Ottawa Citizen essays

For many years I contributed to a regular column in the Ottawa Citizen called “Ask the Religion Experts.” Most of these essays are posted on the Baha’i Community of Ottawa website, at The links below point to

January 2014 Tab
January 16, 2014
Is it OK to say ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’?

January 2, 2014
Are there really ‘good’ people and ‘bad’ people?

December 2013 Tab
December 27, 2013
What is essential to be truly happy?

December 19, 2013
What role should charity play in our lives?

December 6, 2013
Should Canada have a ‘national’ Christmas tree like in Washington, D.C.?

November 2013 Tab
November 28, 2013
Can we learn more from the lives of the righteous or the sinners?

November 22, 2013
What is the greatest human quality?

November 14, 2013
What are we to think when our prayers aren’t answered?

October 2013 Tab
October 31, 2013
What does “spiritual, not religious” mean?

October 24, 2013
Is there harm in highly sexual music videos and performances?

October 17, 2013
In the light of public reporting on noted people, has the notion of “innocent until proven guilty” become irrelevant?

October 4, 2013
Can we ever truly know ourselves?

September 2013 Tab
September 27, 2013
Does “social” media bring us closer together or move us further apart?

September 19, 2013
Does Quebec’s Charter of Values really pose a threat to religious freedom?

September 12, 2013
Is there a place for religion in public schools?

September 6, 2013
Should sects be treated differently from religions?

August 2013 Tab
August 29, 2013
What are the elements that make up a genuine apology?

August 22, 2013
Is your religion really just an “accident of birth?

August 15, 2013
How can Canada right the wrongs done to First Nation peoples?

July 2013 Tab
July 10, 2013
Why is that in so many faiths, music plays an important role?

July 04, 2013
Why should we take the advice of so-called ‘religious experts’?

June 2013 Tab
June 28, 2013
What does Canada mean to you?

June 13, 2013
What does your faith teach about the values and expectations of fatherhood?

June 6, 2013
What role can faith or spirituality play in healing and healthcare?

May 2013 Tab
May 23, 2013
What takes more courage to believe or not to believe?

May 9, 2013
What are society’s obligations to the mentally disabled?

May 3, 2013
Is it true that “charity begins at home?

April 2013 Tab
April 22, 2013
How can someone forgive when the injury is insurmountable? Why should we forgive?

April 13, 2013
How do you define religion?

April 4, 2013
What the are the limits of personal or ethical responsibility when an individual is suffering from mental illness or addiction?

March 2013 Tab
March 21, 2013
Aside from the obvious, what lessons are to be learned from the Lance Armstrong saga?

March 15, 2013
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing Canada’s ambassador to the Office of Religious Freedom?

March 7, 2013
How are adultery and divorce viewed in your faith?

February 2013 Tab
February 22, 2013
Is it ever OK to satirize religious leaders or beliefs?

February 14, 2013
Is playing the slot machines a sin?

February 8, 2013
With Kindness Week coming soon, what is your sense about how kind we are?

February 3, 2013
Is euthanasia right? Would God want us to suffer?

January 2013 Tab
January 27, 2013
Can guilt be good?

January 20, 2013
Is there a difference between faith and religion?

January 13, 2013
How can we explain a tragedy like the Newtown shootings?

January 6, 2013
What is the greatest lesson your faith has taught you?

December 2012 Tab
December 30, 2012
What are your personal resolutions for the new year?

December 23, 2012
Should parents allow children to believe in Santa Claus?

December 16, 2012
What are we to make of the end of the Mayan calendar, some marking it as the coming end of the world?

December 9, 2012
Does freedom of expression trump freedom of religion?

December 2, 2012
In your worldview,  “is there an “age of innocence, ” an age under which a child’s action cannot be considered sins?

November 2012 Tab
November 24, 2012
Should non-citizens who promote religious intolerance be allowed to enter Canada?

November 11, 2012
Where is God during a time of natural disaster?

October 2012 Tab
October 28, 2012
Is there a spiritual purpose to a ghoulish celebration like Halloween?

October 21, 2012
“How should we respond to aggression and terrorism?”

October 14, 2012
What is the greatest obstacle to faith?

October 7, 2012
What are you most thankful for?

September 2012 Tab
September 16, 2012
Will your faith be affected if NASA’s Curiosity rover finds there is or was life on Mars?

September 9, 2012
Should students be allowed to proclaim their religion on a T-shirt at school?

August 2012 Tab
August 26, 2012
In the dog days of summer, can faith take a holiday?

August 10, 2012
How can the Olympic motto — Faster, Higher, Stronger — apply to faith?

August 3, 2012
What are we to think of the destruction of historic shrines in Mali in the name of religion?

July 2012 Tab
July 15, 2012
What would your faith say about ‘bullying’ in today’s society?

July 8, 2012
Is there a heaven for animals?

June 2012 Tab
June 24, 2012
Is one ever really capable of knowing God?

June 17, 2012
Does your faith support conscientious objectors to war?

June 10, 2012
Does prayer change God’s mind?

June 3, 2012
How does your faith regard inter-religious dialogue?

May 2012 Tab
May 27, 2012
How do you account for hypocrites in your faith? Do they discount your beliefs?

May 19, 2012
How do you handle cases of domestic abuse that come to your attention?

May 13, 2012
Does it bother you more when it is a ‘religious’ person who behaves improperly?

May 6, 2012
What does your faith say about atheists?

April 2012 Tab
April 29, 2012
How important is the synagogue, church, mosque or other structure?

April 15, 2012
How do you tell which parts of your religion should be taken literally and which parts are metaphorical?

April 1, 2012
Some people say children should be left to make up their  own minds about religion. Do you agree?

March 2012 Tab
March 25, 2012
How does your faith deal with the issue of suicide?

March 18, 2012
Can one be good with God?

March 11, 2012
What role should government play in regards to religion?

March 4, 2012
Which is more important in your religion — faith or works?

February 2012 Tab
February 26, 2012
Is tolerance a virtue?

February 19, 2012
Are people inherently sinful?

February 12, 2012
What is the relationship between spiritual and earthly love?

February 5, 2012
What is your faith’s position on the environment?

January Tab
January 29, 2012
To what extend are events predestined?

January 22, 2012
Does technology diminish or enhance your humanity?

January 15, 2012
How should we deal with spiritual doubts?

January 8, 2012
What is your faith’s view on euthanasia?

December Tab
December 31, 2011
Are personal resolutions morally binding?

December 25, 2011
How can we foster peace on Earth?

December 18, 2011
Why do so many people get depressed around Christmas time?

December 11, 2011
Can ordinary folks experience a state of grace?

December 4, 2011
Do you believe we’re in the ‘last days’?

November Tab
November 27, 2011
How can we improve interfaith dialogue?

November 20, 2011
Is religion alive and well or struggling to survive in Canada?

November 13, 2011
How can you distinguish real holy men from charlatans?

November 6, 2011
Is killing to defend your country justified?

September Tab
October 30, 2011
What role does music play in your faith?

October 23, 2011
Is religious persecution declining or growing?

October 16, 2011
Does the desire for prosperity conflict with religious values?

October 9, 2011
How does your faith express thanks?

October 2, 2011
Does your deity punish and reward in this life?

September Tab
September 25, 2011
How important is meditation as a spiritual path in your faith?

September 18, 2011
Can one be a realist and religious?

September 4, 2011
What is the nature of our soul?

August Tab
August 28, 2011
Are lascivious thoughts immoral if not acted upon?

August 21, 2011
How should one prepare to die?

August 14, 2011
Do we have a moral duty to bring others to faith?

August 7, 2011
What role does humour play in life?

August 1, 2011
Does religion divide or unite people?

July TabJuly 24, 2011
Does imagination play a role in faith?

July 17, 2011
Is it wrong to be angry with God?

July 10, 2011
What is Hell?

July 3, 2011
What is Heaven?

June Tab
June 26, 2011
What is Canada’s ethical role in the world?

June 19, 2011
Is lying sometimes justified?

June 12, 2011
Is worshipping together better than praying by yourself?

June 5, 2011
Does life have a meaning and if so, what purpose do humans serve?

May Tab
May 28, 2011
How can people of faith be good examples for peace?

May 22, 2011
Are our family pets “spiritual beings”?

May 15, 2011
How does your faith celebrate the changing seasons?

May 8, 2011
What are parents’ roles in passing on values?

May 1, 2011
Does your faith impact your voting preference?

April Tab
April 25, 2011
How important is it that people marry within their own faith?

April 17, 2011
If it’s my life, why shouldn’t I end it when I want?

April 10, 2011
Is there such thing as a collective conscience?

April 6, 2011
How does a catastrophe like the Japanese earthquake affect one’s faith?

April Tab
March 27, 2011
How can one overcome the anxieties of this world?

Comments are closed.