These texts were initially published in the “Ask the Religion Experts” column which appears every Saturday in The Ottawa Citizen.
In January 2010, Fr. Geoffrey Kerslake, a priest of the Archdiocese, accepted the responsibility for the weekly articles. In August 2012, he became the Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Services in the Archdiocese and continues to answer the Citizen’s questions for
religion experts on a weekly basis.
What does your faith teach about the values and expectations of fatherhood?
What role can faith or spirituality play in healing and healthcare?
What guidance would you give to a politician who finds him or herself in an ethical controversy that calls into question his or her leadership?
What takes more courage? To believe or not believe?
Why do so many prayers go unanswered?
What are society’s obligations to the mentally disabled?
Is it true that ‘charity begins at home’?
How can someone forgive when the injury is insurmountable? Why should we forgive?
What do you think of the media telling religious organizations what they should believe, teach or do?
How do you define religion?
What are the limits of personal or ethical responsibility when an individual is suffering from mental illness or addiction?
Would Abe Lincoln have made it in this generation?
Aside from the obvious, what lessons are to be learned from the Lance Armstrong saga?
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing Canada’s ambassador to the Office of Religious Freedom?
How is adultery and divorce viewed in your faith?
Is it ever OK to satirize religious leaders or beliefs?
Is playing slot machines a sin?
With Kindness Week coming soon, what is your sense about how kind we are?
Is euthanasia right? Would God want us to suffer?
Can guilt be good?
Is there a difference between faith and religion?
How can we explain a tragedy like the Newtown shootings?
What is the greatest lesson your faith has taught you?
What are your ‘spiritual’ New Year’s resolutions?
What are we to make of the end of the Mayan calendar, some marking it as the coming end of the world?
Does freedom of expression trump freedom of religion?
Is there an “age of innocence” (an age under which a child’s actions cannot be considered sins) in your worldview?
Should non-Citizens who promote religious intolerance be allowed to enter Canada?
Should Canadian prisons employ chaplains of different faiths?
Where is God during a time of natural disaster?
Does or should our relationship with religion change as we age?
Is there a spiritual purpose to a ghoulish celebration like Halloween?
How should we respond to aggression and terrorism?
What, in your opinion, is the greatest obstacle to faith?
What are you most thankful for?
With all the bad news that seems to surround us, from where do you get your inspiration?
In your recent pastoral experience, have you felt the challenges to the health care system?
Will your faith be affected if NASA’s Curiosity rover finds there is or was life on Mars?
Should students be allowed to proclaim their religion on a T-shirt at school?
Should religion play a role in the labour movement?
In the dog days of summer, can faith take a holiday?
Are monotheistic religions more prone to violence?
How can the Olympic motto – Faster, Higher, Stronger – apply to faith?
What are we to think of the destruction of historic shrines in Mali in the name of religion?
Does your faith community have any specific approaches to the drought situation?
Does the renewed debate on doctor assisted suicide say anything about the sanctity of life in modern times?
What would your faith say about ‘bullying’ in today’s society?
Is there a heaven for animals?
Is one ever really capable of knowing God?
Does your faith support conscientious objectors to war?
Does prayer change God’s mind?
How does your faith regard inter-religious dialogue?
How do you account for hypocrites in your faith? Do they discount your beliefs?
Does it bother you more when it is a ‘religious’ person who behaves improperly?
What does your faith say about atheists and what do you as a religious leader believe about atheists?
How important is the actual brick-and-mortar place of worship, be it a church, mosque, synagogue or other structure?
How do you tell what parts of your religion should be taken literally and which parts are metaphorical?
Is it appropriate that statutory holidays like Easter and Christmas celebrate events in the Christian calendar?
Some people say children should be left to make up their own minds about religion. Do you agree?
How does your faith deal with the issue of suicide?
Can one be good without God?
What role should government play in regards to religion?
Which is more important in your religion: faith or works?
Is tolerance a virtue?
Are people inherently sinful?
What is the relationship between spiritual and earthly love?
What is your faith’s position on the environment?
To what extent are events predestined?
Does technology diminish or enhance our humanity?
How should we deal with spiritual doubts?
What is your faith’s view on euthanasia?
Are personal resolutions morally binding?
How can we foster peace on Earth?
Why do so many people get depressed around Christmas time?
Can ordinary folks experience a state of grace?
Do you believe we’re in the ‘last days?’
How can we improve interfaith dialogue?
Is religion alive and well or struggling to survive in Canada?
How can you distinguish real holy men from charlatans?
Is killing to defend your country justified?
What role does music play in your faith?
Is religious persecution declining or growing?
Does the desire for prosperity conflict with religious values?
How does your faith express thanks?
Does your diety punish and reward in this life?
How important is meditation as a spiritual path in your faith?
Can one be a realist and religious?
Is it a virtue not to eat meat?
What is the nature of our soul?
Are lascivious thoughts immoral if not acted upon?
How should one prepare to die?
Do we have a moral duty to bring others to faith?
What role does humour play in life?
Does religion divide or unite people?
Does imagination play a role in faith?
Is it wrong to be angry with God?
What is hell?
What is heaven?
What is Canada's ethical role in the world?
Is worshipping together better than praying by yourself?
Does life have a meaning and if so, what purpose do humans serve?
How can people of faith be good examples for peace?
Are our family pets “spiritual beings?”
How does your faith celebrate the changing seasons?
What are parents' roles in passing on values?
Does your faith impact your voting preference?
How important is it that people marry within their own faith?
If it's my life, why shouldn't I end it when I want?
Is there such a thing as a collective conscience?
What role do angels play in your faith tradition?
What role can religion realistically play in the eradication of poverty?
Does your church believe that the dead can reappear as ghosts/spirits?
Do you think quantum physics lends itself to religious belief?
What career do you think is most important to human spirituality?
Why do you think authors like Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) and Rhonda Byrne (The Secret) sell so many millions of books and have such devoted following?
Eighteen years ago Ontario allowed stores to open on Sunday. What has the effect been?
What do you think is the most important point of agreement between science and religion?
What do you think is the most crucial point of conflict between science and religion?
How does your group feel about the general public adopting aspects of faith, such as yoga or meditation, without subscribing to the underlying precepts?
Carleton University will soon offer a degree in religion and public life. What do you think it should teach?
What do you make of ancient indigenous systems of wisdom such as aboriginal and Celtic shamans?
How does your faith group celebrate the birth of a child? (i.e. what do the various rituals signify?)
What is the relation between religious laws and state laws?
Does your faith encourage early marriage?
Does your faith group attempt to recruit new members?
What is the most important prayer to your faith group?
How does your faith respond to man creating life forms?
Is there room for the “self” in religion?
Is it important that children come to embrace the faith of their fathers or should they be encouraged to make up their own minds?
Is evolution compatible with belief in God?
Should the govenment withold funding from overseas aid groups that do not align with the ruling party's politics
How should schools handle education about sex?
Different denominations have very different ways of worshipping: drums, dancing, rock guitars. In your opinion what makes misic and dance suitable for liturgy? What's too over the top?
What saint or holy figure do you think has been the most misunderstood?
What saint or holy figure has inspired you the most?
Does your faith teach that God is personal and loves us individually?
What does your faith teach about the relationship between the brain, the mind and the soul?
What would you say to your child or a teenager who was disillusioned by the fall of his or her hero?
How does your church accomodate different ethnicities within your faith group?
How does posture, i.e. kneeling, change prayer?
Should companies be allowed to patent higher life forms like lab mice?
In your faith, what are the most likely challenges posed by modern medicine?
In the lead up to Kindness Week in Ottawa, what particular kindnesses would you like to see emphasized?
What should be our response to the tragedy in Haiti?
How much can one faith borrow from another without harm to either?
What is the spiritual importance of silence in your faith group?
Are there right and wrong ways to pray? (i.e. is something like a set prayer or rosary better than just chatting with God)?
What can religious leaders contribute during this swine flu pandemic?
Why should places of worship be tax exempt?
What does your faith group teach about the ethics of political attack ads?
What does your faith group have to say about giving thanks, especially at this time of year?
Has God already determined our future or is it possible to get what we want through prayer?