Try to imagine a world in which only things acceptable to pure reason are deemed legitimate, suggests Giles Fraser. It would be to imagine the most desperately impoverished cultural and emotional (let alone spiritual) desert.
Cynicism about politicians and political institutions runs very deep, says Terry Waite. But the current crisis is also an opportunity for change, for reinvesting politics with hope and the participation of people from outside 'the party system'.
The Church of England has for too long been slow to take its own ethnic diversity to its heart, says Vasantha Gnanadoss. If it now also claims that Christianity is superior to others it could be unwittingly supporting white nationalism and undermining action against the BNP and others.
When people hear the word 'health' they think immediately of medical matters, says Juan Michel. But health is also an issue of clean drinking water, nutritious food, a safe work environment and essential care accessible at the community level - not least in a time of flu panics.
Few words are bandied about with such casual abandon as “liberal”, says Giles Fraser. It can stand for the liberality and generosity vital to any outlook, but it can also mean an exulting of individualism and a damaging denial of inherited wisdom.
Many who have committed their lives to working for change and justice in the world simply dismiss Jesus' teachings about nonviolence as impractical idealism, says Walter Wink. This is because they have not understood their true subversive nature and context.
Like many Palestinians living in occupied territory, the Nassars have endured harassment, threats and attacks from nearby settlers, says Emma Halgren. But their response, and that of others, has challenged the cycle of hatred and violence.
A confident and independent Scotland, far from deserting its neighbours, might actually end up being a better friend, argues writer Nick Thorpe, analysing the language used to describe the referendum choices and how it can both lead and mislead.
An independent Scotland could be the start of something even bigger: disaffected voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland motivated to find a different society, say Molly and John Harvey, senior church figures in Scotland. They write with only days to go before the historic referendum on self-government.