Religion Today Summaires - Feb. 22, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaires - Feb. 22, 2008

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

  • Oxford to Study Faith in God
  • Eritrea Releases Christians Arrested from House Church
  • Thomas Nelson's Bible Group First to Go Eco-Friendly
  • Shooting Kills Sri Lankan Pastor; Wife Critically Injured

Oxford to Study Faith in God

An Associated Press story carried on indicates that England's Oxford University will spend nearly $4 million to research why mankind embraces God. Anthropologists, theologians, philosophers and other academics will come together for three years to study whether belief in a divine being is a basic part of mankind's makeup. "There are a lot of issues. What is it that is innate in human nature to believe in God, whether it is gods or something superhuman or supernatural?" said Roger Trigg, acting director of the Ian Ramsey Center for Science and Religion. According to Trigg, anthropological and philosophical research suggests that faith in God is a universal human impulse. Oxford's Ramsey Center received a grant for the study from the John Templeton Foundation, a U.S.-based philanthropic organization.

Eritrea Releases Christians Arrested from House Church

Security police authorities in Eritrea released 35 evangelical Christians in the port city of Massawa over the weekend after holding them in custody for six weeks at a local police station. All the jailed Protestants were members of the government-banned Faith of Christ Church. The 35 men and women had been worshipping in a private home on January 6 when security officials raided the house and arrested those present. The group was denied visitation rights while in police custody, although official charges were never filed against them. According to Protestant sources inside Eritrea, the Massawa Christians were released on Saturday morning February 16, Compass Direct News reports.

Thomas Nelson's Bible Group First to Go Eco-Friendly

Thomas Nelson, Inc. has announced that its Bible group is in the beginning stages of discontinuing the use of synthetic covers on their Bible products. Although the transition will begin immediately, due to production schedules, some products releasing in the coming months may still include these materials. Customers can expect to find significant eco-friendly Bible offerings in stores come early 2009. The move marks Thomas Nelson as the first Bible publisher to announce a complete transition to environmentally conscious Bible bindings and practices. "As a publisher of Bibles for over 200 years, Thomas Nelson has always striven to bring Scripture into people's lives while also addressing their evolving needs and concerns. We're happy to be leading the way in providing environmentally friendly Bibles in keeping with the concerns of today's consumers," commented Wayne Hastings, Senior Vice President and Group Publisher for Thomas Nelson's Bible Group.

Shooting Kills Sri Lankan Pastor; Wife Critically Injured

Late last Sunday February 17, two men gunned down a Sri Lankan pastor, the Rev. Samson Neil Edirisinghe, 37, killing him instantly. They also shot his wife Shiromi, 31, leaving her in critical condition. The couple’s 2-year-old son received minor injuries and was still in shock after witnessing the shooting. Initial evidence suggested the murder was a contract killing connected to Edirisinghe’s ministry in Ampara. “Unfortunately the police and government are trying to hide the truth, as if it becomes known that a Buddhist monk was behind this, it will be a very bad thing for Sri Lanka,” a pastor from Colombo told Compass Direct News. “Now they are trying to say this is due to the conflict in Sri Lanka and trying to put the blame on the [rebel] Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.”