Religion Today Summaries - March 17, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 17, 2006

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

  • Many Americans Unbalanced in Faith, Lifestyle, Says Study
  • The Extraordinary Revival in Nagaland
  • Astonishing New DNA Evidence Points to Eden, Reality of Adam & Eve
  • Pastor and Church Members Freed

Many Americans Unbalanced in Faith, Lifestyle, Says Study

Americans are largely committed to family – more than half listed that as their top priority, according to a recent study – but commitment to faith falls well under half the population who listed it as the most important priority in their life. A story in The Christian Post reports the latest Barna Group survey found that 51 percent of adults identified family as their first priority and only 16 percent listed faith, making it a runner-up. The survey was conducted on 1,003 adults aged 18 years and older from across the nation in January 2006. Among the different people groups measured, evangelicals were twice as likely as non-evangelical born again adults and almost five times more likely than notional Christians to place faith at the top of the list. Further in the study, however, the small percentage who placed faith as their highest life priority were among Americans who largely think of themselves as being highly spiritual. According to the survey, 59 percent of adults described themselves as a "full-time servant of God" but only 25 percent listed faith as their most important priority. And only one out of every four who consider themselves "deeply spiritual," ranked faith first. "Spirituality is in vogue in our society today," said George Barna. "It is popular to claim to be part of a 'faith community' or to have a spiritual commitment but what do Americans mean when they claim to be 'spiritual?'"

The Extraordinary Revival in Nagaland

Tim Phillips, a tall, wiry, long-distance runner from Iowa, has been visiting Nagaland (in NE India) each year since March of 1999. Now he wants American Christians to know more about the Naga Christians and to even invite them to their church. In an interview with ASSIST News, Phillips said that he wanted to introduce us to a Naga Christian leader that he says, has “a story and a testimony uncommon in our time... The Reverend Phughoto lives in Nagaland... This remote region known as ‘The Seat of Satan’ is surrounded by China, Myanmar and Bhutan. This phrase was coined due to the fact that it is the epicenter of the primary world religions of Hinduism, Communism, Buddhism and Islam. In the heart of this very dark land there is a people-group called the Nagas. Nagaland is politically a part of the country of India, but really is a separate indigenous group both culturally and ethnically. They are a rare jewel in the hand of our Lord. Over a hundred years ago the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached to the Nagas by an American missionary. When the missionary left, the Gospel and its effect on the people remained for over 100 years before missionaries returned. Today, 99% of Nagaland is Christian of a population of 2 million.”

Astonishing New DNA Evidence Points to Eden, Reality of Adam & Eve

The question of human origins has been one of the most hotly contested debates of our time. Did human beings emerge through evolutionary processes from ape-like ancestors or are we a special creation? According to a Christian Wire Service release, answers to this question and many others are discussed in the best-selling new book by Dr. Fazale ‘Fuz’ Rana, Who Was Adam?  Dr. Rana presents cutting-edge discoveries about the human fossil record, ‘junk’ DNA, Neanderthals, and the connections between humans and primates. “Recent genetic and archeological findings show that human beings did not evolve from ape-like creatures,” contends Rana. “With the discovery of what scientists have aptly named Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, new genetic and DNA evidence with the fossil record show very clearly that modern humans are not related to previously existing hominids as once believed. There is astonishing new evidence to support the position that homo sapien sapiens exploded onto the scene less than 100,000 years ago from a single man and a single woman. Even more astounding is that scientists now know that human origins had their beginning in a particular geographical area — the same area identified by most biblical scholars as the physical location of the Garden of Eden.

Pastor and Church Members Freed

After nearly a month in jail in Rajasthan, India, a Gospel for Asia missionary and several other Christians have been released after being charged with the murder of a child, GFA reports. Although their court case is still pending, the news was welcomed with rejoicing by the GFA family worldwide. A 16-month-old child had been suffering from a prolonged illness and was under medical care. When the child died, a group of Hindu fundamentalists saw an opportunity to place the blame on local Christians, including GFA missionary Kasota, who has planted a church in the area. Apparently, members of the group advised the parents to dash their dead child's body against some rocks, breaking its bones. They then took the body to a doctor for a post-mortem examination. Under pressure from the extremist group, he reluctantly filed a false report, citing murder as the cause. After the parents filed charges, Pastor Kasota and nine other church members were arrested and imprisoned. The case was initially brought before a judge this weekend, who released the Christians. However, the ongoing court case against Pastor Kasota and his church members is reason to persist in prayer.