Controversial Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth author, Reza Aslan, has hit back against atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bill Maher, who've blamed Islam and religion as a whole for violence and terrorism around the world, arguing that conflicts are much more complex than a single cause.
"New Atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are not atheists, they are anti-theists. They don't just not believe in God, they believe that religion is an insidious evil that has to be forcibly removed from society. And their views about religious people and religion in general are extreme and in no way representative of the majority or the mainstream view of atheists," Aslan said in an interview with the Vancouver Observer published on Tuesday.
He added that such anti-theists get their ideas "from the most simplistic, the most unsophisticated and the most knee-jerk reaction to the very real problem of religious violence around the world," and argued that it is "nothing less than idiotic to blame religion for religious violence without recognizing the multiple factors that are involved in violence of any sort." more >>
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has reportedly expressed his "deep concern" over a resolution inside the U.S. Episcopal Church's House of Bishops that is seeking to remove references to marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman, among several other changes.
"While recognising the prerogative of The Episcopal Church to address issues appropriate to its own context, Archbishop Justin Welby said that its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships," the Anglican Communion News Service reported on Tuesday.
Resolution A037 in question refers to new marriage liturgies for trial use and a canonical change approved by the Episcopal House of Bishops, which will need to also be approved by the House of Deputies before they can come into effect. more >>
Conservative members of the United Methodist Church have expressed doubt that a recently approved petition from a local state body of the denomination will influence a change in the Church's position against homosexuality.
During the weekend, a majority of the delegates at the UMC Virginia Annual Conference voted in favor of a petition calling for the denomination to change its position on homosexuality.
Known as Petition 14, the measure called for the striking of language in the UMC Book of Discipline that describes homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching." more >>
Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II has said that the disputed "Gospel of Barnabas," a document that claims that Judas Iscariot was crucified in the place of Jesus, and that Christ predicted the coming of the prophet Muhammad, is a "fake" and the work of a "forger."
Fides News Agency reported on Friday that Tawadros said that the text, written in Syriac on animal hide, is "a book full of historical and geographical errors, the work of a forger."
Turkish authorities discovered the text in May 2012 in the building of Justice in Ankara, and claimed that it is 1,500-2,000 years old and was written by St. Barnabas, a disciple who became a Christian after Pentecost. more >>
Cosmetic surgery procedures are on the rise across the United States, with an estimated 15.6 million procedures in 2014, a 3 percent increase from the previous year. While it remains unknown what percentage of Christians make up the millions undergoing these vanity procedures each year, believers who've suffered from botched surgeries are now declaring the practice sinful, but not everyone agrees.
Earlier this month, an annual report released by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed that more Americans are turning to cosmetic surgery procedures to enhance their appearance. Procedures like breast augmentations, facelifts and liposuction are among the top surgical procedures for cosmetic surgery enthusiasts striving for perfect beauty.
For Christians like Brazilian model Andressa Urach, who almost lost her life due to a botched surgery in December last year, she has seen the light and now believes that cosmetic surgery is a sin because God told her so. more >>
Close to 100 evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders in the U.S. have united in a message calling on Christians to act on their "moral obligation" to fight climate change, which they also called a pro-life issue, following on Pope Francis' environmental encyclical released last week.
"As Catholic and evangelical leaders, we are deeply inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical addressing our shared responsibility to be prudent stewards of creation. Pope Francis has issued a bold call to action, and the clock is ticking on a challenge that requires a collective effort in service of the global common good," the religious leaders said in a full-page advertisement on the back page of Politico.
"As citizens of the most powerful nation in human history, we have a unique responsibility to promote sustainable development, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and build a thriving culture of life that protects human dignity," they added. more >>