April 4, 2007

World News 3

The Adventist Review shares the following world news from Religion News Service as a service to readers. Opinions expressed in these reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Review or the Seventh-day Adventist Church. -- Editors

Poll: 'He is Risen,' They Still Say

BY MICKEY NOAH                                                                                                             ©2007 Baptist Press
capIt may surprise many, but 75 percent of the Americans who say they are not born-again Christians still believe the biblical account of Jesus literally coming back to life in his physical body, according to recent research by the North American Mission Board's (NAMB) Center for Missional Research.

A less surprising result of the study is that nearly 100 percent of those identifying themselves as born-again Christians believe in the resurrection of Jesus.

"It really stunned us to learn that 75 percent of those Americans claiming not to be born-again still believe in the resurrection," said Phillip Connor, research missiology manager for the Center for Missional Research. The CMR data was collected from a random sample of 1,204 adults across the United States. The interviews were conducted by the polling firm of Zogby International on behalf of the NAMB center.

"It also surprised us that 59 percent of those who rarely darken the church doors, and 39 percent of those who never attend church, neverthelesss still believe in the literal resurrection of Christ," said Connor.  

To read the rest of this story, click here.       

Amish School Reopens Six Months After Shooting Deaths
BY CARRIE CASSIDY                                                                                                         ©2007 Religion News Service
Some carrying lunch pails, and all bundled against the cold, Amish children walked to their new school in Lancaster County on April 2, six months to the day after a gun-toting neighbor walked into their old schoolhouse and shot 10 students, killing five.
Aside from reporters and several marked and unmarked state trooper cruisers, there was no hint of the nightmare they experienced at the hands of milk truck driver Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, who lived a mile or so away from the Nickel Mines Amish School.
Authorities believe Roberts had planned to first molest and then murder Amish schoolgirls, but when police arrived quickly he started shooting the children immediately.
Police say he apparently was haunted by a memory of having molested relatives 20 years earlier and was angry at God for the death of his infant daughter in 1997. The Amish community demolished the old schoolhouse to erase a reminder of the horror experienced there.
Four of the five girls who were shot Oct. 2 have returned to the new school, called New Hope Amish School. The fifth, a 6-year-old, needs a feeding tube and is not able to communicate, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. Lawmakers Issue a `Call to Prayer for America'
BY PHILIP TURNER                                                                                                    ©2007 Religion News Service   
For one group of congressmembers, the buck doesn't stop at the Capitol or the White House: It stops with God.
The Congressional Prayer Caucus, formed in 2005 by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., on March 28 asked Americans to pray for five minutes weekly for the benefit of the United States. The caucus, made up of 38 lawmakers from both parties, has a new Web site, www.prayercaucus.org, where people can sign up for a five-minute block of time each week to pray for the nation. The goal--a "call to prayer for America"--is to have Americans praying for their country 24 hours a day, according to the group's charter.
"Our newspapers, televisions, and computers are overwhelmed with negative voices. We have become cynical and lost credibility in many of our institutions," said Forbes. "We hope that God will hear our prayers and heal our land."
Said Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.: "We deal with all kinds of problems in Congress, but I'm still like a little kid in Sunday school. Jesus is always the answer."
The prayer caucus members are all Christians--one, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., is senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City--but they urged people of all faiths and political persuasions to join in prayer for the nation, especially during the war in Iraq.
"Prayer knows no political boundaries," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. "These are anxious times for our nation, but we are called by God not to be anxious."
The Rev. Barry Lynn, head of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said lawmakers should "stick to their constitutional duties and leave religious decisions to individuals. "Religion is too important to become a political football," Lynn said.
Report Says Only 10 Percent of Britons Attend Church
BY AL WEBB                                                                                                              ©2007 Religion News Service
An in-depth survey by a British charity indicates that more than half of Britain's adults claim to be Christian, but only one in 10 regularly attends weekly church services.
Tearfund, a Christian relief and development charity, said its poll of some 7,000 men and women over the age of 16 suggests that Christianity remains the dominant faith in Britain, with 53 percent--26.2 million--of the adult population adhering to its beliefs.
But those figures from 2006 also represent a sharp decline from the last British census in 2001, when nearly three-quarters of adults identified themselves as Christian.
The poll, "Churchgoing in the UK," indicates that only 7.6 million adults in a nation with a total population of more than 60 million go to church each month, and only one in 10 attends each week. Two-thirds of those polled said the only times they had gone to church during the year were for occasional weddings, baptisms, and funerals.
By contrast, a Gallup Poll from late March found that 29 percent of Americans attend church weekly; 24 percent attend at least once a month, and 44 percent seldom or never attend.
But in a somewhat surprising finding, Tearfund said on April 3 that it found some 3 million adults who either had stopped going to church or had never gone who would consider attending if given the "right invitation." It said "a personal invite, a family or a friend attending, or difficult personal circumstances are most likely to encourage people into church."
"The church for a lot of people is a very strange place these days," conceded Tearfund president Elaine Storkey, who also lectures in theology at Oxford University. "They are not familiar with what's going on inside the building, with the form of service, with the way people gather, with what they say, how they pray."
Keith Porteous, executive director of the National Secular Society, told the BBC that the survey "shows that two-thirds of the UK population have no connection with the church" and that Britain itself has become an "overwhelmingly" secular society.