Author: smcintos

The Great Resignation: Are you ready to quit?

Do you know anyone who is quitting their job? Are you? There is an epidemic of quitting to do something else, these days. Some people just want out of their job, others want a new job, and many want a new life. I was talking to a relative of mine, a few days ago, and I saw this new trend in his life. He was a manager, in a small city, but then his company downsized and they let him go. They let many of their managers and staff go, so he got a severance package. He is a young man, with a wife and two children, and he never wants to go back to his old job. That business didn’t work for him. Now, he has a new job, and he seems to be busy in it. Possibly his salary went down a bit, but he doesn’t mind. When I visited, he showed me his room for ‘what he loved the most.’ This man loves guitars, and his basement office is now a shop …

COVID Anger: Is hated of anti-vaxxers the new racism?

I know people who are really afraid for their futures. Their ideas may sound like a conspiracy theory, but they believe that a new intolerance is coming on us. The official orthodoxy is that everyone should get vaccinated, and disagreement with this official position can lead to abuse and loss of freedom. The people who I know, who are really worried, are mostly opposed to vaccination for COVID. It’s like the new racial intolerance. One of the best known opponents of COVID vaccination is the musician Eric Clapton. He developed health problems after being vaccinated, and he blames the vaccine. He says that he has lost friends because of his opinions. I have seen some abusive statements aimed at Eric Clapton. READ: Eric Clapton sings ‘enough is enough’ on new COVID policy protest song ‘This Has Gotta Stop’ I should give a disclaimer here. I personally don’t want to be on one side of the argument, so I won’t give a one-sided opinion about COVID treatments. I think we should encourage open discussion about the …

Nepal: Do they have COVID too?

Do you believe something? Are you religious in any way? How are you holding on to your faith in this COVID time? Most religions do not fit with COVID restrictions. We have a neighbor who goes to church more than us. I go to church online, and I have been watching services on the Internet for a long time now. We have COVID restrictions, where we live, and they make it hard to attend church services. I miss those services, and the other people in the church. Our neighbor is a lady who goes to a church, somewhere. I don’t know the church, but she is a friend. I was embarrassed sometimes, when I talked to her because she kept going to her church, on Sundays. A few days ago I asked her about her church, and she told me she couldn’t go there anymore. She hadn’t gone to church for three weeks because of a COVID outbreak in the congregation. We are struggling here, but imagine living in a country like Nepal, in Asia. …

Near-Death Experiences: Is God telling us something?

We had a small problem yesterday. It was very small. While cleaning dust on the floor, someone bumped our Wi-Fi receiver. I think that’s what the small plastic box is called. As a result, we lost all of our Internet connections, including on television, computers and tablets. Don’t cry for me, that is definitely a first world problem, as thousands are desperate to escape death in Afghanistan, and COVID is still with us. For me, a wire came loose from a plastic box; but as a result, everything in my life changed, and I lost a lot of my contact with the world around me. Imagine the sudden loss of all Wi-Fi connections. I did wonder if God was trying to tell me something. The problem ended this morning when a technician fixed the problem and restored the connection, like it never happened. I wonder if that’s what it feels like to die. The world around me is filled with big important things and I am busy, and when a “wire comes loose” and it …

Can COVID save us from COVID? What happened to God?

I have noticed, recently, that no one wants to talk about COVID. Possibly some medical experts are still talking, but people I know talk about anything else, and they shut down COVID conversations. I just went to a family reunion, outside and with safe distancing, and the topic was dismissed whenever it came up. We are in a state of fatigue. Since I am writing about COVID, I need to give a disclaimer. I am not any kind of medical authority, and I am not giving medical advice. Any writing that can be labelled a conspiracy theory will be banned and punished, and I’m not looking for that. My plan is to refer to some reliable and respectable sources. You might be surprised at what the experts are saying these days. Medical scientists have two big concerns with COVID vaccines right now; dangerous variants and waning efficacy. Where I live, the Delta variant is the new COVID. People are getting infected and there are questions about how effective the vaccines are with the Delta variant. …

Was Christopher Hitchens right? Is religion evil?

You might know who Christopher Hitchens is, or was. He died in 2011. He was a very intelligent man, and I’m sure that debating him was an impossible task. He had a good memory for history, and he could defend his ideas aggressively. I would never want to be on a stage debating hum. Probably his best-known book is “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.” He was a militant atheist, and he was very entertaining as he spoke against religion and God. After the 9-11 attacks, he often argued against the religion of Islam. He also believed that the Christian evangelist Billy Graham was an evil liar, and he said so openly. READ: Christopher Hitchens In 2011, at the age of 62, while he was on a speaking tour, he was rushed to a hospital. The doctors discovered that he had cancer, and he died a year and a half later. His words are still with us, in books and recordings. So, was he correct? Is all religion evil? 1) He is wrong: …

Nostradamus: Did he know something about us?

Do you want to know the future? Are you concerned about the way things are going? Who isn’t? You may have noticed Internet talk about a man named Nostradamus. His full name was Michele de Nostredame, and he lived in France from 1503 to 1566. In his lifetime, he published books that seemed to predict the future. Our problem with those books, in modern times, is that his writing was poetic and cryptic, never easy to understand. Today, the writings of Nostradamus are very popular, and many people believe that he predicted the future; and they believe we are now living in those future times. Nostradamus worked as an apothecary or pharmacist, before he became famous for predicting the future. His sideline business has been described as ‘occult fortune teller’ and that is probably why Christians don’t talk about him, very much. His family was Jewish, but they converted to the Roman Catholic religion, apparently before he was born. That might be important because many Jewish people believe in the tradition of “Kabbalah” a type …

Did God give us COVID? A plague of biblical proportions

Recently, I watched a new video of a doctor who disagreed with the Government. Where I live, The government has followed instructions and vaccinated large numbers of people against COVID. After achieving a successful number of vaccinations, they told us about their success, and lifted most restrictions and the way we live. We can now visit friends and go to church. Even infected people are free to travel. The doctor was furious, because he believes people are now in danger. If you want to see the interview, the link is here: I don’t want to argue with a doctor. He was very emotional when he talked about the dangers of COVID, and not always easy to understand. He thinks the government has made a mistake. Now there are rumors that people from our area will be restricted when they travel to other places. Some people believe that vaccines won’t protect us enough and we need to stay isolated. It’s ugly out there. And there are stories about demonstrations and possibly riots against COVID restrictions, in …

Islamophobia: What is the lesson for us?

What do you think when you hear the word “Islamophobia?” This is a new word, and it refers to prejudice and dislike of Muslims. Recently, in Canada, the government held a summit on the topic of Islamophobia. I should give a disclaimer here. The conference was about the religion of Islam, and I am a Christian. I remember a song when I was younger, with these words: “Jesus is the answer, for the world today. Above him there’s no other, Jesus is the way.” That is a good description of what I believe. I will give a link to that song, below. The old saying is ‘If you don’t play the game, you can’t make the rules.’ That applies to me. Imagine if I gave advice about what Jewish people should have done to resist their persecutors. That would be offensive. I am an outsider looking on from a distance. So, what can we say about Islamophobia? The conference came and went quickly, and most people missed the information. There was also a conference just …

Human Origins: What are scientists saying about cave men?

A few stories get into the news, and stay there. Right now, that is mostly COVID and vaccinations, and violence in South Africa, and you can add to the list … We are flooded with news stories, all day and every day, and it’s impossible to keep up. In all the news-noise, it’s easy to miss some interesting stories. For example; did you know that “Just 7 percent of our DNA is unique to modern humans”? I expect that busy people everywhere will skip that piece of news. It’s more important to argue about a pandemic, or violence in the streets. What we might miss is something about God, and how we got here. If there is a God, and if we can live under His care, our problems become smaller. If we are evolved from something that formed when lightning struck an ancient pond filled with mineral water, we have to cope on our own, somehow. That is not a small story. Recently, some scientists published research about human evolution. They have evidence that …

What happened to religion? Does anyone believe?

I was raised in a very religious family. As a teenager, in a tough high school, I tried being a member of the tribe. We had a co-ed physed class, and I remember sitting out for the dance lessons. The teacher made me sit in the bleachers and watch, and my friends thought I was strange, but I thought I was holding up the flag for my faith. In our home, we were never allowed to go to dances. I tried to keep my strict religion because I thought it was important. My friends were OK with my strange habits, and they had their own family traditions. People believed in religion in those days, more than they do today, and we tried to live out the beliefs of our families. As we got older, it seemed like we cared less and less and everyone was busy with important things. After a while I stopped caring. Now I understand how someone could become an atheist. I also understand how someone could follow Jesus. I started my …

Those burning churches: Who should we blame?

I was in an online discussion group that I join sometimes, and one man from Russia joined us. Most of us live in Canada, and the Russian man was very unhappy that a church had been burned, close to where I live. That’s what he knew about us. I looked up the news story, and I am surprised. An old and historic Catholic church was burned, in a town called Morinville. I know the town well and I have driven past that old church many times. Many leaders have spoken against the church burning. There has also been a request for the Pope to apologize: READ: Politicians, Indigenous leaders say burning churches not the way to get justice It is easy to understand the concern. The news story about children buried near their boarding schools was carefully managed. Someone has been gathering evidence for months, and probably for years. When they had the right information, they chose the time and method to publish what they had found. I’m not criticizing them, I respect their skill …

COVID and gaslighting: Who are we really?

Sometimes we learn something, and we don’t know how important it is until much later. That happened to me, years ago, and I am only learning the truth now. Someone told me how to argue. I was told: Don’t attack the person Don’t attack their ideas Don’t attack the people they associate with. Always criticize the way they communicate. I now know that is true. In our modern world, we don’t like this advice. We like to say things like: “You’re such a stupid …” or “That’s a crazy conspiracy theory and …” or “The people who think like that are …” To really make this work, make critical comments sound like jokes. We are all terrified that people might laugh at us. When we communicate like that, we are wrong. The way we communicate makes us wrong, and we lose the argument, and we usually don’t see this truth. We feel like winners when we scare off the other people. If we will hear it, we are directed in another way: “Let every person …

Muslims and Christians: Did one of ours kill some of theirs?

Recently, a young man drove his pickup truck at a high speed, and drove into a family that was walking on a summer day. Four adults were killed, except for one survivor, a young boy who was badly injured. The whole family was Muslim, originally from Pakistan, and that was obvious by their appearance. They were attacked because they were identified as Muslims. In the world, the number of Muslims is almost two billion, 1.8 billion, and this incident is being reported everywhere. This all happened in a peaceful country, Canada, in a very quiet part of that country, London, Ontario. The family probably felt very safe walking in London on a summer day. The young man, who drove the truck, was arrested, and now he is being charged with a hate crime. READ: Terror charges against London, Ont attack suspect could be Canadian legal milestone At this time, people who knew the young man are surprised that he did this. He had issues with his mental health, but otherwise there is nothing in his …

Those dead children in the Kamloops residential school: One Lesson

You might have heard about a mass grave discovered in a residential school, in Canada. Recently, technicians with ground penetrating radar found something near a school at the city of Kamloops, BC. An investigation will confirm what they found, but the claim is that the searchers found the bodies of 215 children. The school was for native children “Indians” and the children were taken from their families, to the school, to adapt their behavior to modern society. The children were taken from their families by government order. The school in Kamloops was run by the Roman Catholic Church, for the Government. The school opened in 1890 and closed almost ninety years later. There are many rumors, and we don’t know what really happened. The investigations will continue, probably for years. We don’t know yet what the radar scanners found in the ground. There are old rumors of abuse of young students, in the school. It is obvious that before the time of modern medicine, with antibiotics and vaccines, and modern hospitals, children could die in …

A lesson to learn from pornography in video games: What do we really want?

What does a rich man want after he has everything he needs? More. We humans need to know who we are, and pornography can teach us that. I learned a lesson recently, when I found a video on the Internet, about problems with video games. Apparently, there are censorship organizations that restrict excess behaviour in video games. READ: Video Game Censorship I don’t play video games, although there was a time when I enjoyed flinging Angry Birds across the computer screen at other little animals. It was addicting. I watched the information video, out of curiosity, and I learned something about us. We like to mix good and bad; we like to do the wrong thing to get us to the right place; and we lie to ourselves. Those are all different views of the same thing. I was surprised to learn one thing about video games. When we can do anything, when we can go bad without restraints, we like to kill each other. Sometimes we settle for injure and torture. I used to …

Is COVID Vaccine the Mark of the Beast?

I have been surprised by something, recently. People who never seemed religious are now talking about Bible prophecy, and quoting Bible verses. I found someone watching an Internet video about the Bible, and what it says about our future. They seemed interested in what they were learning. One name keeps getting mentioned “The Mark of the Beast.” You might have noticed that this mark is somehow connected to COVID vaccinations, for some people. So, what is that ‘Mark’? The last book of the Christian Bible is called the “Revelation” and it refers to the Apocalypse. That word means “unveiling” and the picture is of a cloth cover being pulled away to show what is hidden. The future is unveiled. In the book of Revelation, a man named John had visions while he was a prisoner on a penal colony island called Patmos. He was a persecuted Christian, as an old man, and he wrote his visions down for us, including something about that ‘Mark of the Beast.’ John started with one vision where he heard …

COVID and Evolution – What is wrong with this picture?

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution gave us a universe with no God, and no possibility that God could exist. If life started by accident, probably in a drop of water, and then evolved to become many species, there is no place for God in the story. And this story is taught to us and our children in most of the world. This is not a small thing. Most people believe in some divine being or force, and science tells us we are wrong. What should a believer do? There is an old question that is interesting to evolutionists: ‘Why do we have an appendix?’ That tiny organ in our bodies has no known purpose, and it is dangerous when it becomes infected. Probably someone has an answer to the question, or at least a good theory. Another question that we should answer is: ‘Why do we have appendicitis?’ If we are the end product of millions or billions of years of evolution, why do we have such frail bodies? If doctors didn’t remove inflamed appendixes, people …

Israel and Gaza: Is this Armageddon?

Do you remember life two years ago? It’s blurry in my memory. If someone said COVID or words like Astra Zeneca, we might have guessed they were speaking another language. Then, a pandemic came on us, and life has not been the same. We are told that change will come on us: “The day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. When they say, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 2 and 3) That just happened. Everything seemed normal; I remember making decisions and plans for the next few years. I went to a work site one day, and I remember sheets of plastic hung from the ceilings to keep customers, people off the street, away from the workers at the counters. I had a bad feeling about that, and then someone noticed me. The workers looked at me like I was a strange alien creature, and they explained that I …

No, you cannot prove that God exists.

Have you ever seen a debate between and atheist and a believer? By ‘believer’ I mean someone who believes in God. You will hear one question in the debate; ‘Can you prove that God exists?’ Or just a demand: ‘Prove it!’ So, how do we prove that God exists? How can we direct our lives by something that we invented? These are atheist questions. READ: Does God exist? Watch Stephen Colbert and Ricky Gervais debate Something is happening among us, and it is scary. We are building prisons. I used to work in a large university, and I think I was appreciated for my work. I wrote and published papers with colleagues and I spoke at conferences. I was also involved in an international organization with members from many schools, and they made me the coordinator of one department. I learned later that some of my papers were required reading in a graduate program. That surprised me. I had a job and I worked hard at it. Academic work is not for geniuses who think …

The War in the Woods: Whose god will win, Racism or the Environment?

In British Columbia, the western province in Canada, environmental protesters are blocking loggers who want to cut down trees. That is not surprising. The activists would probably tell us about climate change, if we could talk to them. Also, in that part of the world, “Racism” is often presented as discrimination against native people. The natives are the “people of color” in that region, and they are concerned about their place in society. They also own the trees that the loggers want to cut down. The loggers are working for them. The native community spoke up to say that they have “always harvested and managed our forestry resources” … [and] “We do not welcome or support unsolicited involvement or interference by others in our territory, including third-party activism.” In modern activist thinking, people who oppose the natives could be labelled as racists. Without choosing sides, this is a clash of titans: A common word in the news these days is “racism.” Anti-racist protesters can be violent in the streets, and careers can be ruined by …

What’s happening with Darwin’s evolution?

In 1859 Charles Darwin published his book “The Origin of the Species” and he described what we call his “Theory of Evolution.” Today Darwin is described as a “naturalist” because he was interested in natural things, but “Naturalist” was not really a profession. Charles Darwin was educated at Cambridge University and his professional training could be described as theology or divinity. He was trained and qualified to be a minister in the Church of England, and he was similar to a graduate of a Bible College today. His theory of evolution gave us a universe without God; a place where life emerged from nothing and evolved into what we have today, through natural processes. It was a way to explain the creation without the creator. We can read Darwin’s book as theology, and not just biology. I think we all know there is a religious argument in the theory of evolution. Sometimes, when I’m driving in traffic, I see a fish symbol on another car. That is supposed to mean the driver is a Christian, …

Change your religion? I don’t think so.

Take a good look at yourself. Here is a question we should all answer about ourselves: How much of me was chosen by me? Or: How much of this person was designed by the owner? In public places, I see some interesting hair colors and styles, and tattoos. I’m not a big fan of tattoos because people change as they grow older, and a tattoo will endure long after the idea changes, or he breaks up with that girlfriend. Hair grows, and it turns grey. I am reminded when I look in the mirror. Our grandchildren can laugh at the crazy things we did with our hair, if they see the pictures. We like to think that we choose to be who we are and what we do, and most important, we choose what we believe. So, how much of you is you, and how much was imposed on you by family and other people in your life? I had a text message from a young man that I know well, and he was worried …

Stopping COVID … in Israel?

I remember this time last year, when we were told that COVID 19 would be gone by now. We had a spike in the number of infections in March of 2020, and then the numbers declined. I was one of many people who were told to stay home from work, in March of 2020. My employer was good to us, and kept us on the payroll for weeks; and then, when everyone thought that COVID-19 was disappearing, we were sent back to work, with safety precautions. And now here we are. Where I live, the virus is active and now we have mutations of the virus, that may or may not respond to vaccines. The medical authorities are warning us that the mutations, variants, are spreading rapidly. Also, there is growing concern about vaccines that are not fully tested, and are only permitted for emergency use, and are not widely available. Where I live, people are arguing in public places. A man tried to correct some strangers who were not wearing masks in a shop, …

Get a new life: Are you ready to start over?

I am writing this article on the Easter weekend, when Christians remember that Jesus was executed on a cross, and then that He came back from the dead. That’s the biggest restart in history. There are other ways to start over, and the biggest cause that I know is growing older, and reaching retirement age. Life starts over, even when we don’t want change. There’s a line in an old song “I don’t remember growing older.” About the time I reached retirement age, the COVID pandemic arrived. At the time, I was happy to keep working and my employer wanted us to move to a smaller city, where houses are not expensive. That made me happy, and I found a nice little house with a small cost, and I was about to make an offer. Then COVID hit. Who wanted the COVID virus? I remember a day when I went to work, at a client site, and people looked at me like I was crazy. I also noticed that the places where workers spoke to …

The Disinformation Dozen: Should people be banned?

This afternoon, we went for a drive, and we passed a small park. Usually it’s a small open space, with no-one there. Today I was surprised; the tiny park was filled with people, families with little children and several dogs. I guess we all want our spring break. I was surprised by something else; no-one was wearing a mask. COVID safety didn’t seem to be a concern for anyone. People were just enjoying the sunshine, as if the COVID pandemic never happened. Call it COVID denial, if you like, but I see this and hear this everywhere. My work takes me to many places, and I haven’t found anyone who really believes what we are told about the virus and vaccines. I have seen one organized protest, but most people just get on with their lives. The Government and medical authorities tell us what we should know, and do, and everyone thinks what they want. The disconnect is huge, and growing. If you are wondering, I am not a denier, or a strong supporter of …

The Atlanta Killings: Why we need to be bold

You probably heard the news about the killings near Atlanta, Georgia recently. On Tuesday, March 16, a young man took a gun and killed eight women in massage parlours near the city. Six of the women are described as ‘Asian’ and apparently they were from Korea. The man with the gun claimed to be a Christian and attended a Baptist church. It’s a terrible event. It’s also complicated. The man with the gun claimed that he has a sex addiction and he was trying to remove temptation. The victims were all female, and most were Korean, and apparently most of them were older than forty, or even fifty. They were at work when someone came in with a gun. READ: Suspect in Atlanta-area spa shootings might have intended more shootings in Florida, mayor says That seems simple, but in the morality of our times, there is now a hunt for someone to blame. The victims were all women, and the killer might hate women. That would be a feminist interpretation. The victims were mostly ‘Asian’ …

Was Jesus a racist? Should we cancel Him?

Was Jesus a racist? Some people claim that He gave a racist put-down to a woman who asked for help. If the accusation sticks, Jesus might be cancelled. One label that we all don’t want is “racist.” It’s the new mark of shame. Statues are being pulled down and schools are being renamed, and careers are being terminated. The Royal Family is being severely criticized, and books by Dr. Seuss are being cancelled from publication. My concern is that racism will no longer be a social issue if everyone is called a racist. The label needs to be applied with care, or there will be push-back and denial. Also, people can learn to keep quiet when they might be judged, without changing their ideas. I know someone who is a manager in the radio business, and he will not tolerate any jokes that make fun of groups of people. I don’t think he is racist, but he is also extremely careful to avoid a label that might ruin his career. Prejudice and bigotry exist everywhere, …

The sciency argument: Prove to me that God exists!

Are you an Atheist? Do you know one? I am writing as someone who believes in God. Imagine the arguments I could have with an Atheist. You can only imagine, because I don’t want those arguments. Prove to me that God exists! / Prove to me that God does not exist! There is no answer to those questions. We all choose what we want to believe. The words of the Bible: “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15) We can’t prove the existence of someone who is invisible, who tells us that He is invisible. We can be convinced somehow, and we can choose to believe, or not. You might have read an article, in the news, about how Physics can prove that God does not exist; or maybe prove that He does. The article keeps getting published with different titles. I think the title is click bait, to get our attention, and the words that follow are a good explanation of why we can’t prove anything about God. READ: Can …

Why is that pastor in jail?

We were driving today, and we went further than we usually do. We drove out of the city to a suburban place, for our shopping. That travel is permitted, under our COVID restrictions, the change of scenery was nice, and I like to get away from the busy places where infection rates might be higher. It was all good, until I saw a huge crowd of people, on a street that is usually quiet. We drove closer, and we saw people waving signs, to protest something. It was a surprise. When we got close, we could see that no one in the protest rally was wearing a mask, or doing anything to prevent Covid infections. There was no social distancing in that crowd. A large crowd of people were protesting something at a suburban courthouse. I didn’t have to ask what was happening. A pastor named James Coates is in jail because churches are restricted, for COVID safety. READ: Despite pastor behind bars, members of GraceLife Church near Edmonton continue to defy COVID-19 rules My …

Online Censorship: Are they banning the Bible now?

Are some parts of the Bible being banned from the Internet? A woman in England, Seyi Omooba, posted some Bible quotes about homosexuality on Facebook. She stated that the Bible position on the subject is “clearly evident.” Several people called for her to be fired from her job, and later she was fired. READ: Theater Fired Christian Actress for Facebook Post Citing Bible Verses on Homosexuality, Suit Says That was not censorship by Facebook. She lost her job because people read her quotations from the Bible, on Facebook. The issue is now in the courts, and I’m sure the managers at Facebook don’t want to be involved. Other people have claimed that some parts of the Bible cannot be quoted on some Internet platforms. Paul Joseph Watson recently posted a video “Facebook bans Bible passages to YouTube.” His claims were investigated by Newsweek, and reporters questioned Facebook management. After an internal investigation, Facebook apologized and reversed the decision to ban the video. The Newsweek article is “Facebook Unbans BibleHub Passages After Censoring Them ‘In Error’” …

The new morality: Have you been cancelled yet?

So, have you been cancelled yet? Maybe not you personally, but has someone changed the name of a local school or sports team? Have they removed a statue? Are you offended? It happened to me. When I was a boy, I went to a school named after a famous man; Frank Oliver. This was an inner city school, and we had our share of big kids who liked to fight. It didn’t help that a large psychiatric hospital was named after the same man. You can imagine how we were teased, by kids from other schools; and I remember how we defended ourselves. They accused us of being from the other “Oliver.” There are parts of my childhood that I would like to forget. The name problem went away a few months ago, when the name “Oliver” was cancelled. Apparently the man “did great harm” and his name could not be used on a public facility. As a government leader, he was involved in decisions to put native people on reserves. I can’t speak for …

Persecution: What do you really believe?

Most people reading this are completely free to follow any religion, and to change their minds any time. We are free. We are so free that some believers have a hard time explaining what they believe, and maybe some struggle to understand what they believe. That is the price of freedom. I remember going to church, when I was a boy; my whole family went to church, and I had no choice. When I became an adult, I decided what I believed, and who I was. That was a big adjustment for me. In some places in the world, it’s very important to know what you believe. A person can be prosecuted, and even killed for believing the “wrong” thing. “Wrong” is an idea from the government or some powerful organization. We may be going in that direction in the comfortable free countries. READ: Varvel: Why ‘The View’s’ Joy Behar finally apologized to Mike Pence If you are a Christian, how do you feel about the accusation that you are mentally ill? In the U.S. …

What happened to those extra books in the Bible?

Someone phoned me, the other day, and asked me a question I did not expect. He wanted to know about the extra Bible books, the ones Protestants don’t include in their Bibles. There are at least seven extra books in Roman Catholic Bibles, and even more in Orthodox Bibles. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the most liberal, with the most books in their official Bible. Strangely, this is an issue for many young people today. I thought this was a boring topic that only a few scholars cared about, but now we have a younger generation, and they have questions. When was the last time you had a conversation about the Apocrypha, the Deuterocanonical Books, or the Septuagint? Me neither. The question from my friend was from someone who doesn’t read the Bible, I think. He never mentions it. The question about those extra books is like a challenge; ‘If you people can’t decide on the official version, I won’t start reading the Bible.’ We talked, and I hope the conversation was useful to him. …

Is it wrong to leave your religion?

When I was a boy, I would walk home from school with a gang of my friends. I still remember trudging through the snow, and shouting. We argued all the way home, and for us there was only one belief. Who had the best car? We didn’t drive cars, or even ride bicycles, but we were passionate believers. I think we mostly believed in the cars that our fathers drove. One friend was the son of a church minister, and he lived in a manse, a house next to a church. He believed in Fords. We were all deeply convicted, and we knew the others were wrong. We were human beings trying out adult ideas. Since then, I have changed. I still don’t own a Ford, but I am open to the idea. There are powerful forces in this world. Eighty percent of all humans identify with a religion, and probably the other twenty percent believe something strongly. Some belief systems function like religions, in people’s lives. Believing is a common human experience, just like …