An Australian Pentecostal group is claiming its youth ministry, which boasts members as young as 13 years old, is able to heal people suffering from a magnitude of different illnesses, ranging from sprained wrists to cancer and multiple sclerosis.
The group from the Bridgeman Downs Christian Outreach Center, called "Culture Shifters," has a number of videos that shows team members in action, calling on the power of God to heal people with various afflictions, and apparently seeing results – while not all experience miraculous recoveries on the spot, even some skeptics admit to feeling a positive effect.
The Culture Shifters leaders, pastors Grant Shaw, 27, and wife Emma, 23, show how they minister in a video of Shaw attempting to heal Anthony Gough, a reporter from the Sunday Mail who identifies himself as a skeptic. At the start of the video, Gough explains that he only has 10 percent vision in his right eye and is considered legally blind. Shaw checks out the reporter's vision by having him take a few tests, and then recites a prayer to God for the healing of Gough's retina while placing his hands on the reporter's head. more >>
Australia's most senior-ranked Catholic clergyman has apologized for saying Jews were intellectually and morally inferior during a debate last week with popular atheist Richard Dawkins in which the two discussed religion and science. Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, who says his points during the debate were poorly made, also drew attention for suggesting Germans suffered more greatly than the Jews due to the Holocaust.
Cardinal Pell issued a statement following the ABC television debate, in which he called the Holocaust "a crime unique in history for the death and suffering it caused and its diabolical attempt to wipe out an entire people."
He also said, "My reference to 'morally' was interrupted, but as I would never describe the Jewish people at any stage as morally inferior to their pagan neighbors, I was attempting to establish a counter poise to my earlier comment when interrupted." more >>
Atheist Richard Dawkins is in Australia this week for the Global Atheist Convention which started in Melbourne on Good Friday, and on Monday night the academic faced up against Archbishop of Sydney George Pell, the highest ranked clergyman in Australia, in a televised debate on faith and religion.
Pell, the Australian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in Australia, who has served in his position since 2001, took on Dawkins in a Q&A session hosted by ABC TV. Journalist Tony Jones moderated the debate, which he predicted would be an intense encounter between the two prominent figures.
The battle to save New Zealand's 131-year-old Christchurch Cathedral seems to have been lost as officials have said earthquake damage has rendered what is left of the structure too unstable – but the city's councilor has threatened to chain himself to the building to prevent it from being demolished.
The historic Anglican church, which dominated the city's central square, was one of the many buildings that received extensive damage in the Feb. 2011 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which killed 185 people, badly damaged the city and leveled 6,000 homes. The total cost of repairing the city, New Zealand's second largest, also known as the Garden City for its colorful gardens and parks and English-style stone buildings, is estimated to be no less than $16.5 billion, Reuters reported.
Some, like Mayor Bob Parker, have described the decision to demolish the house of worship as "heartbreaking," even if there was no way around it. more >>
Atheists attending future conferences and rallies geared toward their unbelief may be handed reading material aimed directly at changing their hearts, namely a 12-page tabloid produced by a semi-retired pastor from Melbourne, Australia.
Dennis Prince, co-founder of Kingston City Church in Clarinda, said he will be distributing his publication, The Regal Standard, at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne planned for April, according to Australian news publication The Age.
The lead story in the Regal Standard's first issue is about "the world's most notorious atheist," philosopher Antony Flew, described in The Age article as "one of the 20th century's most influential atheists." The front-page headline, published in the typical tabloid style of large-letter font, is "I WAS WRONG," and the story refers to Flew changing his mind about the existence of God. more >>
In an unconventional move, a pastor of an Australian Church has placed two signs reading "OMG" (Oh My God) on the outside of his Church, attracting the attention of the local community and sparking an Internet frenzy.
The Rev. Howard Langmead of St Paul's Anglican Church, located on Dandenong Road in Caulfield North, Australia, said that the church chose to post two billboards donning the phrase around its premises to "catch attention and be unexpected."
"People forget what they are actually saying when they say 'OMG'," the Rev. Langmead told the Port Phillip Leader. The term "OMG" is used in popular culture as an abbreviation for the exclamation "Oh My God," which many Christians traditionally see as offensive, as it uses the Lord's name in vain. more >>