What actually happens to those people who "die" and come back? And what can they tell us about the life that might awaits us after death, and the importance of life in the hear and now?
First, let me start by saying that I don't think Christians suck! I am proud to be a Christian and there's nothing erroneous about it. Other than the fact that, it's real hard. But I don't think that makes it suck.
I saw you enter the Sunday morning service recently at a Manhattan parish. You were a few moments late and sat down as the congregation began to sing the Gloria. I watched carefully and wondered if you were real. Had a married gay couple really come to worship at a Roman Catholic Church?
Here, on every surface of Earth, man has planted his foot, physical or otherwise. We have morphed from quest to conquest with frightening success, as our numbers increase exponentially, mindlessly spreading.
He orders everyone in the empire -- under pain of death -- to make sacrifices to idols of the Roman gods, figuring the Christians wouldn't do it. He was right, they wouldn't. And so the lions got some meaty meals.
The changes over time in the numbers claiming a religious affiliation should be seen as, first and foremost, a change in perception of what affiliation is socially acceptable and useful. Such a change, then, may be less about shifts in practice and belief than social perception and pressure.
These truths might not be popular, especially among people who like to stay busy and cyclists who like to travel in groups and draft behind one another. But they are insights that could only be gained by several days in a ditch, ER and hospital -- my own school of hard knocks.
Whether it's the Bible or the Constitution, every document written by human beings was written in a context, at a specific historic time, and is based on the level of consciousness of those who wrote them. Whether or not you think they are dictated by God, they are still fallible. How could that be?
"To (millennials), 'religion' means 'Republican,' 'intolerant,' and 'homophobic, since those traits do not represent their views, they do not see themselves -- or wish to be seen by their peers -- as religious."
It's high time we got practical and selfish about volunteering the way we have about every other aspect of our selfie-obsessed existence.
We know that journalism can impact attitudes and action. But it's rare to get concrete proof of that, as I did recently after publishing a blog post about the anti-Semitic content of traditional Good Friday performances of Passion plays and Passion musical compositions, many dating back to the Middle Ages.
When a big old star runs out of fuel, it collapses of its own weight. That's what appears to be happening to Christianity, at least in the advanced countries where it once dominated.
The way to prevent further disenchantment with organized religion among young people is for religious leaders and laypeople alike to sever the exclusive link between religion and conservative politics in the United States.
If you're headed out the door this morning in a suit or a chic outfit, and if you're under the age of 92, I can say with absolute certainly, that it is not Sunday and that you're not going to church.
The reality is that there is no Christian persecution in the United States. Not being allowed to discriminate based on completely self-professed and arbitrary "sincerely held religious beliefs" is not an example of persecution. Having the only federal religious holiday be Christmas is a characteristic of a group granted special privileges by civil society.
Part of that comes from the scandals the media love to feed on like a carcass any time one emerges. But another is because we leave so many with a bitter taste in their mouths with our recruitment (read: evangelism) techniques.