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

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

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

THE QUESTION above is a headline at the Web site of Tricycle, a U.S. Buddhist magazine. THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Tricycle magazine is “unaffiliated with any particular teacher, sect, or lineage” and spans all forms of Buddhism with authority and style. The question above that it poses is quite pertinent since the online buddhanet, among others, states that Buddhists do not believe in any god because the Buddha “did not believe in a god” and he himself “was not, nor… Read more

KEN’S QUESTION: Is the picture of religion in the media generally better or worse (or both) than it was 25 – 30 years ago? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Unquestionably worse. To begin, let’s acknowledge that the media inevitably report more about the bad than the good news. We take for granted countless acts of charity quietly performed by religious agencies and individuals while the scandals hit page one. The following comes from an American viewpoint, though affected by circumstances in… Read more

THE QUESTION: Is it moral for a Christian to work as a spy, and in the process deceive the enemy or employ illicit sex to obtain essential information? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER explores that fascinating ethical topic, raised by a recent lead article in Providence, a young “journal of Christianity & American foreign policy.” See The journal’s cover illustration, from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1946 movie “Notorious,” showed a U.S. agent (Cary Grant) who seduces and recruits a woman (Ingrid… Read more

THE TWO QUESTIONS above have been raised online in 1) a 2018 article for a Catholic Website and 2) several 2017 Web postings, among other places. THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: That first one is easy: Aramaic. As writer Philip Koslowski stated January 21 on the international Catholic, it was the common language spoken by Jews in the 1st Century Holy Land. There’s virtually no doubt Jesus would have taught in that tongue. For one thing, the original Greek New… Read more

THE QUESTION of why Christian clergy often wear black was posed to The Religion Guy during a conversation a while ago. The thought had never occurred, so this is a good example of things we tend to take for granted and don’t hink about. Thus it makes a good “Religion Q & A” topic. (Please feel free to submit your own questions at any time by clicking above at SEND YOUR QUESTIONS IN.) THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Black is becoming… Read more

THE QUESTION:  Why did ancient Jewish leaders approve the sensuous Song of Songs (a.k.a. Song of Solomon or Canticles) as a book in the Bible? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: The biblical Song, a remarkable poetic celebration of sexual and emotional love between a man and a woman, won recent praise in The Wall Street Journal’s “Masterpiece” column, which analyzes history’s major works of art. Writer Aliora Katz commented on its cultural value: “In the time of Tinder and casual hookups,… Read more

RACHAEL’S QUESTION: What is the significance of Jesus cursing the fig tree? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Our discussion will focus on the Gospel of Mark (11:12-14 and 20-26) rather than the briefer parallel version in Matthew (21:18-22), which most experts think was written down later. Mark records the following: Jesus was traveling with his disciples to Jerusalem, where he was to “cleanse” the Temple by driving out devious money-changers and sellers of birds for sacrifice. He was hungry and spotted… Read more

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