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By Rabbi Marc Gellman | January 10, 2014
Q: Why is there anti-semitism? What is it about the Jewish culture that causes this to occur? — B., via godsquadquestion@aol.com A: You've asked me why some people hate other people, and I wish I could answer you in a way that might both explain and end hatred of any person. I'll try, but hatred, like love, is a deep and recondite human instinct. The first explanation for hatred in general is that we're taught to hate by our families. This is the Rodgers and Hammerstein answer.
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By Rabbi Marc Gellman | January 3, 2014
Q: My ministry is bereavement for young widows and widowers. I asked one of my priests if he could speak on why people should not seek out a medium. A local medium/psychic is drawing a lot of attention. I thought I'd try to educate people on why we shouldn't seek hope by trying to contact the dead. What are your views on this topic? — K., via godsquadquestion@aol.com A: There are two basic reasons why every major religious tradition does not believe in consulting people who say they can speak to the dead.
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By Billy Graham | January 3, 2014
Q: My aunt claims to be a Christian and I'm sure she is, but she's always complaining and never seems happy about anything. In fact, her family jokes that the only thing that makes her happy is complaining. Why is she like this? Aren't Christians supposed to be joyful? — Mrs. C.G. A: Yes they are and one reason is because they know that this life — with all its imperfections and troubles — isn't all there is, but ahead of us is heaven. Why, then, should we spend our time complaining?
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By Billy Graham | December 27, 2013
Q: I don't mean to be irreverent, but heaven sounds kind of boring to me, and I'm not sure I even want to go there when I die. And anyway, I suspect most of my friends will be in the other place and having a good time, just like they do now. — S.H. A: I'm sorry if you've gotten the impression that heaven will be boring, because the opposite is the case! Heaven instead will be far more fascinating than anything we'll ever experience on this Earth. For one thing, God will have work for us to do. Unlike our work on Earth, however, it will never be monotonous or dull, nor will we grow tired or weary.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | December 27, 2013
My end-of-the-year report on Tommy: Fr. Tom Hartman, my pal and former partner in all the God Squad stuff, including this column, is still suffering with Parkinson's disease. He lives in a nursing home, where the people love him and care for him. Both his hands are stiff and he's in a wheelchair. He has trouble remembering things and even greater difficulty communicating, but I know what he means just by looking in his eyes. I always barge into Tommy's room or his floor yelling, "I am Rabbi Marc Gellman, and I am Father Tom Hartman and we are...the God Squad.
NEWS
By Billy Graham | December 20, 2013
Q: A family in our apartment complex comes from a country that isn't Christian. Do you think they'd be offended if we asked them for Christmas dinner? We don't know them very well, but I can tell they're kind of lonely. — Mrs. E.N. A: I seriously doubt if they would be offended. In fact, they might be honored to be invited into an American home. The Bible says, "Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality" (Romans 12:13). At the same time, ask God to help you to be sensitive to them and their customs.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | December 20, 2013
I love Christmas. I love Christmas the way a friend who loves you, but has not been raised like you, loves it. I don't want Christmas to be my holiday, but in America it must be partly my holiday because of the way Christmas washes over its theological banks and changes America for the better. I'm happy to love Christmas the way all of us should learn to love those holidays that are great but not ours. I love Christmas the way some Christians I know love Passover. Every year, when he was well, my dearest friend, Fr. Tom Hartman, came to my house for Passover, and he ate everything but the horseradish.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | December 13, 2013
Q: I'm a physicist without religious conviction, but I'm very interested in religion and I've read a good deal about some faiths. One of my favorite things to read is your column each week. Here's my question: Modern physics and astronomy have estimated that there are some 250,000 so-called "Cinderella planets" in the Milky Way alone. These are planets with the right conditions for having liquid water, and thus might be capable of supporting life, perhaps even "intelligent" life. What do the major god-based religions say about this possibility of intelligent life on other planets?
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By Billy Graham | December 13, 2013
Q: I know I shouldn't get upset when people criticize me, but I just can't help it. Even when I know they're wrong, it still upsets me and sends me into an emotional tailspin. How can I learn to handle criticism? — Mrs. M.S. A: I doubt if anyone likes to be criticized, particularly when they know it isn't deserved. (That's one reason, incidentally, why we should be very careful about criticizing others.) The Bible condemns those who have "tongues as sharp as a serpent's; the poison of vipers is on their lips" (Psalm 140:3)
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By Billy Graham | December 6, 2013
Q: I'm already depressed about Christmas. Last year, we resolved not to spend as much money or get so busy, but I can already tell that it's not going to happen. How we can make Christmas what it ought to be, instead of this rat race? — Mrs. E.W.J. A: I suspect countless readers feel exactly like you do; the holiday season has become so busy and so commercialized that we hardly have time to stop and think about its true meaning. But it shouldn't be this way, nor does it need to be. You can still take steps to make this Christmas a less stressful and more spiritual time.
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