Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 10, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 10, 2008

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

  • Churches Close Doors to Serve Communities
  • Europeans More Religious Than Assumed, Survey Suggests
  • Sri Lanka: Civil War Hides Anti-Christian Pressure
  • New Bibles Cater to Ever-Changing Culture

Churches Close Doors to Serve Communities

As the worsening economy continues to make life difficult for families across the country, churches are putting their faith into action by closing their doors to help serve their neighbors in need, ASSIST News Service reports. According to a news release, this year the event will take place on Sun. Oct. 12. About 300 churches nationwide comprising some 36,000 Americans will participate. Congregations do service projects in conjunction with their local community. The program also helps Christians invite members of their community to join in serving together. Since Sept. 2007, Faith in Action has advocated that churches should cancel Sunday services, close their doors and “Be the Church” by leading local community service projects. The Faith in Action program bridges the gap between families who could use a helping hand this year - and churches who have the extra hands to offer help.

Europeans More Religious Than Assumed, Survey Suggests

Christian Post reports that how religious Europeans are depends on where you are in Europe. Based on comparable data from seven European countries, religion is strongest in Italy (89 percent) and Poland (87 percent) - both heavily Roman Catholic countries - and weakest in secular France (54 percent), according to German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Religion Monitor study. "This survey looked for the first time at religiosity, rather than just institutional affiliations and self-perceptions,” Jaeger said. “It shows the situation is highly complex; Europeans are much more religious than is often assumed." Of those surveyed, 74 percent said they are religious. Nonetheless, faith doesn't necessarily affect political views or even sexuality; 58 percent said religion doesn't affect their politics, while 48 percent said religion has little effect on their sexuality.

Sri Lanka: Civil War Hides Anti-Christian Pressure

Mission News Network reports that as civil violence increases in Sri Lanka, so does the pressure to keep quiet. "There's a lot of pressure against believers in Sri Lanka not to be bold in their witness, to stay out of sight, and not challenge the authorities there. Buddhist monks are involved in the attacks. They're leading the mob; they feel like their power is waning," said Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs. At least two churches have been destroyed in the last two months, and anti-conversion legislation may be in the works as well. "Christians have to decide, 'Am I going to follow the Scriptural mandate to talk about my faith, to invite others to be in fellowship with Christ, or am I going to be intimidated and be silent?'" Nettleton said.

New Bibles Cater to Ever-Changing Culture

The Associated Press reports that newest editions of the Bible are no longer new translations, but new forms. One Bible has taken the high-gloss magazine look and features pictures of figures like Angelina Jolie. "In general, Bible publishers have always been creative, but now they are scrambling to meet a culture where people are moving away from print reading," said Paul Gutjahr, an associate professor of English and adjunct associate professor in religious studies at Indiana University. According to the AP, Bible sales can be expected to grow during economic crises, an expectation that has prompted secular as well as traditional Bible publishers to vamp up their efforts for a generation that is abandoning print media. In addition to electronic Bibles, keep an eye out for graphic novel and comic book renderings, as well as a chronological version due out this fall.