There is a growing refrain among non-theists: reading the Bible made me an atheist. Commonly, they point to difficult to understand Old Testament passages, including ones where God allows the death and destruction of humanity as He did with the flood in Genesis and bloody wars against the Canaanites detailed in Deuteronomy.
"Contemporary Christians have had a difficult time trying to come to grips with what they find in the Old Testament, especially those narratives that recount the destruction of whole groups of people by the acts of God," said Thomas Howe, a professor of Bible and Biblical Languages at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews, North Carolina. "Non-Christians capitalize on this and attempt to undermine our faith by calling into question either the goodness of God or even His existence."
A challenge that some non-theists use to undermine the Christian faith is if God is so loving, why does He kill people or why does He encourage His people to commit genocide. more >>
President Barack Obama met on Wednesday with Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned Pastor Saeed Abedini, and their two children in Boise, Idaho. Abedini said that she had been praying a long time for such a meeting, while Obama promised the family to do all he can to bring the pastor home.
"I am extremely thankful the president took the time to meet with our family and told us that securing the release of my husband is a top priority," Naghmeh Abedini said following the meeting.
"The president was focused and gracious — showing concern to me and my children. I know that this meeting could not have occurred without prayer, and I am grateful to the many people around the country and world who continue to pray for Saeed's release. The president repeated his desire to do all that he can to bring Saeed home. That means the world to me and my children and has given me a renewed sense of hope." more >>
The United Nations warned on Tuesday that ISIS militants are executing educated women within the territories it controls, reporting that the militants have already executed three female lawyers this month.
UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters that numerous women living in ISIS strongholds, especially in the Iraqi city of Mosul, have recently been killed by ISIS militants and added that educated women are especially in danger.
"Educated, professional women, particularly women who have run as candidates in elections for public office seem to be particularly at risk," Shamdasani said. "In just the first two weeks of this year, reports indicated three female lawyers were executed." more >>
In response to the growing threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group, the royal family of Saudi Arabia is having a 600-mile barrier constructed to completely block the Iraqi portion of the Saudi northern border, hoping to prevent ISIS militants from infiltrating the kingdom.
The planned fence structure will span the entire distance of the Iraq-Saudi border, from Jordan to Kuwait. The border barrier system will feature five layers of barbed wire fencing, a ditch, a patrol road, 240 rapid response vehicles, underground motion sensors, 40 watchtowers, radar, day/night cameras, seven command centers, 28 communication towers, 32 military response stations (equipped with helipads), and three rapid intervention teams. The entire system will also be connected through a fibre-optic communications network.
The idea for the "great wall" was first proposed during the height of the United States' invasion of Iraq in 2006. But, construction on the barrier did not begin until last September, after the Islamic State conquered large swaths of the neighboring Anbar province in Iraq. more >>
Officials in Afghanistan have confirmed that the Islamic State terrorist group is present and active in the country's southern region, flying its black flags, recruiting fighters and even fighting against forces from another radical Islamic extremist group, the Taliban.
The Times of London reports that sources within the Afghanistan government have confirmed the group's existence in the southern Helmand province. General Mahmood Khan, deputy commander of the Afghan army's 215 corps, said that numerous residents have attested that they've seen ISIS representatives actively recruiting fighters.
Khan also said that he was told by many of the residents that the ISIS recruitment operation in Afghanistan is run by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mullah Abdul Rauf, who is actively offering prospective fighters decent wages if they fight for the caliph. more >>
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has accepted an invitation by Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend a ceremony in Moscow in May to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. This is set to be Kim's first official overseas trip as leader of his country, and follows indications from Putin that he wants closer ties between the two world leaders.
"North Korea is seeking to deepen both diplomatic and economic ties with Russia at a time when its political relationship with China remains chilly," South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
The celebrations are intended to mark the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. The visit will be Kim's first to a foreign country since he became North Korean leader in 2011 following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. more >>