Certainty sells in both science and religion, says former priest Mark Vernon. It can also be enormously damaging. But as Thomas Aquinas realised, the best we can do when talking about God is to understand what God is not, and be open to what God might be, beyond our comprehension. It’s also known as faith.
The Archbishop of Canterbury says a purely rationalistic and secularist approach to intellectual and academic life has sold short both the meaning of rationality and the broad human values nurtured by critical faith.
Forms of religion and ideology which neatly categorize people as good or bad according to whether they were in ‘the right group’ or believe ‘the right things’ are dangerous, says Simon Barrow. They also contradict the basic trajectory of the Christian message.
To fear one's doubts and to deny them, is to take away the silence from the music and the space from the sculpture, says Jill Segger. As with all untruth, denial demeans, diminishes and eventually destroys.
The world's oldest pupil, Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge, has embraced Christianity and been baptised, five years after he began studying at primary school at the age of 85 and learned how to read the Bible. He says he has learned to forgive his enemies.
Swiss soccer player Johan Vonlanthen says he has undergone phenomenal changes since he made his debut as an international soccer player, which he attributes to his faith. But his country have still made an early exit from Euro 2008.
Fundamentalism is a 20th-century invention, in many ways a response to the rapid social change brought about by modernity and global capitalism, says Giles Fraser. It is a perversion of religion, and in no way the real thing, let alone its 'heartbeat'.