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a Parallel Universe
Why does the word evangelical threaten so many people in our culture? by Philip Yancey.
ask Alito about the role of his faith?
If confirmed, he would become the fifth Catholic among the nine justices on the Supreme Court (The Christian Science Monitor)
in a Secular Society
Ted Haggard says Galatians bars us from using the law to create a Christian nation. Interview by Stan Guthrie.
fundamentalism hurts U.S., Carter says
In a new book, the former president expounds on politics past and current (Tammy L. Carter, The Orlando Sentinel)
film set to premiere as a big plug for Christianity
Zondervan, the evangelical imprint for publishing giant HarperCollins, is calling New Zealand's $219 million Narnia movie, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, one of the year's "biggest religion stories." (NZPA, New Zealand)
Scanlon: How to "bring out the wackos"
Here's something that should at least temporarily replace "poor, uneducated, and easy to command" as the most outrageous characterization of conservative Christians.
lifts ban on Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Britain lifted a 10-year-old ban that kept the Rev. Sun Myung Moon from entering the country, saying Friday that the controversial religious leader was unlikely to threaten public order. (Associated Press)
Colson's Christian-based prison project on trial in Iowa
Prison Justice Ministries' InnerChange Freedom Initiative is a 'government-funded conversion program' says Americans United's Barry Lynn. (Bill Berkowitz, MediaTransparency.org)
Graham association says no more crusades
Though long-assumed, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Thursday gave its first official word that the ailing evangelist would no longer hold crusades (WCNC, Charlotte, N.C.)
book in the world
Tony Campolo sets his record straight on Bibles and endorsements. (Gene Edward Veith, World)
Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman, a 21-year-old law student at Al-Azhar University, was critical of Muslims who rioted against Christians. (News24.com, South Africa)
Weblog: Where Is God in the Chaos?
The theodicy questions change as human depravity rears its ugly head in New Orleans. By Rob Moll.
Behind Barbed Wire
How a Nazi-soldier-turned-theologian found hope. By Philip Yancey.
to Win Friends and Influence Culture
A prominent Jewish human-rights activist praisesand pointedly counselsevangelicals. By Michael Horowitz.
If you're a conservative looking for a return to the good old days, you'll be disappointed with Roberts (Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post).
A fresh crop of Christian communities is blossoming in blighted urban settings all over America. By Rob Moll.
Holy and the Ivy
Intellectual skepticism persists in the Ivy League. Thankfully, so does a vibrant Christian faith. By Collin Hansen.
Chapel school sues University of California system
Calvary Chapel churches sure are making a lot of headlines this month. The latest is the Long Beach Press Telegram's report that Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta is suing the University of California system, alleging free speech and religious freedom violations.
Death Unsettles Nation
Can peace process work without the strong-arm Garang? By J. Carter Johnson, with Sue Sprenkle.
Can we be good without God? The question seems somehow abstract, a topic for Atlantic Monthly cover stories and college seminars more than practical applications. So here's another question: Can we keep our pants on? by Ted Olsen.
on the Family's newest focus is on AFA
Focus on the Family has called on its millions of followers to contact the White House with their concerns about new Air Force religious guidelines and urge President Bush to "restore the right to religious expression" (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)
apologizes for Chavez remarks
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, only hours after he denied saying Chavez should be killed (Associated Press)
not afraid to rock'
Christian bands gain secular appeal, aim to play as hard as they preach (Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, S.D.).
The paradoxical state of Christian colleges (World).
obligated to report graduate's molestation history?
One week after settling a lawsuit brought by the victim of one of its former students, Dallas Theological Seminary officials will go to court Monday to face another of that student's victims.
must root out evil from scriptures
The claim of exclusivity my truth is the only truth is the principal culprit that triggers most of the violence in holy books and the jealous nature of their god. We must strike that spurious claim and others like it from all belief systems. Ridding religion of exclusivity means a radical reinterpretation of some of the central tenets of religious belief (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post).
future without religion
Sam Harris's best selling book The End of Faith, Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason launches a major assault on organized religion and points to it as the source of many of the problems of the world today (Amsterdam Forum, Radio Netherlands).
on the Edge
Trapped on the side of a cliff, I had to reexamine the way I was living my life. by Kathleen Kolar.
Man Who Wouldn't Give Up
No matter how great the obstacles, William Carey expected great things and attempted great things. By Mark Galli.
ends 'armed campaign' but says it was 'entirely legitimate'
The long conflict in Northern Ireland has significant religious overtones, though the conflict itself is almost entirely over nationalism, and for the past several years the religious aspects have almost entirely been focused on peacemaking efforts.
question of nominee questions, no clear answer
History of hearings is decidedly mixed as senators prepare to probe Roberts's legal philosophy especially on Roe (The Washington Post)
course becomes a test for public schools in Texas
A religious advocacy group based in Greensboro, N.C., has been pressing a 12-year campaign to get school boards across the country to accept its Bible curriculum (The New York Times)
stem cell stance creates rift
Bush's reaction mild; religious conservatives say they're outraged. (Chicago Tribune)
is China's new social revolution
There may now be more practicing Christians in China than there are members of the Communist Party (The Telegraph, London)
Mormonism is global, but
is it a 'world religion'?
Twenty years ago, University of Washington sociologist Rodney Stark observed the phenomenal growth of Mormonism and declare that it would "soon achieve a worldwide following comparable to that of Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and the other dominant world faiths." (The Salt Lake Tribune)
test of faith
Bruce Nelson contracted dengue fever during a mission trip to India two years ago. Since then, he lost his job as an assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel Rialto. (San Bernardino Sun, Ca.)
God vs. Satan
Who's the better investor? (Slate)
The state of the church-state
Has Noah Feldman come up with a feasible compromise? (Alan Wolfe, Slate)
Church in America?
After $95 million in renovations, Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church opened this weekend with four packed services in the 16,000-seat former Compaq Center. Member Patricia Davis said she once saw ZZ Top perform in the stadium. "I was saved from that," she told The New York Times. Now, "With the waterfalls," she says, "this really feels like a sanctuary."
violence that lies in every ideology
Like most beliefs, Islam is a religion of peace that has to accept that it can also breed terror. All major faiths are the same. They can all offer help for different needs and agendas. Think of the muscular Christianity of imperialist, Victorian Britain (or, indeed, of contemporary America) or Hinduism's lunatic fringe. In Sri Lanka, even smiley, happy Buddhism has exacerbated one of the most vicious civil conflicts of our time. (The Observer, UK)
Muslim at 15, terror suspect at 19
When Germaine Lindsay, the 19-year-old man suspected of blowing up a subway train at Russell Square, took hold of Islam four years ago, he did so zealously, his friends say. (The New York Times)
Accused Of Burning Quran
Police have arrested Pakistani Christian Yousaf Masih after complaints he burned pages from the Quran. Insulting the Quran, Islam, or the Prophet Muhammad can be punishable with death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. (The Ledger, Fla.)
Pass on Yoga
How can I support a practice that is targeting the young and the weak? by Holly Vicente Robaina.
The animal symbols in Potterdom are powerful pointers to Christian reality. An excerpt from John Granger's Looking for God in Harry Potter.
Potter and the Pope
Pope Benedict XVI has taken aim at an unlikely target: Harry Potter. The pope has condemned the children's books as "subtle seductions" that have the potential to corrupt young Christians. (The Day, New London, Conn.)
church plans 'Christian Disneyland'
Tiny Floyd, Texas, reluctant home of global mission. (The Dallas Morning News)
The Da Vinci Code
So the divine Jesus and infallible Word emerged out of a fourth-century power-play? Get real.
the court get the establishment clause right?
Paul Finkelman and John C. Eastman debate the Ten Commandments decisions. (Legal Affairs)
exhibit introduces little-known Biblical land to U.S. public
Kings came from the East and brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus, the Bible says. All three are typical products of Yemen, whose ancient civilization is being introduced to Americans in a big exhibit of finds made since the mid-1900s. (Associated Press)
Protestants clash on Israel
A clash between evangelicals and mainstream Protestants on divestment from Israel marks what appears to be the groups' first direct confrontation over the Jewish state. (Baltimore Jewish Times)
Sainthood bid opens
for John Paul
The Catholic Church has launched the official process which may culminate in a sainthood for the late Pope John Paul II with a service in Rome. (BBC)
didn't intend to endorse Clinton
Evangelist's praise for senator at crusade just that, son says. (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)
Force school chief gives cadets rules
As 1,400 new cadets were welcomed at the Air Force Academy on Thursday, the chief of staff of the Air Force was reminding commanders that promoting their religious faiths is against regulations .(Associated Press)
Pentecostal Gold Standard
After 50 years in ministry, Jack Hayford continues to confound stereotypesall to the good. By Tim Stafford.
Short-Term Missions Good Stewardship?
More than two million teens go on such trips ever year, and giving may exceed that given to long-term missionaries. But is short-term ministry built to last? A conversation between Robert Priest and Kurt Ver Beek.
Stephen J. Patterson - Thirty years ago, almost no one was searching for the historical Jesus. Today, bookstore shelves are bursting with good books about him. What do they say about Jesus that we didnt know before?
City' theme park opens in Eilat
After four years of construction, the much anticipated "Kings City" biblical theme park opened in Eilat this week at an investment of NIS 162 million, bringing a unique concept in family entertainment to Israel. (The Jerusalem Post)
suspension of disbelief
Alister McGrath contends atheism was relevant and important for 200 years, but is now weary, frail and tediously eking out its last days as a significant philosophy, slain by postmodernism and resurgent spirituality. (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
Victorian Skeptics on the Road to Damascus
Former atheist Antony Flew's admission of the existence of God shocked believers and skeptics alike, but such a turnaround is far from unique. In the 19th century, many leading intellectuals who had once lost their faith ended up reconverting. By Timothy Larsen.
The American Family Association has ended its boycott of Disney after nine years and without achieving any of its objectives. The AFA had wanted "Disney to ban 'Gay Day' revelers from its theme parks and set up an advisory panel of evangelical Christians," Reuters reports. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/121/41.0.html.
by sign saying Quran "should be flushed"
The pastor of a small Baptist church has refused calls to take down a sign posted in front of his church reading "The Koran needs to be flushed," saying Tuesday he has nothing to apologize for. (Associated Press)
Trial over Italian
Controversial Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci is to face trial for allegedly insulting the Muslim faith in her latest book, a court in Italy says. (BBC)
Stop the masochistic insanity
The violent response to the report of "Quranic abuse" isn't about faith, it's about intolerance. It's essential that we understand the deep irrationality that underlies all faith and that can take these fetishistic forms. (Slate)
A slew of new books on faith and learning may signal a renaissance for the Christian college. By Michael S. Hamilton.
Deadly Riots Over Reported Qur'an Desecration See also Newsweek Apologizes for Quran Story Errors By DINO HAZELL, Associated Press Writer. NEW YORK - In an apology to readers this week, Newsweek acknowledged errors in a story alleging U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay desecrated the Quran. The accusations, which the magazine vowed to re-examine, spawned protests in Afghanistan that left 15 dead and scores injured.
Pastor Accused of Expelling Kerry Voters Quits
After national media attention over a confrontation with church members who supported Democrat John Kerry for President, East Waynesville (N.C.) Baptist Church pastor Chan Chandler resigned yesterday.
and Vietnam Reach Agreement on Religious Freedom
Hanoi promises privately to lift restrictions on Christians.
meets 'Jews for Jesus' follower
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, interested in shoring up his standing in the influential US Evangelical Christian community, met eight leading Evangelical figures Tuesday, including Jay Sekulow, a high profile Messianic Jew (The Jerusalem Post).
puts John Paul on fast track to sainthood
In a surprise announcement to priests in Rome, the Pope told them he had dispensed with Church rules that impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate's death before the procedure that leads to sainthood can even start (Associated Press).
Today: Who is James Dobson?
These are heady times for Dobson, who turned 69 last month and still puts in 12-hour days at the ministry he founded in 1977 (Associated Press).
effective as painkiller?
More than half of those who responded to a USA TODAY/ABC News/Stanford University Medical Center poll released Monday say they use prayer to control pain. Of those, 90% say it worked well, and 51% say "very well." (USA Today).
York's Museum of Biblical Art opens
The Museum of Biblical Art, one of the few in America to explore the theme, opens Thursday with a striking show of works on scriptural motifs by self-taught, Southern folk artists (Associated Press).
Wars Spirituality: Part 1
In his book, Catching Light: Looking for God in the Movies, author Roy M. Anker writes about finding meaning and morality in the intergalactic saga.
Search of the Real Balian
In the movie Kingdom of Heaven, Sir Ridley Scott turns Balian of Ibelin into an agnostic, but what do we know of the Balian of history? By Steven Gertz.
Why the world's most famous atheist now believes in God. By James A. Beverley.
the Pope Turned Me into an Evangelical
A Christianity Today associate editor recalls growing up Catholic in John Paul II's Poland.
Ever Okay to Pull a Feeding Tube?
An interview with Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity president John Kilner.
No More: Evangelicals Praise Pope
Most are unreserved in their praise on political, social, and even theological matters, but critique of papacy remains. Compiled by Ted Olsen.
of the Reformation's Success?
Reformation scholar Timothy George discusses Pope John Paul II's historical significance and this 'momentous' era of Catholic-evangelical dialogue. Interview by Collin Hansen.
Atheist psychiatrist argues that gays can change. Interview by Douglas LeBlanc.
Thousands of Muslims marched through Kampala city yesterday and declared a jihad (holy war) against the Domestic Relations Bill (DRB) 2003, which is yet to be enacted into law (New Vision, Uganda)
the use of Muslim law
The imposition of corporal punishment, stoning, and execution in the name of religious texts on an entire society is unacceptable. We must all condemn such repressive practices carried out without due legal process (Tariq Ramadan, The Boston Globe)
court expands conversion definition
Israel's Supreme Court agreed Thursday to recognize non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism partially performed in Israel, delivering a blow to the Orthodox monopoly over religious affairs in the country (Associated Press)
Fonda revisits past in new memoir
She's a "feminist Christian" now (Associated Press)
Welch to 50 Cent: 'You're a huge force for the Devil right now'
Ex-Korn guitarist releases lyrics to 'A Cheap Name,' which he calls 'personal letter from God' to 50 (MTV.com)
doll ready for market
Press button, hear figure repeat Scripture (Los Angeles Daily News)
Quick reviews of new books. Reviewed by Cindy Crosby.
students applying to America's religious colleges
For a growing number of such students, school choice is based on religion as well as academics (Voice of America)
of the Evangelical Conscience
Why don't Christians live what they preach? By Ronald J. Sider.
challenge: Grappling with life's limits, what it means to be human
Beyond a core, religious views about the Schiavo case vary widely (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
case highlights Catholic-evangelical alliance
Christians have found common cause in the "culture of life" agenda articulated by Pope John Paul II (The New York Times)
Is Ashley Smith's Hostage Story a Testimonial?
More than a story of faith and hope, this hostage practiced the Sermon on the Mount.
juice at the first Communion
As the Christian History magazine reminds us in its current issue, it wasn't until the 19th century that an alcohol-free swill could be produced from the "blood of the vine," to use a Biblical term (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)
Brown fakes the Shroud
Start with a piece of glass and some white oil paint (N. D. Wilson, Books & Culture)
Is Wrong, But Not Murderous
A Christian who left the Worldwide Church of God before it turned orthodox says the Living Church of God isn't responsible for Terry Ratzmann's rampage. By Mark A. Kellner
'Spiritual Windows' mix faith with rock 'n' roll
"There was no Web site call-in, like, 'We want more spiritual content,' but really just keeping an ear to the ground and trying to be tuned in to the world," says Kevin Mackall, the ponytailed 37-year-old senior vice president of on-air promos for MTV (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)
Another Reason Why Millions Is the Year's Best Film (So Far)
The family movie, like its hero, will help provide for the poor. Plus: IMAX theatres acknowledge creationists; Narnia lectures slated; Left Behind 3 on the way; and more. By Jeffrey Overstreet
partnership to digitize world's oldest known Bible
The Codex Sinaiticus dates back to the fourth century (24 Hour Museum)
philosopher at Notre Dame carves out intellectual room for God and miracles
In a scientific era, is it still possible to believe in God and such events as the Easter miracle of Jesus' resurrection from the grave? Can a rational person see God as both all-powerful and benevolent despite horrendous suffering in disasters like the Asian tsunami? From the perspective of philosopher Alvin Plantinga the answers are emphatic: yes and yes (Associated Press)
is awarded the Templeton Prize in spiritual matters
Dr. Charles Townes, a physicist who shared the Nobel Prize for helping to invent the laser, added another prize to a lifelong storehouse of honors (The New York Times)
The trick of faith is to believe in advance what will only make sense in reverse. By Philip Yancey.
Everyone wants to name the leaders of the evangelical movement. By Ted Olsen.
Author says Muslims are troubled by our morals more than our politics. Reviewed by J. Dudley Woodberry.
okays job training bill with faith provision
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved legislation on job training, despite Democratic objections to a provision that would allow faith-based programs to use religion as a hiring criterion (Reuters).
court seeks line between law, religion
Kentucky case brings hundreds to Washington (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.).
and sink 'em
What's the NAE really trying to say? (Kathryn Joyce & Jeff Sharlet, The Revealer).
visits BTK suspect in jail
On the same day he was fired from his job, the suspect in the BTK serial killings got assurances he will continue to be a member the church where he is a leader (Associated Press).
Welcome to Doomsday
Fundamentalists want to destroy the earth (Bill Moyers, New York Review of Books).
The greatest threat to liberty in Iraq is not international terrorism.
the humorous side of the Bible
Theology and Christian literature scholars gathering in Turin say the Old and New Testaments are riddled with humorous references and they are holding a three-day congress aiming to set the record straight (PA, U.K.)
Marcavage becomes just another guy with a bullhorn
"We are one of the very few countries that protect unpopular speech," Pennsylvania Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe declared today in dismissing charges against Repent America founder Michael Marcavage and three others accused of "ethnic intimidation," riot, and criminal conspiracy.
GOP must push judges through
Evangelist Pat Robertson indicated Tuesday that if Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist expects backing of religious conservatives for a possible 2008 presidential bid, he had better get President Bush's judicial nominees confirmed by the Senate, or at least voted on. (Associated Press)
Christian broadcasters convene,
revel in Bush victory
With millions of religious Americans pivotal in returning President Bush to the White House, Christian broadcasters gathered for their annual convention this week are loudly claiming credit for being the high-tech shepherds to that politically potent flock. (The New York Sun)
to Reach Evangelicals as Democratic Leader
But many are waiting to see if the DNC walk matches their talk. By Tony Carnes in Washington
Sloan's resignation doesn't mean secularism won the day. By Steve Moore
Muslim to head seminary
The Rev. Jerry Falwell has named Ergun Caner, a converted Sunni Muslim, to head the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary at Liberty University (The News & Advance, Lynchburg, Va.)
DA: No charges
at Peak to Peak
A mother said her eighth-grade daughter, who no longer attends Peak to Peak charter school, tried to kill herself as a way to escape religious bullying on the part of fundamentalist Christian classmates (Daily Times-Call, Longmont, Co.)
school board okays keeping Bible classes
Public elementary schools will continue to allow Bible classes during class time while the local school board conducts a one-year review to determine if criticism of the practice by some parents is valid (Associated Press)
touts divine with upcoming films
Constantine, Because of Winn-Dixie attract evangelicals (Pasadena Star-News, Ca.)
An engaging theologian questions the Jesus of modern scholars. Reviewed by Jeremy Lott.
Robert Alter's wonderful new translation and accompanying commentary to the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses or Jewish Torah, is in a class by itself (The Washington Times)
translation stirs gender debate
The release of a new Bible translation this week pushes to the forefront a hair-splitting debate among evangelical Christians. Depending on whom you ask, the Today's New International Version Bible is either a way to connect with a new generation or a paean to the feminist agenda (The Dallas Morning News)
lobbyists, a few focus on religious and moral issues
Like hundreds of other lobbyists homing in on the 2005 General Assembly, C. Douglas Smith has been scanning proposed legislation for bills that could benefit his narrow special interest. But few of his colleagues search as Smith does: through a lens of faith that hopes to achieve God's will through public policy. (The Virginian-Pilot)
evangelical group's power grows
In the second of two reports on the strong presence of evangelical Christianity in Colorado Springs, Colo.: How the organization Focus on the Family went from a small radio program dealing with family issues to an influential organization with its own political lobbying arm. (All Things Considered, NPR)
Sloan: 'It's Time for Someone New'
Controversial president to become university chancellor in June. By Deann Alford
The 20 Most-Read
Articles of 2004
The Passion and The Da Vinci Code top the list of subjects CT readers were most interested in last year.
Stone Afraid of the Bible?
The magazine is suddenly squeamish of religion. At least in one case. By Mark Moring.
Join NCC Alternative
Launch of broad church association around the corner. By Douglas LeBlanc.
throng Mecca for Haj
More than two million Muslim pilgrims began streaming out of Mecca towards Mena today, the first day of a Haj pilgrimage marked by grief over the Asian tsunami disaster and security fears. (The Hindu, India)
schools undermining society, alleges school chief
Muslim leaders are livid. On the heels of the report that a state-funded Islamic school in Bradford topped the league table of school with the best growth of their people, the head of Ofsted, David Bell accused Muslim faith schools of failing to prepare pupils for life and undermining British society. He claimed that the growth of schools offering an Islamic education posed a threat to stability. (Hindustan Times, UK edition)
faith in the law
Falwell wants students to preach through their practice (Richmond Times Dispatch, Va.).
power on campus
Naomi Schaefer Riley, an adjunct fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, has taken the measure of student attitudes, academic standards and campus life at more than a dozen religiously affiliated colleges and universities. God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America (New York Times).
Left Behind coauthor challenges Tyndale over the Last Disciple. The Last Disciple was coauthored by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer, and teaches that most prophecies in Revelation have already been fulfilled. By Jim Jones.
and suicide reviving claims of child abuse in cult
Growing up in the 1970's in a religious cult known around the world as the Children of God, Ricky Rodriguez was revered as "the prince." The group's leaders were his mother and stepfather, and they taught that their son would guide them all when the End Times came. (New York Times).
of God in tsunami disaster sparks emotions
How much, exactly, do you figure God cares? Indeed, how often does he actually dip in his finger - you know, take sides and really stir the pot? (Bill Johnson, Rocky Mountain News, Co.)