Religion Today Summaries - August 29, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - August 29, 2005

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:

  • Newsweek Explores Spirituality In America

  • American Tract Society Launches Grass Roots Evangelical Outreach

  • Founder Claims Arkansas Creation Museum Combats Creeping Secularism

  • Bangladesh

Newsweek Explores Spirituality In America
Erin Curry, Baptist Press

The current issue of Newsweek magazine features a cover story titled "In Search of the Spiritual," an extensive look at the growing popularity of being "spiritual" rather than "religious" in America today. Writer Jerry Adler pegged his story on a 1966 issue of Time magazine which posed the question, "Is God Dead?" Adler concluded that instead of seeing God overtaken by technological advances that drown out His existence, America in the past generation has seen "a cycle of renewal that has played itself out many times since the Temple of Solomon ... a passion for an immediate, transcendent experience of God. And a uniquely American acceptance of the amazingly diverse paths people have taken to find it." Adler wrote, "Whatever is going on here, it's not an explosion of people going to church," adding that a Newsweek poll found 45 percent of Americans said they attend worship services weekly, essentially the same number (44 percent) reported by Time in 1966. The fastest growing category on surveys that ask people to give their religious affiliation is "none," he said, "but 'spirituality,' the impulse to seek communion with the Divine, is thriving." He said eight in 10 Americans, including 68 percent of evangelicals, believe that more than one faith can be a path to salvation.

American Tract Society Launches Grass Roots Evangelical Outreach
Religion News Service

Fueled by the past evangelical response of the 2004 political elections and the future Narnia Movie hype, the American Tract Society is calling on individual Christians everywhere and in every denomination to "Light Up The Night" this fall. "Light-Up-The-Night" is a totally new campaign by America's oldest tract ministry (1825) to get gospel presentations and Billy Graham-type messages into the hands and pockets of children and adults all over the country this October," reports Mark A. Brown, ATS Media representative. ATS is sparking evangelism efforts while promoting safety for children during one of the most controversial "holidays" of the year, Halloween. "It's not just Halloween night," states Dan Southern, ATS' President. "This year we are encouraging people in every denomination to distribute words of real hope and comfort (gospel tracts) to tens of thousands at church fall harvest festivals, Christian bookstores, and individual homes that will help "light up the night" this Halloween." Thousands of homes and churches will not just hand out candy and tracts, but have games, special lighting, fun activities, and many other suggested activities from the tract society. ATS is offering free downloadable resources and ideas on the featured website called www.light-up-the-night.org. And children can play a free web-based game on www.ATSkids.com.

Founder Claims Arkansas Creation Museum Combats Creeping Secularism
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A biblical creationism museum in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas is attracting thousands of visitors each month and gaining more notoriety by the day. The Museum of Earth History in Eureka Springs, which features several cast replicas of dinosaur fossils dug up in North America, is no typical creation exhibit. The museum is a joint effort of the Oklahoma-based Creation Truth Foundation and Eureka Springs' Great Passion Play Outdoor Bible Theme Park. Its founder, Dr. Thomas Sharp, says he hopes the facility will help Christian parents train up sons and daughters who are "Bible-believing, kingdom-minded" young men and women. Sharp observes that contemporary society is seeing "an incredible secularization" of Christian youth by the time they reach age 15, and he says extensive research convinces him that the process starts in the early elementary years. Sharp points out how believers have watched the faith of younger generations being eroded by this "dinosaur icon" and other ideas put forth by secular scientists for years. But according to Dr. Sharp, the Museum of Earth History in Eureka Springs is addressing the issue by presenting the creation message as never before, in both a biblical and scientific context that is garnering national attention.

Bangladesh
Charisma News Service

Two Christian health workers were recently hacked to death by Islamic extremists, according to police and local officials. On July 29, the militants broke into the home of Tapan Kumar Roy, 30, and Liplal Marandi, 35, at 2 a.m. and proceeded to stab and beat the two to death after chaining the doors shut to prevent their escape or rescue, Compass Direct reported. Roy and Marandi worked for Christian Life Bangladesh (CLB), a partner agency of Campus Crusade for Christ, and had spent the last eight months providing health awareness programs to locals and showing the "Jesus" film. The men reportedly had received death threats if they continued their work. So far, police have arrested two men in connection with the killings, Assist News Service (ANS) reported. This is the second murder of CLB workers. "We are seeing an increased trend towards persecution of Christians in Bangladesh, and the Christian community in America is concerned," said Thomas Abraham, vice president of Asia Campus Crusade for Christ. "We urge the Bengali government to bring the murderers to justice and uphold the Bangladesh Constitution which protects religious freedom." (www.charismanews.com)

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