Was Christian Communion celebrated on the moon?

DAVID ASKS:Do you know if it's true Christian Communion was celebrated during the first moon landing?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:Yes. And that Apollo 11 Communion followed a related event on Christmas Eve of 1968 during Apollo 8's first manned flight to the moon. The earlier flight didn't attempt a lunar landing but the astronauts transmitted a breathtaking live telecast of moon photographs while in orbit.Then William Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman took turns reading the … [Read More...]

Bible puzzler: Why did God spurn Cain’s offering?

JANE ASKS:Why did God spurn Cain's offering?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:Some weeks ago our blog treated the classic Bible question of where Cain, Adam and Eve's first son, found his wife. In response, The Guy received this about another Cain puzzler from the Book of Genesis, chapter 4.Here's the story from  "Genesis: Translation and Commentary" (Norton, 1996), a euphonious (look it up) rendition by Robert Alter. Cain was "a tiller of the soil" who "brought from the fruit of the soil … [Read More...]

Who makes what claims to Jerusalem’s Temple site?

IRA ASKS:Both Jews and Muslims lay religious claim to Jerusalem's Temple Mount / Noble Sanctuary, which has long been at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What is the basis of their competing claims?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:This uniquely and deeply revered religious site in the eastern sector of Jerusalem's Old City is called the Temple Mount by Jews and the Haram al-Sharif ("Noble Sanctuary") by Muslims. Smithsonian magazine says this tract "has seen more momentous … [Read More...]

What does the Bible teach about polygamy?

THE RELIGION GUY SAYS nobody has yet posted a question about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. "Mormon" or "LDS") acknowledging delicate details about founding Prophet Joseph Smith's polygamy, but The Guy decided he ought to examine the classic matter of how the Bible views polygamy.Smith declared that God was simply using him to restore "plural marriage" (the church prefers that term to "polygamy") that was divinely inspired in the Old Testament. A major interpretive … [Read More...]

Why does the creed say Jesus “descended into hell”?

LISA ASKS:What do Christians say happened during [Jesus'] "descent into hell," and do most denominations believe this happened?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:This week, as every week, uncountable millions of Christians attending church will profess that Jesus Christ "was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again from the dead..."  So states the venerable Apostles' Creed, which includes a cryptic "descent" phrase about the period between Good … [Read More...]

What explains Hollywood’s “holy movie” picks?

KIRSTEN ASKS:I wonder why I cannot think of any movies with stories from the Torah, Quran, or other holy texts. Are there any in the works?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:There's considerable mystery about Hollywood and "holy movies." Why are they often amateurish or offer ham-handed derision toward beliefs and believers? Why do few high-quality movies respect religion despite the large potential audience? Showbiz wised up a bit when Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" (2004) scored … [Read More...]

A Bible oldie: Who was Cain’s wife?

LIBBY ASKS:If human origins began with one couple, Adam and Eve, how did Cain find a wife?THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS:The famous biblical story of Cain, history's first murderer, includes this old Bible head-scratcher about who his wife could have been. Genesis 4 tells of Cain's birth, agricultural vocation, rivalry and killing of his younger brother Abel. God curses Cain to wanderings and hard toil in the fields, yet mercifully grants a mysterious "mark" for protection against those … [Read More...]

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...]