A book set to be released Wednesday titled, The Lost Gospel, is claiming that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and had two children, but a number of religious scholars have dismissed the controversial assertions.
York University (Canada) professor Barrie Wilson and documentarian Simcha Jacobovici reportedly spent six years working on the book, which is based on a 1,500 year-old Aramaic manuscript they say they found in a British library.
Mark Goodacre, a professor of religious studies at Duke University, rejected the way the text has been presented, however. more >>
Uganda is preparing to introduce new anti-homosexuality legislation that will punish the promotion of unnatural acts, a government minister revealed. Gay activists are calling the proposed law even more draconian than the one that was annulled in August and condemned by human rights groups, because it imposed prison sentences for aggravated homosexuality, and having sex with a minor while HIV positive.
BBC News reported on Monday that the minister, who wasn't named, explained that although the proposed law will not explicitly refer to homosexuality, it will rely on a penal code that punishes "unnatural acts" with life sentences.
Same-sex relations in Uganda are illegal, but in 2013 there were significant attempts to pass a bill that punished repeated gay acts with the death penalty. more >>
Brad Pitt's new WWII film Fury is violent, vulgar, maybe not entirely realistic, but also inspirational. He's a veteran tank commander pushing against heavy German resistance during the war's final days. Inflicted with a dangerously raw recruit for his experienced tank team, Pitt compels him to shoot a German prisoner caught wearing an American's coat. Trying to harden the young clerk typist, at one point he points to a burning German village, and he explains that the reality of the world is violence. Later, having passed the corpses of German civilians, including children, hanged by the SS for refusing to resist the Allies, Pitt orders the shooting of a captured SS officer whom a civilian identifies as the culprit.
Amusingly, one of Pitt's tank crewmembers that likes to quote Scripture (and use the F word) confronts the new recruit with, "Are you saved?" The young novice responds, "I am baptized," provoking the Bible quoter accurately to surmise, "You're a Mainline Protestant, aren't you?" It turns out later that the Pitt character also knows the Bible, chapter and verse, which is likely true for the real Pitt, who hails from a Pentecostal background.
The day after watching Fury I sat at a luncheon next to a distinguished 91-year-old retired U.S. Army general that as a young officer commanded an infantry platoon in France and Germany during the war's final year. I told him about the movie scene in which Pitt compelled shooting a German prisoner. The old General recalled some of his men didn't want to take prisoners but as an officer it was his duty to restrain him. I also asked if soldiers then used the F word like a machine gun as most modern movies like Fury portray. Absolutely not, he insisted, they sometimes cussed but not like that. I asked if he knew before the war's end how evil the Nazis really were. He said no, they were just enemies who needed killing, until his unit came across one of the death camps. more >>
Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church recently shared that he believes that Christians for too long have been putting unnecessary focus on telling people what not to do instead of simply asking people to "follow Jesus" in order to make disciples.
Noble, claiming that tax collectors and sinners were viewed as "scum of the earth" in first century Palestine during Jesus' time, insisted that still today, "All of us, whether we want to admit it or not, we have certain categories that we label people in, as far as sinners."
The founding and senior pastor of the multi-campus NewSpring Church in South Carolina spoke on the topic of Christian Civility for The Nines 2014 online conference last week, which was themed "Culture Clash: When Church and Culture Collide." more >>
Churches and other places of worship in Sierra Leone are some of the last public places relatively safe from the Ebola virus where people can gather, according to a new report. The infection rates in the West African country have meanwhile continued to rise, hitting record levels.
"We will overcome Ebola through the blood of Christ, with His help, and with prayer," pastor Olatunji Oseni told his congregation on Sunday at Winners Chapel megachurch in the Freetown, AFP reported.
Although most public gatherings in Sierra Leone, including sports games, concerts, schools and movies, are deemed off limits due to the Ebola threat, believers are still going to churches or mosques. According to the CIA World Factbook, 10 percent of the country's population are Christians, while another 60 percent are Muslims. more >>
Over one million Germans and people from around the world celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Sunday, associated also with the end of the Cold War. Seven thousand illuminated helium balloons that traced the outline of the wall that once divided the city were released into the night sky to symbolize the demonstrations in 1989.
"We're the happiest people in the world and we're thrilled that you brought the Berlin Wall down 25 years ago," declared Berlin's Mayor Klaus Wowereit, according to Reuters. "Nothing and no one can stand in the way of freedom."
Musical performances and festivities attracted more than a million people to the German capital. They were treated to the Berlin Staatskapelle orchestra playing Beethoven's 9th Symphony "Ode to Joy" at the symbolic Brandenburg Gate; Peter Gabriel performing a rendition of "Heroes," as well as several other performances from German artists. more >>