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Friday’s religion wrap

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

Lebanon is having Nun of that movie

The New Arab reports on the banning of the Hollywood horror film The Nun in Lebanon after the film failed the nation’s censorship test, apparently due to its offensiveness to Christianity.

Georges Asmar, who runs a media agency specialising in the region’s film industry, stated, “Last Wednesday, the Catholic committee watched the movie and asked the General Security to ban it in Lebanon for religious reasons.”

The Nun is the latest in the hit The Conjuring franchise and follows a priest and a nun in 1950s Romania investigating the murder of a nun.

She said “He said” might now be dead 

The Christian Post has news of the Church of England’s first female diocesan bishop and her call for the church to stop applying masculine language such as “He” or “Him” to God. A recent YouGov survey found that only 36 per cent of British Christians thought God was male whereas 41 per cent thought God doesn’t have a human gender.

“I don’t want young girls or young boys to hear us constantly refer to God as he,” said Rt Rev Rachel Treweek, bishop of Gloucester. “For me particularly in a bigger context, in all things, whether it’s that you go to a website and you see pictures of all white people, or whether you go to a website and see the use of ‘he’ when we could use ‘god’, all of those things are giving subconscious messages to people, so I am very hot about saying can we always look at what we are communicating.”

Rt Rev Jo Bailey Wells, bishop of Dorking, added, “When I lead prayers or preach, I try to get around the problem by using both male and female imagery, and also by avoiding the need to say ‘his’ or ‘him’ too often.”

Atheism fadin’ for ex-GG Hayden

ABC News reports that former governor-general and noted atheist Bill Hayden has been baptised and is now a Christian. Hayden—also a former opposition leader and a republican—was recently baptised at St Mary’s Church in Brisbane and now wants to do volunteer work with St Vincent de Paul.

 Father Peter Dillion, the priest who baptised Hayden, said, “I think Bill’s been spending a lot of time in the service of people in government and in the general community, and he took a while to discover there’s a context for all of that.”

“I think he’s been living a very Christian life. He’s got a name for what he’s been doing all along. This is a man who is totally dedicated to the service of the community and now he’s doing that from a platform of the Christian faith.”

Smells like teen spirituality

The Conversation examines Australian teenagers and their views on religion and spirituality via a new study conducted by scholars from ANU, Deakin and Monash universities. Eleven focus groups with Year 9 and 10 students were conducted in three states in addition to a phone survey of 1200 teenagers (13–18 years old) and 30 individual interviews; participants were asked to explore their beliefs around spirituality, self-understanding and attitudes to the universe.

Half of the teenagers said they did not identify with a religion or religious group but many stated they were interested in “different ways of being spiritual”. The study also breaks down teen spirituality into six categories: “This-worldly”, “Religiously committed”, “Seekers”, “Spiritual but not religious”, “Indifferent” and “Nominally religious”.


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