Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 6, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 6, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Survey: More Canadians Believe in Heaven than in Hell
  • Somali Militants Chase Christians Who Flee
  • Smaller Churches Starting Satellite Campuses
  • Report of Aid Workers' Deaths in Pakistan May Be False

Survey: More Canadians Believe in Heaven than in Hell

More than half of Canadians believe in an afterlife of heaven, but they're not so keen on the idea of hell, a new survey shows. Less than a third of Canadians believe in some kind of posthumous punishment. reports that the survey by Carleton University Survey Centre and the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies shows the nation does "tend to believe in a higher power," says ACS executive director Jack Jedwab. "We're not, by and large, a God-denying country," he continued, noting that just seven per cent of respondents expressed unequivocal disbelief in the idea of an all-powerful deity overseeing the affairs of the world. About 30 percent of survey respondents agreed with the statement: "I know God really exists and I have no doubts."

Somali Militants Chase Christians Who Flee

Mission News Network reports that Somalia's Islamist militants are taking the persecution of Christians abroad. One Somali Christian who left his country five years ago was attacked by alleged al Shabaab militants in Ethiopia on Aug. 21, according to Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC). Two men attacked Mohamed Ali Garas, a pastor and convert from Islam, beating him severely. VOMC's Greg Musselman says these types of incidents are increasingly unsettling. He says it shows "they [extremists] are not just leaving it back home; they're taking it wherever they find these people that have converted to Christ from an Islamic background." He says the attacks are - unfortunately - not surprising. "When you understand a little bit of the group like al Shabaab... you're not surprised that they will go to any length. They're thinking is that 'the only kind of a Somali Christian is a dead one.'"

Smaller Churches Starting Satellite Campuses

As multisite churches gain in popularity, the new church model is being adopted by smaller and smaller churches. A new survey released by Leadership Network says that multisite churches are "mainstreaming," even if they were first pioneered by megachurches. The Christian Post reports an estimated 3,000 multisite churches now exist in the U.S. One in four of those surveyed were in churches whose total worship attendance is less than 1,000. The median size today for a multisite church is 1,300 attendees. Among the surveyed churches, 43 percent said they experienced a growth of over 50 percent in attendance in the first year. Sixteen percent experienced the same growth in the second year. Currently, average attendance at satellite sites across all the surveyed churches is 361 people.

Report of Aid Workers' Deaths in Pakistan May Be False

A report of three Christian aid workers being killed by the Taliban in Pakistan has yet to be confirmed and could be false, according to Baptist Press. Compass Direct reported Aug. 27 that the aid workers -- reportedly in the country to assist in flood relief -- were killed after their vehicle was attacked and they were kidnapped Aug. 23. Compass Direct quoted Pakistan Swat District Coordination Officer Atif-ur-Rehman, who claimed the bodies were recovered Aug. 25. The organization that employed the workers requested that the organization's name and the workers' names be withheld, Compass reported, "for security reasons." But the U.S. embassy in Pakistan is denying it has received any bodies, and the Pakistani government and army also have not confirmed the report, reported Sept. 2. Compass quotes Rizwan Paul, president of the advocacy organization Life for All, as saying the bodies had been sent to Islamabad "under the supervision of the Pakistan Army." Paul stood by the story.