An estimated 300 to 330 million "spiritual tourists" visit significant religious sites every year, such as the Jesus Trail or the Wailing Wall in Israel. Why do they do it, and what are they searching for? Bruce Feiler, author of the bestsellers Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses and Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, embarked on several spiritual journeys with seekers of various faiths to find out.
In a new series titled "Sacred Journeys With Bruce Feiler" and premiering on PBS Tuesday, Dec. 16, Feiler accompanies pilgrims from the U.S. in their spiritual quests to sacred sites in France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, India, and Nigeria. The six-part series kicks off with Feiler's journey with a group of solders that includes Wounded Warriors, soldiers injured during their service in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the believed healing waters of a Roman Catholic shrine in Lourdes, France.
Feiler also spends time with Brian Kwan, a Colorado man who had a crisis of faith after losing his Christian father. Why did Kwan, who converted from Buddhism to Christianity as a teen, choose to embark on the 40-mile, four-day journey known as the Jesus Trail? more >>
Some minority Christians in Israel have expressed concern for the proposed "Jewish State" bill that is set to define the country as the "nation-state of the Jewish people." Other commentators have said, however, that it would be incorrect to assume the bill will infringe on the rights of minorities, and instead can be seen as a move to back Israel's right to exist.
The Jerusalem Post reported that the bill seeks to define Israel as "the nation-state of the Jewish people" and reinforce the use of "Hatikva" as the national anthem, and the use of the Hebrew calendar.
While some of the nation's Christians, who make up only two percent of the population, have reportedly expressed concern for the rights of religious minorities in the country, other voices have said it is unlikely that the bill would pose such dangers. more >>
In a recent interview on CBN News, Andrew White, an Anglican priest known as the "Vicar of Baghdad," tried to recount the horrific atrocities Christians in Iraq are suffering at the hands of the Islamic State. After explaining how Christian minorities fled Baghdad to Ninevah when Islamic militants began terrorizing them and bombing their churches, White said:
Then one day, ISIS, the Islamic State, the Islamic caliphate came [to Ninevah] and they hounded all of them [Christians] out. Not some, all of them. And they killed huge numbers. They chopped their children in half; they chopped their heads off.
It should be noted that the targeting of Christian children in Iraq goes back years before the creation of ISIS. For example, in June 2008, a Canadian parliamentary committee heard about how "militant Muslims" were crucifying Christian children: "Since the war began in 2003, about 12 children, many as young as 10, have been kidnapped and killed, then nailed to makeshift crosses near their homes to terrify and torment their parents." more >>
Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, has clarified that he did not mean to call President Barack Obama one of the "most anti-semitic presidents" in history, but stands by his assertion that Obama is anti-Israel.
"The prepared text of my remarks before the Zionist Organization of America called President Obama one of the most 'anti-Israel' presidents in U.S. history," Hagee, who is also the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, said in a statement, referring to his speech on Nov. 23 at the Zionist Organization of America annual dinner in New York.
"During my speech, I inadvertently called him one of the most 'anti-Semitic' presidents in history," he added. more >>
Harvest Ministries Pastor Greg Laurie said Sunday his study of Bible prophecy and current events shows America will fade as the world's foremost superpower in the last days, either because it will join with the antichrist or it will be diminished by the rapture.
In a November 30 sermon entitled "Israel, Iran, ISIS and Bible Prophecy," Laurie preached that Christians are now living in the "last days" before the fulfillment of various End Times prophecies laid out in the Bible book of Revelations. Current events such as Israel establishing itself as a nation, Russia alignment with Iran and the rise of Islamic extremism, he said, are setting the stage for a predicted conflict in which the world's forces turns against Israel.
One force that will be missing during that conflict, Laurie says, is the United States of America. "[As] the forces of antichrist emerge, I believe that America will fade from the scene." Putting the United States in the context of Scripture, he explained, "We are not found in the End Times scenario." more >>
The terror attack two week's ago on a Jerusalem synagogue killed five people: four rabbis (including three born in the USA) and a Druze police officer. Two Palestinians entered during morning prayers and attacked worshipers with knives, meat cleavers, and a handgun. Congress showed moral clarity when blaming the horrors on Hamas and Palestinian Authority incitement, but Obama's statements were perfunctorily "balanced." Obama warned of a "spiral" of violence – an obtuse refrain of those suggesting moral equivalency between terrorism and the fight against it. Obama also misleadingly claimed that "President Abbas...strongly condemned the attacks" omitting that Abbas did so only after pressure from the administration and with equivocation (Abbas suggested a link between recent terrorism and visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, as if to justify the attacks). It's also worth noting that Palestinians celebrated the massacre (as they did after the 2013 Boston bombing and the 9/11 attacks).
Obama's weak reaction is consistent with his mostly impotent response to ISIS terrorists who behead Americans and Mideast Christians and grow their Islamist empire by the day. Frighteningly, his approach to Iranian nukes follows the same meek pattern, but the stakes are exponentially higher, because when Iran goes nuclear, so does terrorism.
Iran is already the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, without nuclear weapons. Iran-supported Hamas has already tried to commit nuclear terror: last summer, Hamas launched rockets at Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor. How much more dangerous will Iran become when it has nukes? Even if Iran doesn't directly commit nuclear terrorism, an Iranian nuclear umbrella will embolden the regime and the terrorist organizations it sponsors. more >>