS: How much of ... eastern and western religions have had an influence on the [atheistic Chinese Communist] Party's ideology? THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS: Not much, on the surface, but there's obvious affinity with Confucianism that the Communist authorities don't admit. However -- Is Confucianism a "religion" or a mere humanistic philosophy, since it lacks defined gods and supernaturalism? Dr. G. Wright Doyle, director of the scholarly Global China Center … [Read More...]

Which religions favor separation of church and state?

LISA ASKS: Do all religions teach separation between church and state? If not, which ones, and why? THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS: Separation of church and state (the usual phrasing though "of religion and state" is often more accurate) is an achievement of modern politics and by no means a universal one. Among world religions, after long struggle Christianity helped create the concept and broadly favors aspects of it in most countries.  Islam stands at the opposite end of the … [Read More...]

Can Christian unity help a troubled Ukraine?

SANDRA ASKS: Can common ground be found to unite the Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine [and could the harmony across church lines] during the Maidan protests point the way? THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS: Possibly. But this troubled nation with a declining population of 45 million has excruciating religious and political history to overcome. It is blessed and cursed by geography, with rich farmlands and mineral resources yet perennially caught between East and … [Read More...]

Near death: Is “Heaven Is For Real” for real?

MICHAEL-ANN ASKS: How well do you think [the current "Heaven Is For Real" movie] addresses communicating out-of-body spiritual experiences? AND ART ASKS: [Regarding the "countless books" on near-death experiences such as "Heaven Is For Real"]: Is there any legitimate connection between these and Christian views of the next life? THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS: Since maybe a few folks out there haven't bought this best-selling book, or seen the movie, or read about the book or the … [Read More...]

How “make sense” of a Muslim “atrocity”?

MICHAEL'S QUESTION: As a "religious pluralist," Michael needs to "somehow make sense of the seemingly (in many other instances) peace-loving and merciful Muhammad simultaneously being involved in what in all honesty appears quite atrocious." He refers to Muslims killing 400 to 1,000 Arabian Jews after winning the pivotal Battle of the Trench in 627 (C.E.). THE RELIGION GUY RESPONDS: April's mass kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram has alarmed multitudes. These insurgents … [Read More...]

Should town council prayers have been legalized?

BRAD ASKS: [Regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's new Greece v. Galloway ruling that allows prayers before town council meetings]: Is the door being nudged open for an ugly discourse on separation of church and state? THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS: Brad fears this pro-prayer decision might stir up ugliness, but The Guy thinks there's be more of it if the Court had instead barred invocations like those in Greece, New York. Americans generally like prayers to solemnize civic occasions from … [Read More...]

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