The veneration of saints is a very old tradition in Christianity. Many Christians cannot imagine their religion without appealing to saints for guidance, protection, healing and intercession. Less concerned with theological correctness, people seek the company of saints out of loneliness, hardship, sickness, fear, guilt, or disappointment.
“No doubt equality of goods is just; but, being unable to cause might to obey justice, men have made it just to obey might. Unable to strengthen justice, they have justified might; so that the just and the strong should unite, and there should be peace, which is the sovereign good....” (Blaise Pascal, Thoughts)
In the famous realist novel A Journal of the Plague Year, Daniel Defoe blends the factual with the imaginary, describing the social context just before the great plague struck London in 1665. Among the reactions described, two straddle the line between religion and conspiracy.
Actress and television presenter Jenny McCarthy, a prominent figure in the anti-vaccine movement, commented in March 2010 that according to a Time magazine article, experts claim that vaccines do not cause autism, do not harm children, and are a critical aspect of modern public health. McCarthy dismissed the claims as untrue and expressed frustration at their persistence.
The hues of the rainbow, once considered the seal of peace between God and humanity in the Bible, have, in just a few years, become the symbol of an ideological conflict among people in a society where the “shame axis” spins according to the dictates of the public agenda.
"With architecture we build buildings, with mechanics we build machines; is there no place among the sciences for one dedicated to human beings? Ethics is capable of working out the principles according to which a person must be 'built' in order to be truly human" (Traian Herseni).
Regular reading of the Bible in childhood is a strong predictor of spiritual health in adulthood. If instilling a love for the Bible is a crucial factor in religious education, parents need to develop methods to reinforce a habit that keeps children on the desired spiritual trajectory.
It was 1984 when hospitals in southern China were besieged by young people in a state of extreme agitation. Thousands of people, of both sexes, were suffering from panic attacks accompanied by fear of death because of the overwhelming belief that their sexual organs were retracting and disappearing, or that their nipples were retracting into their breasts.
Although grief is a universal experience, we respond differently to its onslaught, so it's no wonder that words meant to comfort often add more suffering to an already heavy burden.
John the Baptist's call—"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near"—succeeded in bringing Jews "from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan" to the desert where the prophet preached, to confess their sins and be baptised. Two thousand years later, the exhortation to "repent" is buried under a mountain of pejorative associations.
For the average punter, rugby league had its beginnings in a school at Rugby, England, when one William Webb Ellis, “with fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time at Rugby school, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the rugby game.”
There are days, maybe even years, that go by without us seriously questioning the meaning of our lives or whether anything we have left behind has made anybody's life better. We are afraid of an answer because it might require us to change. For John Wood, the answer came out of nowhere, in a school in the wilds of Nepal.
From an early age, we are bombarded with messages telling us to stand out, to make something of ourselves, to do something great with our lives. Many times the voices are religious in nature: God has great plans for us, He will do truly remarkable things with our lives.
More than a collection of information, beyond its role as a guide, the Bible is where we have a redemptive encounter with the One who holds the keys to eternal life.