Is the Bible so “dangerous” it should be banned? Burned? Seriously.

NORMAN'S QUESTION:The Bible is the most-purchased and least-read book of any. What can we do to discourage the reading of this dangerous book? The medieval church kept it wisely in Latin. The damned Protestant Reformers wanted everyone to read it and look what evil that has accomplished! Shall we burn it? Shall we prevent it being sold? I am serious.THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:The Religion Guy would have ignored this one except for the last three words above that require us to take … [Read More...]

Was the Bible’s Abraham a real person or only a fictional character?

MARK'S QUESTION:Liberal biblical scholars say Abraham never lived and was a literary invention of "priestly" writers in exile in Babylon. Since we have no archaeological data on him, how do we know he really lived?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:The patriarch Abraham is all-important as the revered founding forefather and exemplar of faith in the one God, this not only for Jews and Christians but Muslims, whose Quran parallels some of the biblical account on him in Genesis 11 - 25. Islam … [Read More...]

Were Paul, and Jesus himself, mistaken about when the Second Coming would occur?

NORMAN'S QUESTION (summarized and paraphrased):The New Testament letter of 1st Thessalonians regards the coming of the Kingdom as imminent. But don't 2nd Thessalonians and later New Testament letters indicate the church was coming to terms with the fact that Paul (and Jesus himself) were mistaken about this?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Experts say the first of the two letters Paul, Silvanus and Timothy sent to friends in the Greek city of Thessalonika was the earliest New Testament book … [Read More...]

What does the Bible say about physical punishment of children?”

AN ANONYMOUS READER ASKS:In the U.S. there is a strong tendency among certain segments of the population to emphasize only the negatives of Islam and only the positives of Christianity. What would you say to the Christians who believe in beating their children?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:This responds to our July 26 item on verse 4:34 in the Quran that directs husbands to beat rebellious wives, currently a political issue in the Muslim world. Islamic interpreters explain that beating is … [Read More...]

Does Islam’s Quran say husbands can beat their wives?

THE QUESTION:What does Islam's holy book, the Quran, say about husbands beating their wives?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:The Guy is posting this item himself rather than our usual answer to a question posted via the Website because this oft-discussed matter has become an important public dispute. In heavily Muslim Pakistan, the nation's Parliament is advised by a Council of Islamic Ideology, experts assigned to make sure laws fit the faith's mandates. The Senate's human rights committee … [Read More...]

Why do the Catholics and Orthodox “cross themselves” differently?

GAIL'S QUESTION:Why don't the Orthodox and Roman Catholics cross themselves the same way?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Catholic and Orthodox parishioners make the "sign of the cross" before personal prayers, upon entering a church, at various points during worship, and otherwise. Priests make the sign not only during the sacraments but use it to impart blessings on people or objects. Not to mention the familiar sight of superstitious athletes doing so before free throws or penalty … [Read More...]

Does religious liberty in the U.S. go too far?

NORMAN'S QUESTION:Given that many religious groups have some very socially undesirable beliefs and, even more, practices, how much does religious liberty in America need to be restricted?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Here's a sketch of a very complex constellation of issues. The question provides no examples of what's offensive but The Guy guesses that Norman is a liberal critic of religion who especially decries "socially undesirable" religious stands on moral matters like … [Read More...]

What is Jainism?

SID'S QUERY:I am looking for information on Jainism. Any help you can give me would be great.THE RELIGION GUY'S RESPONSE:Jainism is an ancient religion of India that's relatively unknown in the West. Though with only 4 million or so adherents it is considered a major world faith, alongside others with followers that number in the mere millions like Baha'i, Confucianism, Shinto, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism.This is a remarkably rigoristic and ascetic creed, not only for monks nd … [Read More...]

Will Catholicism admit women deacons to the clergy ranks?

THE QUESTION:What are the reasons the Catholic Church might, or might not, ordain women in the clerical rank of deacon? (Almost all Q and A topics are posted by our online audience, but The Guy decided to pose this timely question himself.)THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:Catholicism's long-simmering discussion about whether to ordain women into the clerical ranks as "permanent deacons" took a dramatic turn May 12 when Pope Francis said he'll form a commission to study the issue. His … [Read More...]

Wine? Juice? Water? Wheat bread? What should be served at Communion?

GORDON'S QUESTION:Why do some Christians use (unfermented) grape juice or leavened bread in Communion since what was on the table at the Last Supper was almost certainly unleavened bread and fermented wine?THE RELIGION GUY'S ANSWER:The Bible records that on the night of Jesus' arrest he blessed and distributed bread saying "take; this is my body,"  and shared a cup saying "this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many." He concluded with "do this in remembrance of … [Read More...]