What do we know about the Jewish leader who buried Jesus?

JACK’S QUESTION: What do we know about Joseph of Arimathea? Have scholars learned anything more about him than what is said in the Gospels? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: The man who buried Jesus is a timely topic for Christians’ Holy Week. The quick response is that lots of stuff about Joseph of Arimathea is floating [Read More…]

Did later Christians change what Jesus’ earliest followers believed about him?

NORMAN’S QUESTION: Why do an overwhelming number of Christians believe (or say they believe) things about Jesus that were not believed by his earliest followers in Jerusalem, led by his brother James? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This important question results from the previous Q and A item, which summarized central teaching about Jesus Christ that [Read More…]

How are Orthodox Christians organized, and why?

DAVID ASKS: Most of us in the U.S. are aware of Orthodox Christians but don’t really understand their organization. Can you expand on their split around the world? THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS: Our previous Q and A about Islam’s founding Sunni – Shi’a split mentioned divisions within Orthodox Christianity. Orthodoxy, which means “correct teaching,” sees [Read More…]

Sunni vs. Shi’a Muslims: What? Why? Where? How many?

JIM ASKS: Muslims in the U.S.: Sunni or Shi’a? And a second reader asks about the two groups’ numbers and over-all relationship on the international level. THE RELIGION GUY ANSWERS: This two-sided split underlies the increasingly dangerous Mideast rivalry between a rising Shi’a axis under revolutionary Iran and a bloc led by Saudi Arabia with [Read More…]

Bible puzzler: Did John write the Gospel of John?

PATRICIA’S QUESTION: Who do you think authored the Fourth Gospel? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This follows up on our December 10 item about whether the apostle John wrote the Bible’s Book of Revelation. The Religion Guy will report what some experts say, not what a mere journalist thinks. The full question from seminary graduate Patricia [Read More…]

What’s the Jesus Movement’s impact 45 years later?

JOSH’S QUERY: [Referring to “Time” magazine’s 1971 cover story on the youthful “Jesus Revolution”]  A lot has happened since then — culturally, religiously, movement-wise — and I’d be fascinated to see you revisit your journalistic and theological mind. THE RELIGION GUY’S RESPONSE: This interests Josh because his parents were members of Love Inn, which typified [Read More…]

What are the ins and outs — mostly ins — of the Internet’s Bible Gateway?”

HEATHER’S QUESTION: I don’t see the New Revised Standard Version in my biblegateway.com app. Do you have any idea why it’s excluded? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This specific topic is quick and easy, so the Guy will use the space and occasion to provide broader information about the quite remarkable www.biblegateway.com (hereafter BG), billed as [Read More…]

Why do certain Muslims still practice beheading?

TERRY’S QUESTION: What is it with Muslims and beheadings? Where does that come from? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Islam has no hesitation about capital punishment when proper legal procedures are observed and death is hudud (mandatory) under Sharia (religious law). Traditionally this covers such infractions as murder, adultery, homosexual activity, political rebellion, and apostasy, including [Read More…]

Who was “Theophilus,” that New Testament man of mystery?

RACHAEL’S  QUESTION:   Luke addressed the books of Luke and Acts to Theophilus, but who is he?   THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Theophilus is a very important person in the New Testament, yet we know next to nothing about him.  If, that is, he was an actual person at all rather than some sort of [Read More…]

“Can we be good without God?”

MARY’S QUESTION: Is a belief in God essential to morality? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Many online articles carry that above headline so Mary’s question is a classic, one seen in this little incident: A traditional Nativity scene is being moved away from Nebraska’s state capitol for Christmas week 2015 to make way for atheists’ “Reason [Read More…]