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By Bruce Gleason | July 9, 2011
I'm all in favor of people believing anything they want — except when their behavior affects others in a negative way. To believe in any of the "big three" Abrahamic religions, you have to accept several tenets. You have to believe in supernatural miracles; that God can't make any mistakes; that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent; and that God gave us a "soul" to name a few. Exactly when the soul enters the body — if it exists at all — is up for grabs. And if you ask any of the 36,000 Christian sects in America, you'll find different ideas on not only what a soul is, but when believers think it enters their body.
By Bruce Gleason | April 13, 2012
"Coming out" as an atheist can be a risky proposition. Friends might be confused about why you don't believe in a deity. You might even lose some. I know because I have. But were they friends to begin with if they rejected who you really are? Maybe not. Everyone knows an atheist, most everyone respects an atheist, but they are unaware that the person sitting next to them is an atheist. Some people call themselves agnostic. But we're talking about belief here, and Gnosticism has to do with what we know.
By Mona Shadia | July 18, 2012
Ramadan starts Thursday night (insert multiple happy faces here). You would think that because I will be refraining from eating and drinking for about 15 hours a day for the next month, I would be dreading the arrival of Islam's holiest month. You would think that because I'll be cutting down on my nights out with my friends, and, instead, devoting more of my time to praying and reexamining my priorities, I would be a little bummed out. But when it comes to Ramadan, frankly, I can forget the food, the drinks, even the parties.
By Rabbi Gellman | January 13, 2012
Question: How can one's belief and/or faith have any influence whatsoever regarding what either is or is not absolute truth and/or reality? Isn't the kind of reality or truth you speak of more like the reality and truth of Santa Claus? Certainly, our beliefs and our faiths influence our behavior, but aren't you saying that our beliefs essentially create the reality of God in our lives? If so, then are you also willing to say that without these beliefs, God ceases to exist? More directly, does God have any separate existence apart from our beliefs?
June 21, 2008
Radio broadcast veteran Warren Duffy will speak at St. James Anglican Church at 7 p.m. Wednesday as part of the church’s “Steadfast in Faith” lecture series. For a decade, afternoon drive-time radio listeners in Southern California tuned in to hear the daily talk program “Duffy and Company — Live From L.A.” A free dinner will be served before the lecture at 6 p.m. Offerings will be accepted at the event. St. James Anglican Church is at 3209 Via Lido.
By Sarah Halverson | October 23, 2010
On Wednesday, in a stand against the bullying of lesbian and gay children, people all over the world wore purple. It was interesting to see who donned the royal shade. I took note at our inter-faith luncheon, at the grocery store, even as I was driving and observing those walking on the street. Suddenly, I was keenly aware of people all around me. This was a visual code to signify support and safety. I felt instantly close to people I did not know. This simple sign demonstrated a commitment to stand against hatred and violence, and stand in support of gay children — indeed people — everywhere.
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | January 28, 2011
Question: I lost my 22-year-old daughter to a possible heroin overdose. I won't have the answers until the medical examiner's office speaks to me in a few weeks. I found her on the floor of her bedroom. A syringe was found in her bed. She'd recently come home from rehab. While she'd only been back a month, I thought we were doing all right. Relapse was always a concern, but I never thought I'd lose her. I spoke to her that morning. She was excited about a job interview and we were getting a Christmas tree that afternoon.
By Michael Alexander | July 29, 2008
Members of mega-church Harvest Christian Fellowship were surprised this weekend by the sight of grief-stricken Pastor Greg Laurie, a Newport Beach resident, who took the pulpit despite the very recent death of his son, Christopher Laurie. “It was not a distant relationship,” Greg Laurie said. “Thankfully I don’t have to sit around worrying he didn’t know I loved him. He knew I loved him.” Laurie, 33, a graphic artist and Huntington Beach resident who spent the last three years as the church’s art director, died the morning of July 24 in a car accident in Corona, according to authorities.
June 9, 2001
Young Chang An unexpected moment of thoughtfulness was all it took to get author Dale Salwak started on his new book, "Faith and the Family." It happened in his hometown of Amherst, Mass. He was staring at the outside of the home his father had built, and memories rushed back. The first time he saw a magician -- at age 5 -- and the first magic show he ever did. His parents hired him for his own birthday party and paid him $2 for a 30-minute show.
January 23, 2005
Rick Devereux Faith is a strange thing. Most people have it when it is useless and lose it when they are in most need of it. No one needs faith when things are going well, it might seem. But despair sets in once the tide shifts and faith is gone. But not Bob Lussier. He has faith even when Job of the Bible would start to have doubts. Lussier, 42, grew up in Fountain Valley and was on the high school football and track and field teams.
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | February 28, 2014
Q: If God created the heavens, the Earth, all creatures and man in seven days, where do the dinosaurs fit in? We know from the fossil record that man and dinosaurs were segregated by millennia.— K., via cyberspace A: I've wanted to write about evolution, creationism and intelligent design for some time, so thank you for your abiding interest in the Bible and dinosaurs that offers me this opportunity. Young-Earth creationists believe that the world was, indeed, created in just seven days some 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. This falls 4.5 billion years short of the actual age of the Earth, and 65 million years short of the actual age of the dinosaurs.
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | December 6, 2013
Q: Your recent answer about displaying religious holiday decorations was a little confusing. You said it's all right to display a Christmas tree, but not a manger? Easter bunnies, but not a cross? If you're in favor of every faith having equal billing and everyone being able to share their beliefs, they why not the most precious religious symbols of those holidays? I work in a large university setting, and our campus proudly displays a menorah and a manger scene. Christmas trees are nice, but they aren't true reminders of what the holiday stands for. I'm not offended by other cultures and religions, and I think we owe it to one another to be tolerant and understand others' points of view.
By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times | October 2, 2013
The stocky man with a goatee walks across the darkened parking lot of the motel and bangs on the door to Room 156. Greg Reese rehearses his lines. The door opens. The girl inside is wearing black lingerie and looks like she did in the online ad that caught his eye - a teenager using the name Candy Green in a bathtub filled with bubbles. "Ready to have some fun," it promised. The girl is all business: $100 for a date, she says, standing in the room with bright blue carpeting and crumpled white sheets.
By Billy Graham | September 27, 2013
Q: I feel like God has abandoned me. I've had three close relatives die in the past few months, and now I just got word that my aunt, who's been almost like a second mother to me, has inoperable cancer. Why is God doing this to me? — Mrs. C.G. A: In all honesty, when things like this touch our lives, we seldom know why God has allowed them to happen. Job in the Old Testament declared, "Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). But God has not abandoned you!
By Jim de Boom | September 10, 2013
This year will mark the first year of a 9/11 memorial focused on interfaith compassion and community building. Interfaith communities will gather at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 23 Lake Road, Irvine, for an evening of sacred text, musical performances and prayers sponsored by the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council, according to Farrah Khan, event chair. Participants include the Rev. Julie Elkins, president of the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council; Acharya Mahadevanji, Rameshwaram Chinmaya Mission; the Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church Choir; Rabbi Susan Conforti, Hoag Hospital; John Gremer, St. John Neumann Catholic Church; Sikh Women Now, Gurdwara; Jill Lutz, president of the Irvine Stake, Church of Latter-day Saints; the Rev. Dr. Paul Tellstrom, Irvine United Congregational Church; and Shaykh Jamaal Diwan, Islamic Center of Irvine.
By Alicia Lopez | August 14, 2013
The answer is, he loves it - it probably helps that people seem to think he's pretty good at it - and wants to share the peace he's found in his faith with those who will listen. But in the end, Pastor Greg Laurie said he shares his time among the Harvest Crusade, his home ministries in Riverside and Irvine, his duties as a police chaplain for Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, and the pretty-much-always-on-call nature of his work because he loves it. So the question, of course, is why do so much?
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | August 2, 2013
Q: When I was young and in Catholic schools half a century ago, we were taught that those who gave their lives for our religion were saints. Do you think those who die for their faith, even suicide bombers, will spend eternity in the presence of God? Stated differently, do you think God would see this as the most fervent way of demonstrating faith? We may think they are wrong, but they think, even more strongly, that we are! — A., via A: Are you seriously asking me if God is pleased with the piety of terrorists?
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | March 15, 2013
The good news is that I did not swear an oath of secrecy. The bad news is that I don't know anything about what went on in the Sistine Chapel and I'm not Catholic. However, my best friend is a priest and I remember tenderly joking with Father Tom Hartman that if he was ever elected pope, he would choose as his pope name Pope John Paul George Ringo. Seriously, as a Jew I love the Catholic Church, and I offer my joyous blessings with a full heart and hopeful thoughts to the new pontiff, Pope Francis, from Buenos Aires.
By June Casagrande | March 15, 2013
Most of what you think you know about grammar is wrong. That's the title of a recent Smithsonian magazine article by Patricia T. O'Conner and Stewart Kellarman. It's also destined to be my first tattoo. Just about every week, I spend several hours explaining to people that some beloved teacher, parent or grandparent pumped their heads full of hogwash. As a result, much of what they think they know about grammar is wrong. A tattoo saying as much would help me dispense with the long explanations.
By The Rev. Dr. Sarah Halverson | December 21, 2012
As I reflect upon the coming of Christmas and all that has led up to it, I cannot help but yearn to experience the miracle once again. Advent demands that we look at the darkness of our world so that we can prepare our eyes to find the light. With last week's horrific shooting still raw, it seems the darkness is even darker than we could have imagined. The cultural Christmas we've created for ourselves, where the season's colors are red and green — the red "Sale" sign and the green dollar — is not enough.
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