Religion Today Summaries - May 25, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 25, 2007

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

  • American Christianity: Laodicean Church in the Making, Says Barna
  • Dalit Christians in India Hopeful of Winning Rights
  • Turkish Press Leaks Murder Suspect’s ‘Secret’ Deposition
  • Many Teens Confused on Eternity

American Christianity: Laodicean Church in the Making, Says Barna reports that more than 20 years of research, according to The Barna Group, has revealed a disturbing trend among Americans' spiritual beliefs and behavior: their commitment to orthodox biblical perspectives is "slipping." The director of a recent Barna study says the findings reflect a "spiritual profile" among Americans similar to that of the early church at Laodicea -- a church which Jesus admonished for being "neither hot nor cold" and called to repentance. Every year, The Barna Group explores the "state of America's faith," examining such factors as people's spiritual activity, faith identity, commitment, and religious perspective. This year's poll of more than 1,000 adults (conducted in January) indicates that while Americans are remaining spiritually active, the percentage of those who hold orthodox biblical views has fallen to its lowest level in decades. "They've actually become less orthodox, less traditional," Barna's David Kinnaman tells Associated Press.

Dalit Christians in India Hopeful of Winning Rights

A report of an advisory panel favoring affirmative action benefits for Dalit converts to Christianity has raised the hopes of India’s 16 million lowest-caste believers as they await a Supreme Court hearing in July, Compass Direct News reports. The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) has recommended repeal of a clause in the Indian Constitution entitling only Dalits from Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism to governmental affirmative action, the national daily The Times of India reported yesterday (May 22). The NCRLM, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Rangnath Mishra and known as Mishra Commission, also called the denial of rights to Dalits after their conversion out of Hinduism “violative of constitutional guarantee of non-discrimination on religious grounds.” Dr. Joseph D’Souza, president of the All India Christian Council (AICC), told Compass, “We are one step closer to justice for all Dalits,” adding that action on the report could “reverse the decades of religious-based discrimination against the lowest-strata in society.”

Turkish Press Leaks Murder Suspect’s ‘Secret’ Deposition

Turkish newspapers have started leaking extensive details from secret police interrogations of the last of five suspects charged with murdering three Christians in Malatya last month. In one leak, accused killer Emre Gunaydin allegedly told police investigators that he had planned to murder another Protestant pastor after the Malatya attack, Compass Direct News reports. Two Turkish converts to Christianity and a German Christian were bound hand and foot, tortured with multiple stab wounds and had their throats cut on April 18 at the Zirve Publishing office in Malatya, in southeastern Turkey. The victims were Pastor Necati Aydin, 36; Ugur Yuksel, 32; and Tilmann Geske, 46. The ritual slayings appeared to be a deliberate observance of the Quranic instruction to “strike terror into the hearts of unbelievers” by smiting them above the neck and striking every finger (Surah 8:12). The victims’ fingertips were sliced repeatedly and their windpipes and esophagi severed.

Many Teens Confused on Eternity

Results from a LifeWay Research study of teenagers indicates that many teens are confused about what it takes to get to heaven, Baptist Press reports. More than 1,000 teens were surveyed in January and February 2007 by mail questionnaire. These results are compared to an identical survey conducted in 2005. Each sample consisted of 12- to 19-year-olds. Results show that 69 percent of teens believe heaven exists. Also, a majority strongly agree with the traditional Christian belief in Jesus Christ's death for their sins as the reason they will go to heaven (53 percent). While many teens believe they will go to heaven because of their belief in Jesus Christ, one-quarter trust in their own kindness to others (27 percent) or their religiosity (26 percent) as their means to get to heaven. Out of the 69 percent of the teens who strongly or somewhat agree they will go to heaven because Jesus Christ died for their sins, 60 percent also agree that they will go to heaven because they are religious and 60 percent also agree they will go to heaven because they are kind to others. That leaves approximately 28 percent of American teenagers who are trusting only in Jesus Christ as their means to get to heaven.