Is Mormonism Christian?

KEVIN ASKS:Is the Mormon religion considered Christian? There are radical doctrinal differences.THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:Depends on who's talking. The steadily expanding Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed "LDS" or "Mormon") vigorously defends the Christian identity proclaimed in its very name and resents assertions to the contrary. However, the Catholic Church, virtually all evangelical Protestants, and major U.S. "mainline" Protestant denominations all find the … [Read More...]

Why, and how, should public schools teach the Bible?

PAT ASKS:          Why, and how, should Bible be taught in a public, non-religious, school setting? What is its value as part of a secular curriculum? THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:Surveys show there’s appalling ignorance about the basics of the Bible, especially among younger Americans. Even religious skeptics would have to admit that’s a serious cultural and educational problem, wholly apart from Scripture's religious role. Bible knowledge is essential to comprehending the art of Giott … [Read More...]

Does the Old Testament speak about Jesus?

ROBERT ASKS:Can we read Christ into the Old Testament?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:According to Jewish tradition, no, and understandably so. According to Christian tradition, yes, since the New Testament interprets various passages in the Hebrew Bible (= Old Testament)  as prophecies that foreshadow the future life and message of Jesus. Christians commonly view other Old Testament texts this same way, following Jesus' own example: "Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he … [Read More...]

Who speaks for Islam in a time of terrorism?

 THE RELIGION GUY INTERRUPTS  this blog's usual answers to posted questions and feels impelled to highlight a development that ought to receive far more attention than it has.Addressing the United Nations General Assembly September 24, President Obama said "it is time for the world -- especially Muslim communities -- to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIL" (the group also called ISIS or "Islamic State").As if in r … [Read More...]

What religious stuff provoked interest the past 22 months?

THE RELIGION GUY EXPLAINS:This is the 100th "Religion Q and A" posting. So instead of answering the usual weekly question The Guy pauses to scan what sort of religious stuff provoked interest since December, 2012. That's when this blog began posting non-sectarian answers to anonymously posted questions on "any old thing about any and all faith options," after a strategic boost from Terry Mattingly of the estimable Guy, as a journalist, naturally wants current t … [Read More...]

How should Christianity mix with commerce?

MICHAEL-ANN ASKS:Businesses like Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A overtly follow Christian principles and thus promote Christianity. Is it profitable for them to have this 'brand,' or do you think the CEOs have some deeper evangelical goal?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:These two remarkable corporations are the largest in the U.S. that operate on an explicitly "Christian" basis, and both have been in the news lately.The Hobby Lobby craft store chain won U.S. Supreme Court approval June … [Read More...]

Do people who take their own lives go to Hell?

TOMMY ASKS:Does someone go to Hell if they take their own life?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:This question was posted shortly before the shocking suicide of superstar comedian and actor Robin Williams during an apparent bout with depression. Following that tragedy, conservative Christian blogger and Williams fan Austin Thompson posted an item of  questionable taste, declaring "with great sadness" that "maybe Robin Williams is in Hell."The Guy usually sidesteps his personal opinions, bu … [Read More...]

How is “new age” religion defined?

LISA ASKS:What exactly is the definition of "new age" thinking?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:This loosely diffuse movement, largely located in America,  is so indeterminate that it's tempting to simply say "new age" covers any recently formed "spiritual" or "psychic" or "mindful" or "self-discovery" groups that don't fit snugly into other religious categories. As part of this, new agers don't fall within the formal organizational life of Buddhism or Hinduism but often appropriate various … [Read More...]

How does the Catholic Church view marriages with Jews?

LISA ASKS:When a Catholic marries a Jew, does the Catholic Church recognize that marriage as a sacrament, since Catholicism has roots in Judaism?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:No. In the church's view a marriage between a Catholic and an adherent of Judaism (or any other non-Christian religion) is not a sacrament. This doesn't mean the church doubts the couple is truly married, nor does it signify any disrespect toward Judaism with which -- yes -- Christianity has great affinity.The … [Read More...]

Why is the Song of Solomon in the Bible?

ROB ASKS:The Song of Solomon gets a lot of 'bad press.' Are there spiritual lessons to be found in this book?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:The Song of Solomon or Song of Songs has probably roused more confusion than any other book in the Hebrew Bible, similar to the New Testament's complex Book of Revelation. Roland K. Harrison of the University of Toronto says the Song provides "almost unlimited ground for speculation." The Bible's usual piety, preachments, and prayers are totally … [Read More...]