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Friday’s religion wrap

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

Church wine to blame for drink-drive shame? 

Daily Mail Australia reports on some of the more creative reasons given by motorists who have been caught drink-driving. One driver on the Sunshine Coast blamed the church when police pulled them over and stated church wine was the reason he was over the limit. 

One drink-driver was far more blunt when asked to explain: “How else am I supposed to get home?” 

No decline for belief in the divine

The Guardian has news of the state of religious belief around the world and what the statistics suggest about Christianity’s future. Christians still form the biggest religious group in the world with over 31 per cent of the world’s 7.3 billion people believing in the faith but it is predicted by the middle of this century Islam will take over as world’s most popular religion. 

The statistics suggest births and deaths play a large role in a religion’s future prospects with Christians accounting for a disproportionately large share of the world’s deaths (37 per cent). China is seen as a growth sector for Christianity with forecasts suggesting that by 2030 the nation will have the largest Christian population. 

Christian blindness to Islamic kindness? 

Christianity Today explores the issue of Muslim hospitality and whether Christians should trust Muslims with Pew Research Center data finding only 36 per cent of white evangelicals believe Muslims are committed to the well-being of America. 

The article goes on to explore the concept of taqiyya, which some believe translates as the Islamic faith’s permission to lie if it advances the cause of the religion, and whether misconceptions of the taqiyya are creeping into Christian consciousness. 

Al-Azhar University lecturer Amr Salah comments, “The discourse of taqiyya reminds me of how Nazi Germany spoke of the Jews. If you say people are not trustworthy, it is dangerous.”

STD rise linked to moral demise 

The Christian Post reports on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data coming out of North America which saw a sharp increase in diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases. Evangelist Franklin Graham says the numbers show a “moral and spiritual crisis” of sin facing the nation and that “sin always has a cost, a consequence”. 

Graham, son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, also called for people to “flee from sexual immorality” and that the answer “lies in hearts turning to God and living within the guidelines He gives us in His Word”. 

Between 2013 and preliminary data for 2017 there has been a steep and sustained increase in gonorrhea, primary and secondary syphilis and chlamydia. Dr Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB prevention, commented, “It is evident the systems that identify, treat and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.”  

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