What’s the background of the Episcopal Church’s new leader?

AN EPISCOPALIAN ASKS:Can you tell us something more about the presiding bishop of our [Episcopal] Church? I've heard only upbeat things about him from people who have met and heard him. Will he be a Marco Rubio -- a very effective speaker who can connect with people?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Perhaps so. Here's some information about the personable Michael Bruce Curry, 62, who was installed this month as the new presiding bishop of America's troubled Episcopal Church. Some U.S. … [Read More...]

Is Islam a “religion of peace”?

With Islamic State claiming responsibility for the Friday the 13th massacres in Paris, the Religion Guy is re-posting the following answer from February 21,2015, and calls attention to the link below to "Who speaks for Islam in a time of terrorism?"DAVID ASKS:Where is the Muslim peace movement? Put another way, if Islam is a peace-loving religion where are the Muslim voices for peace?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:“Islam is a religion that preaches peace,” U.S. President Barack Obama t … [Read More...]

What is Seventh-day Adventism?

RUSSELL'S QUESTION:Since Donald Trump brought Ben Carson's religion to the forefront, can you tell us more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Presidential candidate Trump contrasted his own "middle of the road" Presbyterian Church (USA) with Carson's Seventh-day Adventist Church as a religion "I don't know about."  That suggested the SDA denomination is not just lesser-known but on the cultural margins and possibly suspect.This born-in-America faith … [Read More...]

What faiths practice cremation?

GORDON'S QUESTION:What do various faiths say about cremation vs. burial of remains? I know in some places like the United Kingdom cremation has become very common, maybe even surpassing ground burial.THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Cremation (high-temperature burning that turns a corpse into ashes and bone fragments) is indeed by far the majority practice in the U.K. today. It's also on the upswing in the U.S., where the National Funeral Directors Association posts these statistics: As … [Read More...]

What is an agnostic?

LISA'S QUESTION:What does it mean to be agnostic?  Are there people who actually consider it to be a religion?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:In Pew Research's much-mulled 2014 religion poll of 35,000 U.S. adults, 3.1 percent defined themselves as "atheists" (compared with 1.6 percent in a similar 2007 survey) while a somewhat larger faction of 4 percent called themselves "agnostics" (versus 2.4 percent in 2007). Pew grabbed headlines by combining them with the far larger numbers who said … [Read More...]

How should Christians holding public office conduct their duties?

GENE'S QUESTION:How ought Christian believers conduct themselves as public office-holders? To what extent should they promote biblical principles in the context of a democratic society? What grounds should they cite? Are some biblical principles too idealistic for a secular society?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Gene posted this fourfold query before Kentucky county clerk Kimberly Davis won headlines by briefly going to jail rather than authorize same-sex marriage licenses that violate … [Read More...]

Which U.S. churches accept legal abortion?

EVA'S QUESTION:Are there any Christian denominations that accept the legality of abortion?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Yes.  To make things manageable the following discusses only Christianity in the U.S. in the era of the Supreme Court's 1973 decision to legalize abortion nationwide. Although some predominantly white "mainline" Protestant churches are officially neutral or opposed, five major denominations of this type provide significant support for abortion choice in various s … [Read More...]

A common dilemma: Which Bible to use?

DALE'S QUESTION:I am no longer sure which Bible to use. I currently have the New American Standard Bible. How accurate is this? What are your thoughts on the New English Translation? [This is a direct response to our immediately preceding Religion Q and A for August 16, 2015, "Why were some verses removed from the New Testament?"]THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:There are so many different English translations in today's alphabet soup of a marketplace that Dale's dilemma is common. Other … [Read More...]

Why were some verses removed from the New Testament?

CASSANDRA'S QUESTION:I'm just shocked by the information I just received about the N.I.V. Bible, that many verses of the Scriptures have been removed. So I'm searching for a reliable version of the Bible to study from. Any suggestions?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:The Guy reassures Cassandra, who's been reading the Bible for 21 years, that well-qualified translators produced the many modern English editions on the market, and that includes her New International Version. Inevitably, … [Read More...]

How come Judaism is broken into various branches?

MADDIE'S QUESTION:What caused Judaism to break into branches? Are the branches even seen as a division? Does theology differ among them?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:The questioner has "a Christian background" so is familiar with a religion made up of separate groups. Christianity has long been divided into four main families, the so-called "Oriental Orthodox," the Eastern Orthodox, Catholicism, and Protestantism. A fifth family of new, independent churches in the developing world … [Read More...]