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Friday’s religion wrap

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

Christian “Warrior” ready for battle

The Christian Post profiles Father Stephen Gadberry, an Arkansas pastor competing on the American television show American Ninja Warrior, who is hoping to nab the top prize and share his faith to viewers.

“Evangelizing is the primary reason for me doing this,” said Gadberry. “The Lord tells us to go out and make disciples of all nations.”

Ordained as a Catholic priest, Gadberry says his parishioners are happy he is taking up the physical challenge and has even earned the nickname “Father Flex” among confirmation students.

Book of law with major flaw?

Egypt Independent reports on a controversial law professor who was allegedly insulting Christianity by teaching from a book that some viewed as contemptuous towards Christians. The Ain Shams University’s Faculty of Law professor Rabei Fateh al-Bab wrote the book Humanitarian and Political Conflicts in Positive Thought and Heavenly Religions and was teaching students from it.

Christians students were not happy with the teachings inside the book and claimed that it described their religion as “corrupt and suppressing sexual desires”. The university has since established a committee to examine the book and make findings about whether it does indeed insult Christianity. In the meantime the law faculty has stopped teaching the book and it is now unavailable from the faculty’s library.

Non-believers still religious receivers

The Atlantic covers the latest Pew Research Center findings which suggest that atheists or agnostics can still be religious and are in fact more religious than European atheists and agnostics. Citing the rise of atheist churches and secular gatherings such as the Beyonce Mass, the article explores how these meetups are steeped in religious iconography but ditch the aspect of “supernatural deities”.

The Pew findings also focused on the nature of “post-Christian Christians” in Western Europe who view Christianity less as a religious identity and more as a cultural or ethnic one: “The tendency to conceptualise Christianity as an ethnic marker is at least as old as the Crusades.”

Bible commands now employee demands?

Christianity Today brings news of the American Bible Society’s latest shift towards evangelicalism with their plans to require their employees to uphold an affirmation of biblical community. Beyond staff members potentially being asked to uphold the authority of scripture, it is speculated they would also be asked to commit to church involvement and refrain from sex outside of traditional marriage.

“This is a newsworthy story because the society, since its founding in 1816, has never had a doctrinal statement for employees,” said historian John Fea. “In fact, the American Bible Society was built on the idea that the Bible should be distributed ‘without note or comment’.”

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