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April 6, 2003

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Religion in the News

'Prayer and our boys brought Jessica to safety' (The Daily Telegraph, London). See

Bible sales up, soldiers' demand high
Sales of Bibles, hymnals, and prayerbooks were up 36.8 percent in January, Financial Times reported Friday. "Is this a result of the war? . . . A fear of the unknown? Could be," Zondervan spokesman Mark Rice told the paper. "After 9/11, Bible sales spiked from right after the attacks, all the way through February of the next year." The Associated Press has several excellent photos of soldiers reading and studying their Bibles during their breaks.

War Isn't Being Waged From the Pulpit: Most clergy avoid blanket statements on war. By Marshall Shelley. See

War in Iraq Full Coverage: Christianity Today has posted a War in Iraq archive for access to recent news from Iraq: reflections on the Christian response, debates over the war, and relevant articles from previous conflicts. See

Prayers of Kenyan truckers captured by Iraqis answered See

Franklin Graham under fire for plans to aid Iraq
As we noted earlier, Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse plans to bring drinking water systems, shelter, household items, and medical kits to Iraq as soon as the fighting abates. The group also plans to bring spiritual relief. See

Are Most Arab Americans Christian? The Detroit News reports that 75 percent of Arabs in the U.S. are Christian. Why is that? By Todd Hertz. See

Newspapers Miss the Real End-Times Story:

'The End Is Not Yet': The president of Dallas Theological Seminary says there will be an increase in wars and rumors of wars before the end times, but date setting should not be a priority for evangelicals. An interview with Mark Bailey. See

Left Behind lawsuit dismissed
A federal judge has dismissed Left Behind coauthor Tim LaHaye's lawsuit against Cloud Ten Pictures, which created film versions of the first two books in the popular series, the film company says in a press release.

Worldwide Church of God settles, will allow Armstrong books to be published
In another book-related lawsuit, the Worldwide Church of God has settled its legal battle with the Philadelphia Church of God over works written by the group's founder, Herbert W. Armstrong. The Worldwide Church of God (WCG) has repudiated Armstrong's teachings and has joined the National Association of Evangelicals, but splinter groups like the Philadelphia Church of God, which broke away when the WCG began becoming more orthodox, fought to keep the WCG from suppressing the works. See,1413,206~22097~1273563,00.html

InterVarsity, Rutgers reach agreement on student leaders
The Rutgers InterVarsity Multiethnic Christian Fellowship has dropped its lawsuit against the university after the two institutions reached an agreement on student leadership requirements. See

X-treme faith: Skateboards, rock bands, street festivals—religious groups woo the MTV generation (The Miami Herald). See

The Church's Walking Wounded: How should we respond in a psychological age? By Tim Stafford. See

Scholars are reassessing Saint Francis of Assisi A new book says he was more concerned with his personal relationship with God than with helping the unfortunate (Los Angeles Times).

Bible Scholars Corner

What Jesus Really Meant by "Render unto Caeser"
David T. Ball
Was he just telling folks to gladly hand over their money to the IRS at tax time? Or have we lost sight of Jesus’ more profound message by taking his words out of context? See

Enoch and Jesus
Berger A. Pearson
Long before Jesus, there was Enoch. Instead of dying, this ancestor of Noah was taken up to heaven, where, according to ancient tradition, he, too, sat at God’s right hand and helped redeem the elect. See

Beasts or Bugs?
Gary A. Rendsburg
The Hebrew name for the fourth plague simply means “mixture,” and for millennia, the rabbis have debated—a mixture of what? Has the mystery at last been solved? See

That's No Gospel!
Peter W. Flint
When a maverick scholar Jose O'Callaghan identified Greek Dead Sea Scroll fragments as New Testament texts, the scholarly world had strong doubts, but no one knew what they really were. Now, with the help of a carpenter, they’ve figured it out. Muro concludes that these fragments are from the Book of Enoch, not the New Testament. This interesting article is in Bible Review (April 2003).

Dante's Guide to Heaven and Hell (Christian History, Issue 70). See

Science in the News


Do our genes reveal the hand of God? | The scientists who launched a revolution with the discovery of the structure of DNA in Cambridge 50 years ago have both used the anniversary to mount an attack on religion (The Daily Telegraph). See

Our DNA makes us want to believe | A hunt for the "God gene" that underpins our ability to believe is under way by scientists (The Daily Telegraph, London). See

Who is John Marks Templeton? | An investor and philanthropist who endows an annual prize billed as the world's richest, Templeton is fascinated by the intersection between religion and science (Associated Press). See

Science, not religious texts, backs theories Creation stories in Scripture are not theories and not scientific (Joe Meinhart, The Oklahoma Daily, Oklahoma U.). See

Scientists Find Evidence For Crucial Root In The History Of Plant Evolution: New Orleans - Mar 26, 2003 - If ancient plants had not migrated from the shallow seas of early Earth to the barren land of the continents, life as we know it might never have emerged. And now it appears this massive floral colonization may have been spurred by a single genetic mutation that allowed primitive plants to make lignin, a chemical process that leads to the formation of a cell wall. See

Human evolution (3 Apr) - A leading palaeontologist has questioned the heritage of a 3.5-million-year-old fossil skull hailed two years ago as a new human relative. See,12978,928152,00.html

EVE: (2 Apr) - New DNA evidence suggests "African Eve", the 150,000-year-old female ancestor of every person on Earth, may have lived in Tanzania or Ethiopia. See

Unravelling angiosperm genome evolution by phylogenetic analysis of chromosomal duplication events 
First paragraph


Biblical Archaeology Seminar on APRIL 12, 2003.
The seminar is located at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA.
There is NO COST for this seminar. You may register at the door or reply by e-mail to ask us to reserve your place. For more information, see our website: 

Oldest Swords Found in Turkey: March 25, 2003 — The most ancient swords ever found were forged 5,000 years ago in what is today Turkey, according to Italian archaeologists who announced the results of chemical analysis at a recent meeting in Florence. See

Ancient Maya civilization goes online: Archaeologists could soon be making discoveries about the Maya from their computers. The first stage of a new online database is set to go live later this year, housing hundreds of thousands of documents on the excavation of Tikal, one of the most important settlements in ninth-century Mesoamerica. The Tikal Digital Access Project will enable everyone from schoolchildren to scholars to search the notes, photographs and sketches made by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology when they worked at the site between 1956 and 1970. See

New dating trick for bricks
Old building materials show their age when you roast them.
3 April 2003. See

Oldest Mummy Discovered in Egypt: April 1, 2003 — Egyptian archaeologists have brought to light the oldest known evidence of human mummification after opening on Sunday a 5,000-year-old wooden coffin found at Sakkara near Cairo. See

Nimble-Fingered Neandertals: By any measure, the Neandertals have suffered a bad rap. Historically portrayed as dim-witted and brutish, it made perfect sense to scholars of yore that these ancient humans eventually disappeared from the European landscape, outcompeted by anatomically modern invaders. But recent research has revealed a more refined Neandertal--one that was a lot like us--making the demise of this group harder to explain. New findings further blur the distinction between Neandertals and moderns. See


Doomed Matter Near Black Hole Gets Second Lease on Life: Quebec - Mar 25, 2003 - Supermassive black holes, notorious for ripping apart and swallowing stars, might also help seed interstellar space with the elements necessary for life, such as hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and iron, scientists say. See

Cosmic Forensics Confirms Gamma-Ray Burst And Supernova Related: Boston - Mar 25, 2003 - Scientists announced today that they have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to confirm that a gamma-ray burst was connected to the death of a massive star. This result is an important step in understanding the origin of gamma-ray bursts, the most violent events in the present-day Universe. See

Astronomers Deal Blow To Quantum Theories Of Time, Space, Gravity: Huntsville - Mar 28, 2003 - For the second time in as many months, images gathered by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) are raising questions about the structures of time and gravity, and the fabric of space. See

Hubble Watches Light From Mysterious Star Reverberate: Baltimore - Mar 28, 2003 - In January 2002, a dull star in an obscure constellation suddenly became 600,000 times more luminous than our Sun, temporarily making it the brightest star in our Milky Way galaxy. See

Five times more water on Moon? The Moon may harbors five times more water than we thought, reckon researchers in the United States who have doubled previous estimates of how much of the lunar surface is permanently dark. See

Galactic Wind Of Low-Energy Cosmic Rays Detected In Interstellar Clouds: Berkeley - Apr 01, 2003 - A bit of Earth-bound chemistry has led scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, to conclude that there is an unsuspected wind of low-energy cosmic ray particles blowing through the galaxy. See


SARS: April 1, 2003 — Following is a snapshot of medical knowledge about Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the term given to the form of pneumonia that originated in Southeast Asia and has triggered a global health scare: See

DNA-Repair Protein Functions Differently In Different Organisms: Blacksburg - Mar 26, 2003 - Plants, pond scum, and even organisms that live where the sun doesn't shine have something that humans do not -- an enzyme that repairs DNA damaged by ultraviolet (UV) light. See

Eating raw broccoli may combat cancer
The new understanding of how potent anti-oxidants are released could also lead to the breeding of even healthier broccoli plants. See

Two Brain Systems Tell Us To Breathe
Until now, scientists believed that a single area in the brain generated breathing rhythm, enabling breathing to speed up or slow down to adapt to the body’s activity and position. But UCLA neurobiologists have discovered that two systems in the brain interact to generate breathing rhythm — a finding that may translate into better treatment for sleep apnea and sudden infant death syndrome. See

Genome Of A Major Member Of Gut Bacteria Sequenced; Clues To Beneficial Relationships Between Humans And Microorganisms
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have completed sequencing the genome of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, one of the most prevalent bacteria that live in the human intestine. See

Earth Science

Dinosaur Cannibal: Fossil Evidence Found in Africa April 2, 2003 — Paleontologists studying tooth marks found on bones of Majungatholus atopus, a large, meat-eating dinosaur that roamed Madagascar about 65 million years ago, suggest the dinosaur practiced cannibalism. See

Fossil Teeth Reveal Oldest Bushbabies, Lorises
A small collection of teeth and jaw fragments sifted from the Egyptian desert has provided the earliest fossil evidence for one of the three major lines of primates. See

The Nuclear Heart of Planet Earth: Brisbane - Mar 31, 2003 - What would we find if we were to dig a hole all the way down to the centre of the Earth? According to high school science books we would discover a liquid iron alloy core and a smaller solid inner core at the center. For ten years, geophysicist J. Marvin Herndon has presented increasingly persuasive evidence that at the very centre of the Earth, within the inner core, there exists a five mile in diameter sphere of uranium which acts as a natural nuclear reactor. In this extended interview Wayne Smith talks with Dr Herndon about this theory and its implications for planetary science. See


Ultra-Simple Desktop Device Slows Light to a Crawl: Rochester - Apr 01, 2003 - Though Einstein put his foot down and demanded that nothing can move faster than light, a new device developed at the University of Rochester may let you outpace a beam by putting your foot down on the gas pedal. See


Engineers Create World's First Transparent Transistor: Corvallis - Mar 26, 2003 - Engineers at Oregon State University have created the world's first transparent transistor, a see-through electronics component that could open the door to many new products. See


Rare, Remote Chimps Found: March 21, 2003 — Chimpanzees in a remote Central African rainforest may have had little or no contact with humans until recently, said a report in the April 2003 issue of the International Journal of Primatology. See