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Friday religion wrap

The Journey team selects stories that got us talking this week.   

Does God have a PR problem?

A recent Forbes Magazine article discusses an episode of the HBO produced Silicon Valley where the writers tackled the thorny problem of religion and its unlikely coexistence with advanced technology and science. In the episode, titled ‘Tech Evangelist,’ lead character Richard inadvertently outs a gay web developer as Christian. This does not sit well with anyone on his team.

“You can be openly polyamorous and people will call you brave. You can put micro-doses of LSD in your cereal and people will call you a pioneer. But the one thing you cannot be is a Christian.”

How did this become the defacto response? According to Tara-Nicholle Nelson, it could be down to the fact that ‘god has a PR problem.’

“People have church PTSD,” she said. Hence the declining numbers of church attendees — around 59% of millennial Christians leave churches within a decade of adulthood, according to report by the Barna Group. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a spiritual side. Millennials might be turned off organized religion but they still want self-care, Nelson said. And Silicon Valley’s statistically one of the least religious section of the states, with 61% of the Bay Area not attending church, compared to a 38% average.

South Korea appeals for support ahead of peace summit

Religious leaders in Korea have appealed to key allies including the United States, China, Japan and Russia to support this week’s peace summit between Seoul and Pyongyang.

In a statement, the Korean Conference of Religions for Peace, supported by Archbishop Kim Hee-joong, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, said the country “is longing for” the arrival of a “springtime of peace”.


US urges China pass bill on Tibet

The United States today urged China to respect the human rights and religious freedom of the people of Tibet.

A resolution in this regard was introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and passed by the US Senate, which among other issues, addresses the right of the Tibetan Buddhists to determine their own leadership, including the future 15th Dalai Lama, without any interference from the Chinese government.

Philippine government silencing church, says religious leaders

Philippine religious leaders have warned that the government is trying to silence church people who are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

They said the arrest, detention, and impending deportation of Australian missionary nun, Patricia Fox, is part of a systematic move to silence the church.

At a media briefing earlier this month, Redemptorist priest Oliver Castor said the government had been trying “to stop the church’s work with the poor.”

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