Religion Today Summaries, December 20, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, December 20, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • 'Adult Jesus' Takes Spotlight this Christmas Season Among General Public
  • Christians Arrested for Sharia Violations
  • Magazine Sees 'A New Counterculture' of Teenagers Who Choose Virginity, Credits Evangelicals and Cultural Conservatives
  • Christmas Crackdown in Moldova and Ukraine

'Adult Jesus' Takes Spotlight this Christmas Season Among General Public

(Charisma News) Public interest in Christ's teachings as an adult is outshining the traditional emphasis on the baby Jesus, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.  According to "The Christian Science Monitor," "the smattering of references to Jesus in pop culture this season suggests a post 9/11 interest in the grown-up Jesus and His teachings -- as opposed to an emphasis on the miraculous aspects of the story of the Bethlehem babe."  "I suspect that the manger is not going to get as much emphasis this year as the adult man or the message that He came to give -- to the extent those can be separated," commented Phyllis Tickle, author of "God-Talk in America" and contributing editor in religion at "Publishers Weekly."  She added that people are "trying to get at Him -- get at the heart of [Christianity]."  Tickle noted that many people are looking this Christmas season to learn more about Jesus and His teachings as confirmation of their beliefs.  "I think it's a struggle toward authenticity," Tickle said.  "We are in pursuit of our faiths right now."  www.charismanews.com

Christians Arrested for Sharia Violations

(Compass) Ninety-one Christians were jailed by the government in Nigeria for alleged violations of sharia, or Islamic law. Alhaji Mohammed Bida, chairman of the state’s Islamic enforcement board, stated that 182 police operations were carried out in three zones and that authorities imposed a total of 300,000 naira ($3,000) in fines against offenders. Fifty-one cases were still pending at press time. Most of the offenses related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages and sexual promiscuity. Bida expressed delight that the arrests led to the entrenchment of Islam in the state. In contrast, Governor Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa said he has ruled out the possibility of introducing the controversial sharia legal system in his state, explaining that Nasarawa has more diverse ethnic, cultural and religious affiliations than most of the northern states of Nigeria. “For now, I don’t see how we will start dissipating our energy on sharia. We already have enough problems to tackle,” Adamu said.   www.compassdirect.com

Magazine Sees 'A New Counterculture' of Teenagers Who Choose Virginity, Credits Evangelicals and Cultural Conservatives
Erin Curry & Polly House

(Baptist Press) More teens are "Choosing Virginity," as highlighted in a headline atop a cover story in Newsweek magazine Dec. 9.  "Visit any American high school and you'll likely find a growing number of students who ... have decided to remain chaste until marriage," Newsweek says of "this wave of young adults ... a new counterculture, one clearly at odds with the mainstream media and their routine use of sex to boost ratings and peddle product."  And, Newsweek acknowledges, the growing abstinence movement has been "largely fostered by cultural conservatives and evangelical Christians."  Among the statistics Newsweek quoted in its Dec. 9 issue regarding teens and sex:  More than one-third of U.S. high schools teach abstinence until marriage and 700 abstinence programs spread the news that sex can wait in all 50 states.  www.bpnews.net

Christmas Crackdown in Moldova and Ukraine
Stefan J. Bos
 
(ASSIST News) Many Christians in Ukraine must celebrate Christmas outside their church building and Moldova's evangelicals fear state interference, as officials across the ex-Soviet Union reportedly target churches during the festive season.  The apparent crack down in Ukraine came as in neighboring Moldova Christian leaders expressed concern about proposed legislation to be discussed by Parliament this month, which they say could threaten especially non-traditional churches.  The law, if adopted, is also expected to undermine missionary work and evangelism as only communities of at least 15 adult citizens can meet and spread their faith.  In addition foreign citizens coming to work in Moldova at the invitation of a registered religious community will require permission from the State Service before they enter the country, reported KNS, which has close knowledge about the legislation.  www.assistnews.net


 

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