Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Barbara Bradley Hagerty is the religion correspondent for NPR, reporting on the intersection of faith and politics, law, science and culture. Her New York Times best-selling book, "Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality," was published by Riverhead/Penguin Group in May 2009. Among others, Barb has received the American Women in Radio and Television Award, the Headliners Award and the Religion Newswriters Association Award for radio reporting.

Before covering the religion beat, Barb was NPR's Justice Department correspondent between 1998 and 2003. Her billet included the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Florida's disputed 2000 election, terrorism, crime, espionage, wrongful convictions and the occasional serial killer. Barbara was the lead correspondent covering the investigation into the September 11 attacks. Her reporting was part of NPR's coverage that earned the network the 2001 George Foster Peabody and Overseas Press Club awards. She has appeared on the PBS programs Washington Week and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Barb came to NPR in 1995, after attending Yale Law School on a one-year Knight Fellowship. From 1982-1993, she worked at The Christian Science Monitor as a newspaper reporter in Washington, as the Asia correspondent based in Tokyo for World Monitor (the Monitor's nightly television program on the Discovery Cable Channel) and finally as senior Washington correspondent for Monitor Radio.

Barb was graduated magna cum laude from Williams College in 1981 with a degree in economics, and has a masters in legal studies from Yale Law School.

Let's go back to the beginning — all the way to Adam and Eve, and to the question: Did they exist, and did all of humanity descend from that single pair?

According to the Bible (Genesis 2:7), this is how humanity began: "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." God then called the man Adam, and later created Eve from Adam's rib.

As a heat wave grips large parts of the country, ask yourself this: Would you turn down a glass of water? If you're Muslim, you probably would, because it is the month of Ramadan, when Muslims can't eat or drink from sunup to sundown.

It's a bit of a challenge, says Omar Shahin, an imam in Phoenix. At that moment, it was 105 degrees outside, and he was cleaning the pool in his backyard. The water was so close, yet so far.

For many couples, having a baby is a spiritual experience. For Jews, there's another, religious, element that is intrinsic to the Jewish identity. Nearly all Jewish parents have their baby boys circumcised, as commanded by God in the Bible. And yet, for some Jewish couples, whether to circumcise or not is becoming an agonizing decision.

The Vatican has appointed an outspoken archbishop to lead the troubled Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Charles Chapu of Denver will move to Philadelphia in September. He succeeds Cardinal Justin Rigali, who has been criticized for the way he's handled child sex abuse allegations.

Cardinal Denies Scandal Affected Retirement Decision

It's the latest episode in Sister Wives. But this time it's playing out in the courtroom, not on cable. On Wednesday, the Brown family — the husband, four wives, and 16 children who star in the reality TV show — plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Utah. The family members say the state's anti-bigamy law is unconstitutional and that Supreme Court precedent backs them up.

On Sunday morning, when Harold Camping awoke to clocks ticking, clouds moving, a world still existing, his response was one of bewilderment. At least, that's what he told photographer Brandon Tauszik.

As recently as two weeks ago, Gary Vollmer was absolutely certain that on May 21, 2011, God would send devastating earthquakes, raise believers to heaven in the "rapture," and then destroy the world five months later. Now that it hasn't happened, Vollmer is unfazed.

"God is God, God's going to do what he has to do," he says.

True, he says, believers got some of the details wrong. But the thrust of the message is right.

Margaret Pease stands on a corner in downtown Pittsburgh, handing out doomsday pamphlets.

"JUDGMENT DAY FOLKS!" she yells with a volume that would make a drill sergeant proud. "May 21, 2011!"

For the past seven months, Pease has been crisscrossing the country in a caravan with eight others, warning anyone who will listen that God's wrath is near.

"I might be a little loud, but I want people to get the message," she says. "I don't want anybody's blood on my hands. ... JUDGMENT DAY FOLKS!"

Brian Haubert grabs some pamphlets and marches toward the flea market in Palmyra, N.J. Armed with a poster that trumpets Judgment Day on May 21, 2011, he braces for rejection. Announcing God's wrath is not always a popular message.

"I've been called a heretic," says Haubert, a 33-year-old actuary. "I've been told I read the wrong Bible. And then there's the occasional person who seems to be genuinely interested," he says.

The chants began even before Pope John Paul II had been put to his final rest, as his coffin was carried through St. Peter's Square: "Santo Subito! Santo Subito!"

"Sainthood now!"

A month later, Pope Benedict XVI — his successor and close friend — launched the process that would do just that. On Sunday, John Paul II will be beatified in Rome, bringing him one step away from sainthood.

A federal judge in Oregon has opened the door for sex abuse victims to sue the Vatican.

Pope John Paul II will be beatified in May, which puts him halfway toward sainthood. To have gotten this far, the Vatican must believe that the late pope is responsible for a miracle. Earlier this year, the Vatican declared that a woman was miraculously healed from Parkinson's disease after she prayed to the late pontiff.

And this raises the question: How does the Vatican investigate miracles?

Let's start in Ferndale, Wash., where a potential miracle is under investigation.

An Accident On The Court

This year, the most influential book you may never have read is celebrating a major birthday. The King James Version of the Bible was published 400 years ago. It's no longer the top-selling Bible, but in those four centuries, it has woven itself deeply into our speech and culture.

Let's travel back to 1603: King James I, who had ruled Scotland, ascended to the throne of England. What he found was a country suspicious of the new king.