December 7, 2018

THE QUESTION:  Handel’s oratorio “Messiah,” so frequently heard at Christmastime, is probably the most-performed and most-beloved piece of great music ever written. What explains this long-running appeal? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Underlying this theme is the poignant reality that our culture and many of its churches are gradually losing historical moorings that include the excellent fine arts created in former times. So how and why does “Messiah,” which  exemplifies the “classical” musical style and faith of 276 years ago, so… Read more

November 24, 2018

THE QUESTION: What do today’s U.S. Protestants believe about the use of alcoholic beverages? Have attitudes softened? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Yes, without question. And there’s been a bit of soul-searching about this in America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. Its press service reports ongoing concern especially about teen alcohol abuse has increased somewhat since recent Senate testimony about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Catholic prep school experience. Further, just afterward “USA Today” reported a study showing from… Read more

November 9, 2018

THE QUESTION: Many archaeologists have raised skeptical questions about the Bible’s historical accounts, especially in the Old Testament. How do conservatives respond? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: A September headline in London’s tabloid Daily Express proclaimed a “Bible Bombshell,” with “stunning new evidence that could prove” Joshua’s invasion of the Holy Land following the Exodus from Egypt. However, in the article the archaeologists involved, David Ben-Shlomo of Israel’s Ariel University and Ralph Hawkins of Averett University in Virginia, gave only carefully framed… Read more

October 26, 2018

PAUL’S QUESTION: Can “evangelicals” and “charismatics” worship together? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Ah, those “worship wars” that have so roiled and reshaped U.S. Protestant churches this past half-century. The questioner, a music teacher, has attended “evangelical” churches with relatively “traditional” worship compared with the “contemporary” style associated especially with “charismatic” churches. “We’ve gone through a monumental shift of style in our lifetime, which has never happened before,” says Ed Stetzer of Wheaton College (Illinois). Music is only part of the… Read more

October 12, 2018

THE QUESTION above, and current developments depicted below, involve skeptics’ long-running assertion that modern science makes religion outmoded and it should be discarded as irrational. Is faith still credible in our scientific age? How do devout scientists view this supposed “war” between science and religion? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Gary Saul Morson, a Russia expert at Northwestern University, offers an important analysis of why the purportedly “scientific” — and horridly bloodthirsty — Soviet regime worked zealously to exterminate all religion… Read more

September 29, 2018

NORMAN’S QUESTION: Do the Old and New Testaments belong together? (Commenting from a stance critical toward Christians, Norman adds that ignorance of history underlies their “comfortable view that the Bible is one and that there is no problem between the Old and New Testaments.”) THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This classic and complex theme is erupting anew thanks to a U.S. Protestant megachurch pastor cited below. Also, churches have long faced strife over the authority and interpretation of the Old Testament… Read more

September 7, 2018

THE QUESTION: Should national flags be displayed, or patriotic songs be sung, during Christian worship? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This issue comes to mind amid the seasonal fuss over professional football players’ political protests during the pregame National Anthem. Not to mention veterans organizations’ indignation when non-veteran Donald Trump temporarily refused to lower the White House flag to half-staff in honor of the late prisoner of war John McCain. Considering the emotions in such secular situations, it’s unsurprising that the… Read more

August 25, 2018

THE QUESTION: When was the New Testament’s Book of Acts written and why does it matter? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: This topic cropped up recently when The Guy visited the adult Bible class at a prominent Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation. Participants are taught that the Book of Acts, which depicts the three decades directly following Jesus Christ’s earthly life, was written between 110 and 120 A.D., a generation later than scholars’ consensus. Does that seem a trivial technicality? “A good… Read more

August 11, 2018

THE QUESTION:  Are various religions good for individuals and for society even if, as skeptics contend, their beliefs are not really true? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Time for a skepticism update. Never before in history has there been such a concerted effort to question the value of religious faith like we now see across the West’s free societies (as distinct from artificially enforced atheism under Communist tyrannies). For instance, the common conviction that religion is important for shaping youngsters’ morals… Read more

July 26, 2018

ELEANOR’S QUESTION: Is it sinful for Catholics to attend a wedding between a Catholic and a Jew, performed by a rabbi? THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: No. But there’s much more to be said about how Catholicism views interfaith marriages. (The church is more open on this than those who adhere to Jewish tradition, as we’ll discuss below.) An official U.S. Catholic Web site says that till recent decades “the idea of a Catholic marrying outside the faith was practically unheard… Read more

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