Twelve Questions asks the good, the great and the interesting to ponder the big things in life — doubt, hope, family, love and money. Here are the best quotes from the year on the biggest question of all — faith.

Key Points:

Sir Peter Williams, QC 1 Where did your moral compass come from? I was brought up a Methodist. My father was a teacher and the advice he gave me was to do what's right. And I keep it as simple as that. I don't pretend to know the Bible questions about the resurrection and so on and I don't criticise people who have beliefs. They are entitled to them provided they don't harm others. I don't really believe in the miracles of the Bible so I'm not religious in that sense but I'm religious in that I think people should help each other and weigh up each decision they have to make to work out what is right or wrong. I believe human beings have an innate obligation to help each other. Dr Waiora Port, teacher, Maori health advocate, late-life academic 2 What does faith mean to you? My Maori grandmother had an innate spirituality which was enhanced but not dominated by Christianity. She had karakia for the garden, for the sea, for the river, for when she worked with harakeke. She had been an Anglican because the first missionaries in the North were. I have since childhood been influenced by my grandmother's spirituality and the way in which she lived. I have a strong faith built on the teachings of Jesus Christ which I live by. He is my friend whom I consult at many levels. I love the ritual, the music, the poetry of my Anglicanism and I love to acknowledge the majesty of Tane Mahuta, Tangaroa. Julia Deans, singer 3 Did you have a religious upbringing? I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church. I was only into the singing really. I just didn't believe [in] it from a young age. There was a lot of fear in the teachings, Armageddon and Christians being tortured. My parents were really young and I was about five when they joined. I know how those outreach programmes work - they often look for people that are lost or vulnerable and to their credit, they provided great support. Mum and Dad got out too once we became teenagers. I don't believe in God now but I think the beautiful thing that happens in churches is people congregating for a common belief and supporting each other. Toni Hancock, hospice nurse 4 Are we scared of death? Are you? Maybe the great majority of people are fearful of the process rather than actual death - will it be painful, and how will they cope. Am I afraid? I don't know. I don't think I would be. But if I was faced with it, I would probably have aspects of fear. I'm human. I do see that people who are strong spiritually seem to be more at peace with dying. I'm Catholic and I believe there is life after death. It's in my bones. Working in hospices has probably just made my belief stronger. There have been a few experiences as well. A Maori woman was in here recently and told me that as her son was dying, he told her about all the relatives sitting around him. You hear too much not to take a chance on it. Tim Finn, musician 5 Have your ideas about spirituality changed? As a child, you don't really have a choice as to what you practise or even believe. Then as time goes by your major influence becomes your own experiences. My ideas have evolved accordingly. I am someone who prefers to have a path, a daily practice that wakes me up. At some point in the day I'll do a bit of meditation and visualisation. I've been doing it regularly for about eight or nine years. It's a huge battle still but some days are better than others. The seed was planted by the Beatles to some extent. Heather Hendrickson, scientist 6 Do you still feel Mormon? I have remnants of culturally having grown up Mormon. Mormons are trusting and expect wonderful things all the time. But once you take away the motivation that there's this God who's watching and judging you - well, the only person I now have to feel responsible to is me. I'm not conflicted [about atheism] but you are turning your back on generations of your family and I think for my extended family I'm still going to hell. Maureen Gordon, owner of the Kings Arms hotel 7 Is it unusual that you're a publican and a regular churchgoer? A lot of publicans were Catholics once upon a time. I don't see anything odd in it. No, I've never been a drinker. I'll go home and have a brandy and ginger ale at 6pm but that will be it. I'm into the horses though. I've got shares in three horses. I've always been tied up with Lance O'Sullivan's lot. I'm a great Warriors person too. Oh yes, they're in a bad way at the moment. But I've always liked that Eric Watson. He was behind me once at the races and asked who I was backing. He said, "I'll bet on that one too", and when it came in, he came over to thank me. I thought, "he doesn't need to talk to a white-haired lady like me", let alone come and thank me. Penny Bright, activist 8 What philosophies do you live by? I hate lies and I detest liars. I don't do gossip or personal comments. I don't do political dirt. I don't hate anyone, it's just behaviours I dislike. Am I tough? Yeah. Vulnerable? Not particularly. I'm not a spiritual person, I'm a character person. Integrity is really important to me. An ex-Cabinet minister once described me as "pathologically honest" but what's wrong with that? I'm consistent and persistent more than most and I don't back down. Paula Ryan, fashionista 9 You went to Teschemakers College [near Oamaru]. What did the nuns teach you? Survival! They were Dominican nuns and tough but it didn't faze me like it did some of the girls. I'm not super-religious - going to church wasn't exactly my favourite pastime. I avoided it at all costs. I was the ringleader of fun, and was never going to make prefect. Some of my family now are quite religious and I'm sure they pray for me on a daily basis. Ha. Steven Joyce, Minister of Everything 10 What did your childhood years at Catholic Mass teach you? Patience. I haven't been to church much recently, except funerals. I suppose it teaches you life values but yeah, patience. There were plenty of people in church who were good at sleeping with their eyes open but that might be a bit unfair. Jamie Ford, mental toughness educator 11 What do you believe happens to us when we die? My understanding is that our origins are in star dust and one day when the sun exhausts all of its fuel it will become a red giant and engulf our planet Earth in a massive cremation turning everything back to star dust. I'm very comfortable with the thought of joining loved ones in the star dust from which we originate. Caitlin Smith, singer 12 What do you know about love? I believe love to be the most powerful force - life itself even. I like to substitute the word love whenever I hear, read or think of God or any of the prophets. I subscribe to the Course in Miracles philosophy that "Love is letting go of fear".