Monday, October 22, 2007

Tajikistan bans the Truth!!!

Tajikistan has banned Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the country, including stripping the organisation of its legal status and giving it a notice that they should stop all of their activities. A Culture Ministry official cited as reasons for the ban including that they refuse military service and proclaim their faith in public. It appears Tajikistan has cemented their status as a backwards country and religious persecutor.

For more information on this, visit Forum 18.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Over at the blog 'The Assembling of the Church', Alan Knox has written some excellent posts on Christian elders and if they should be paid for their ministry according to the Bible. I recommend them as a good read, and they fully vindicate the policies of Jehovah's Witnesses on eldership. Here they are in chronological (as in when they were posted) order:

1) What about work

2) What about work for elders/pastors

3) What about honor for elders/pastors


The NY Times has an article about the Mandeans of Iraq that I blogged about a while back. Apparently they are wishing to come to America so they can set up communities here to prevent them from dying out. The article also points out that their religion prevents them from carrying weapons, even for self-defence, so they have been "easy targets" over the years, which has helped their existence!

Appendix deserves to be Chapter 1 instead!

In the past the appendix (the body part, not the book part) has been used by anti-intelligent designers as a body part that has no purpose, and therefore proof that humans are not intelligently designed. Interestingly, reports now show that the appendix indeed does have a purpose. Apparently it acts as a safe house for good bacteria used to boost the immune system.

New Age Intelligence

The Council of Europe has recently adopted a resolution against the teaching of intelligent design or creationism. In reading about this I came across a blog post by a New Ager who believes in intelligent design and non-materialism. I found it interesting to read the feelings on this issue from a non-religionist/revelationist. The blog post is here.

A Christian nation?

Contrary to popular opinion, Jon Meacham at the New York Times has remineded America that a nation of "Christians" is not a Christian nation. He points out:

According to Scripture, however, believers are to be wary of all mortal powers. Their home is the kingdom of God, which transcends all earthly things, not any particular nation-state. The Psalmist advises believers to “put not your trust in princes.” The author of Job says that the Lord “shows no partiality to princes nor regards the rich above the poor, for they are all the work of his hands.” Before Pilate, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” And if, as Paul writes in Galatians, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in
Christ Jesus,” then it is difficult to see how there could be a distinction in God’s eyes between, say, an American and an Australian. In fact, there is no distinction if you believe Peter’s words in the Acts of the Apostles: “I most certainly believe now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is welcome to him.” The kingdom Jesus preached was radical. Not only are nations irrelevant, but families are, too: he instructs those who would be his disciples to give up all they have and all those they know to follow him.
The article is a great read and I recommend it to all. Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Christianity Today magazine has an interesting article about Craig Harline's new book called "Sunday: A History of the First Day from Babylonia to the Superbowl". The article contains an excerpt from the book, which shows how so-called Christians adopted the pagan 'Sun Day' into their worship. Here is a sample:

And when Christianity moved into northern Europe, "Sunday" was so common among Christians that the new northern converts simply used that name exclusively. Just as pagan forms had been conquered and appropriated, now the greatest pagan day was absorbed as well. Emerging vernacular languages around the mediterranean, where the early church was born and raised, certainly retained "Lord's Day" in common usage, but a good Christian in either north or south could now find as much Christian imagery in "Sunday" as they pleased, and thus uttered the word without a second thought. Only the later vernacular languages of eastern Christianity, and Portuguese in the west, would reject all planetary names for the days of the week as offensively pagan.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Has Dawkins been used?

A few years ago in a video interview, Richard Dawkins was asked about the origins of genetic information, and after a long silence he finally made an apparently irrelevant answer. The Creationists making the video made a big deal about him being stumped by the question. Later on the magazine 'The Skeptic', after consulting with Dawkins, published a piece about how Dawkins was conned into appearing in the video interview and the video was edited to substitute a different question for the one that was asked. After the video makers released the raw footage, the accusations were dropped. You can read more about this incident here.

Now, once again, it appears Dawkins is making the same claims about the makers of the film 'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed'. Read all about it at the New York Times.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Armenia hits new record for prisoners of conscience!

Armenia now has 82 Jehovah's Witnesses imprisoned for refusing military service and the military controlled alternative service. 73 of these persons are serving prison terms of 18 to 36 months each, and another nine are waiting for their trial.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Polygamist Mormom guilty of rape

Warren Jeffs, self-proclaimed prophet of the 'Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' (FLDS) has been found guilty of two counts of encouraging a young girl to have sex against her will.

You can read more on this story at the BBC.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Organised chuch programs

Over at Alan Knox's blog 'The Assembling of the Church' (where he blogs on ecclesiology) there is a post explaining his indifference to church "programs". This is of interest to me because Jehovah's Witnesses are commonly asked why they do not have organised programs to feed the poor, or to run hospitals, etc. It is true that we do not. What we are recognised for though is being the first to arrive on the scene when an emergency occurs. When Hurricane Katrina occured, while the Red Cross and American government fumbled under the weight of bureaucracy, Jehovah's Witnesses managed to get into the New Orleans area and begin helping out. When a Jehovah's Witness loses their house in a natural disaster, a crew of brothers and sisters turn up and fix or rebuild their house, sometimes within a weekend.

Alan's comments sum up my thoughts on the matter:

For example, if a family's house is destroyed by fire, an organized program to help them with money, food, accommodations, etc. would be very beneficial. In this case, the "benevolence" program has a specific purpose: to help the church show kindness and to serve this family who is in need. When the need is met, then the program would stop. What usually happens, though, is that this "benevolence" program is continued after the need is met. Thus, we feel a need to continue to staff and maintain a "benevolence" committee or program which has no specific goal, other than show benevolence, which is the requirement of all believers, not just those in this program. The program becomes the goal, instead of the means to meeting a goal.
Check out his post to read more of what he says on the matter.

Coptic resources

Gary Dykes has put up a website that contains the New Testament in both Sahidic and Boharic versions of the Coptic language, as well as fonts and other resources. Here is the link for all of you who are interested.

It's in the Bible... it can't be true?

A quote from English Nobel Laureate George Thomson:

"Probably every physicist would believe in a creation if the Bible had not unfortunately said something about it many years ago and made it seem old-fashioned."
Read more about some scientists and their bias against the Bible at Post-Darwinist.

Top Ten things you didn't know about science and religion

1) In the Middle Ages, Christian universities laid down the foundations of modern science and took the subject of rational logic to heights not reached until the nineteenth century.

2) The Jesuits published over 6,000 scientific papers and texts between 1600 and 1773 including a third of those on electricity. They were by far the largest scientific organisation in the world.

3) Copernicus’s book, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, was never banned by the church. Instead, the pope’s censors compiled a short insert with ten corrections intended to make clear heliocentricism was an unproven hypothesis. At the time, this is what it was.

4) During the Middle Ages, hardly anyone thought the Earth was flat. The question never arose with Christopher Columbus.

5) No one has ever been burnt at the stake for scientific ideas. The only great scientist to have been executed was the chemist Antione Lavoisier. ‘Freethinking’ anti-clerical French revolutionaries guillotined him in 1794, although for political reasons.

6) Calvin never said “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit.

7) Even by the standards of their time, Sir Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler and Michael Faraday were devoutly religious. During the Enlightenment, when scepticism about religion became acceptable, scientists almost always remained committed Christians.

8) Christians did not try and destroy pagan Greek scientific ideas. Instead, they laboriously hand copied millions of words of Greek science and medicine thus ensuring they were preserved.

9) The church never tried to ban zero, lightning conductors or human dissection.

10) The concept of a good creator god who laid down the laws of nature at the beginning of time was an essential metaphysical foundation for modern science.

Courtesy of James Hannam.

Roman Catholic Church pays out US$198 million

Following the payment of US$660 million in July of this year by the Roman Catholic Church in the diocese of Los Angeles, to victims of sexual abuse from their clergy, the diocese of San Diego has just agreed to pay US$198 to victims of clerical sexual abuse. The deal will settle 144 different claims.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back in the USSR...

Jehovah's Witnesses in Uzbekistan are increasingly fearful that their activities will soon be banned in the country altogether. At the moment their is only one registered congregation that is legal, and it seems that this congregation could too be stripped of its legality. They fear a return to the Soviet days when they were also banned in the country. To read more on this story, visit Forum 18.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Clergy Response Team

Prison Planet reports on a United States federal program that is training Pastors and other clergymen to help them quell dissent if martial law happens to be declared in the nation. Apparently the first directive given to these clergy was to use Romans Chapter 13 to stress to their flocks the need to be obedient to the government. Of course any true Christian knows that these verses do not call for total subservience to the State, but only up until the point where they call on you to do something that conflicts with God's moral laws. This story does seem to point to a very scary future for any person who dissents from mainstream thought.

Monday, August 20, 2007

First positive "mainstream" review of Behe's Edge book

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a review of Michael Behe's latest book 'The Edge of Evolution'. It appears to be the first positive review in mainsteam (read: non-Christian) media after other prominent news media have been recruiting staunch evolutionists to do reviews of the book. The review gives the best summary of Behe's arguments I have read so far, and also ends with a little attack against other newspapers and reviewers of the book.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Catholic Bishop says: "Let's call God Allah"

Roman Catholic Bishop Muskens has appeared on a television show in the Netherlands promoting the idea that Catholics in that country use the name 'Allah' in place of 'God' in order to promote greater understanding and friendliness between the Catholic and Muslim faiths. Yet another example of the worlds religionists using every possible term for God except for Jehovah, in order to achieve human goals over God's goal of having his name sanctified.

"Therefore here I am causing them to know; at this one time I shall cause them to know my hand and my mightiness, and they will have to know that my name is Jehovah." (Jeremiah 16:21, NWT)

"Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified." (Matthew 6:9, NWT)

The ConVersion Code

Roman Catholic, Orthodox, mainstream Protestant and now evangelical groups have joined together to create a common code of conduct for religious conversions that would allow Christians to spread their religion while avoiding conflicts with other faiths. The World Council of Churches, World Evangelical Alliance and the Vatican are in the process of talks that create a code that would ease the tensions with Muslims and other religions that are worried about losing adherents. For example in the largely Hindu Indian state of Rajasthan, proselytizing carries a punishment of five years imprisonment.

Religious minorities suffer in Iraq mess

The recent suicide bombings againgst the Yazidi secti in Iraq have brought to the fore the insecurity of many minority religious groups in the country. These minority religions make up less than 3% of the total population, and this figure is dwindling as many of them leave the country, hoping to avoid being targeted or simply get caught up in intra-Islam fighting.

One of the more interesting minority groups which are fleeing the country is the Sabean Mandaeans, a group that follows the teachings of John the Baptist. Their number has gone from 25,000 in 2003 to 5,000 in 2007. For more information on this group, check out their Wikipedia article.

Source -,0,3688910.story

Turkmenistan Troubles: human rights abuses continue

A Jehovah's Witness in Turkmenistan, Suleiman Udaev, has been given an 18-month jail sentence for refusing military service. He is being detained in a 15m (17 yard) square cell with 19 other prisoners and is allowed only one visit per month, and is not allowed to receive anything from this visitor. For more information on this case and related cases in Turkmenistan, please visit Forum 18.

Wicked Wikipedia editing

We have all heard of persons being caught editing their own Wikipedia (an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit) articles or the articles of organisations they are closely associated with, but Wikipedia Scanner has picked up on some interesting finds. The Wikipedia Scanner is a program that scans entries for errors, but also can match up IP addresses with the organisations that edits derive from.

Some of the finds they have made are CIA workers editing articles on former US and Iranian Presidents; the Vatican editing entries on Catholic saints and the Irish Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams; and the company Diebold, who supplies voting machines, deleting 15 paragaphs of allegations about their machines causing election errors in the controversial 2000 US election. The Diebold paragraphs have since been re-instated.

A Wikipedia spokesperson states: "We really value transparancy and the scanner really takes this to another level... Wikipedia Scanner may prevent an organisation or individuals from editing articles that they're really not supposed to."


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Intelligent Design film due in 2008

A film entitled "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" will premiere in the United States on February 12, 2008. It is themed around the "intelligent design vs. evolution" debate that is taking place in the US, and stars Ben Stein who was kicked out of his school for his views and features numererous pro-ID and anti-ID scientists and other commentators on the issue.

Denyse O'Leary has more information over at her 'Post-Darwinist blog.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Christian Zionism

Following on from my posts about the differences between spiritual Israel and literal Israel and the confusion many denominations have (see both HERE and HERE), Ethics Daily has a short article about Christian Zionism where he derides the idea, especially John Hagee's recent expeditions into literal fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies:

In the meantime, anyone with half-an-ounce of Bible knowledge is aware that none of the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel are related to the modern nation and politics of Israel.

In relation to America's support of Jewish Zionism, he also mentions that Christians should be led by peace, not war:

I have read Bible translations in more than six languages and all of them stress peace over war. Call wars just, preventive or necessary, they are still hell on earth for all sides. Peace is the hallmark of Christ's message, even if some of his disciples still do not get it. Both their Christian faith and patriotism are misplaced.
I cannot agree with these two comments more.


The Jewish Daily Forward has an article on Karaite Jews, which includes an interview with Joe Pessah, an "acting rav" (rabbi/techer, but with no official training).

For those who do not know much about the Karaites (which is likely as they only number 30,000 and most of them live in Israel) I have described them in the past as "Old Testament-only Jehovah's Witnesses" as they differ from other Jews in that they do not accept the divine origin of the Mishnah, Oral Law and Talmud and base their teachings solely on a plain reading of the Old Testament scriptures, in the same way Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept any Church creeds or extra-biblical theology and base their teachings solely on a plain reading of the Bible.

Remaining without spot from the world

Tom over at Sheep & Goats has a post on a book entitled "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience- Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World?" by Ronald Sider, a professor of theology and contributor to Christianity Today magazine.

Tom mentions that Jehovah's Witnesses do not suffer from many of the same problems as Evangelicals have picked up over the last century, as they have stuck closely to the Biblical commandment to be "without spot from the world." The article is a good read.

Hello Officer! Hello Kitty!

Just to remind you that the rest of the world does not suffer from the same lack of imagination as does the West, Thai policeman who commit minor offences will be forced to wear a "Hello Kitty" (a popular young girl's toy) badge on their arm. This is supposed to cause such shame to their masculinity that it would prevent them from not setting examples to the rest of the community. Read all about it HERE.

Worst weather ever

The United Nations weather agency has proclaimed early 2007 as a period of record-breaking for extreme weather. Global land surface temperatures in January and April were the warmest since records were taken in 1880. The world has also seen severe monsoon floods (Asia), heavier-than-usual rains (globally), extreme heatwaves (Europe) and unexpected snowfall in South Africa and South America (!). The United Nations cannot predict if the rest of 2007 will be any better.

Ancient microbes

BBC News has an article on a scientific discovery of microbes, that are estimated to range in age from 100,000 to 8 million years of age, from melted samples of Antarctic ice. What I found interesting about the find is in the following quote:

The team suggests that because DNA in the old ice samples had degraded so much in response to exposure to cosmic radiation, life on Earth is unlikely to have hitched a ride on a comet or on debris from outside the Solar System - as some scientists have suggested. "Given the extremely high cosmic radiation flux in space, our results suggest it is highly unlikely that life on Earth could have been seeded by genetic material external to this Solar System," they wrote in
their scientific paper.
Therfore this discovery gives evidence towards life being created directly on earth, not drifting from other planets, galaxies or universes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Toys of Faith

In the United States, major supermarkets are beginning to stock toys based on Old Testament figures and scenarios, including a 10-metre high inflatable Noah's Ark!

For more on this story, visit CathNews.

Doctors refusing treatments on medical grouns

Although we are usually concerned with issues arising out of a patient's refusal of medical treatment (abortion, transfusions, euthanasia, etc.), some Doctors have been getting into hot water after refusing treatment due to their religious convictions.

USA Today reports:

When does the freedom to practice religion become discrimination?
The California Supreme Court is being asked to answer that question when it hears a legal dispute between a lesbian mom and two doctors who refused to artificially
inseminate her for religious reasons.
The dispute arose in 2000 after San Diego-area doctors Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton refused to artificially inseminate Benitez, a lesbian who lives with her partner, Joanne Clark, in Oceanside, north of San Diego.
In 2001, Benitez sued the doctors, claiming that they violated California's anti-discrimination laws that protect gays and lesbians.
Apparently, over 40 differents groups have filed with the court to be heard over the matter, both on the side of Doctor's religious rights and the opposing side.

Creationism - Islam style

The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article on an Islamic group called the 'Foundation for Scientific Research', which promotes its own brand of creationism in Turkey and Europe, and is now aiming to reach America and other countries. It has publications in many languages including a popular, glossy book called the 'Atlas of Creation', which it has recently sent to scientists, journalists and professionals.

Its main difference from American-style Young Earth Creationism is that it teaches the earth is millions of years old. They theorise that fossils from millions of years ago show that animals are similar to the ones we have now, therefore evolution does not occur.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Rated G

Thankfully, my blog is 'Rated G'.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Popular culture & religion clash

As of late there has been some cultural phenomena that have been stirring up conversation among conservative American religionists and their more liberal counterparts. One of these is The Simpsons Movie that recently premiered on the big screen. PBS' "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" show recently held an interview with Mark Pinsky, author of the book "The Gospel According to the Simpsons" which comments on the issue of spirituality in The Simpsons television series. Click here to read a transcript of the interview.

Another, more controversial subject, is that of the recently released enstallment of the Harry Potter series. ScrippsNews has an editorial on the Christian themes in the book. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series) is a member of the Church of Scotland and apparently her faith shines through in the final book.

Opponents think that the Potter series will lead children into the occult and demon possession. Proponents say that it is all harmless fun. I think a balanced view is called for by parents. I doubt that watching the Potter movies or reading the books would cause demon possession, but I also beleive that a Christian should not watch a movie soaked in something that God condemns:
"Never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord." - Deuteronomy 18:10-12

Good Samaritans strike again

A couple in the Connecticut area received a late night call from two of Jehovah's Witnesses returning the husbands wallet that he had lost on a train. The Connecticut Post reports the couples response:

"They told us they found it on the train, handed us a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet and were gone," Nicole Constantino said. The wallet contents — credit cards and nearly $300 in cash — were untouched.
"They hadn't even opened it up, they just found our address from his Metro Card," she said. One of the two women initially apologized for knocking on the door so late, explaining that she didn't own a car and had to wait for the other woman to get home from work before she could get to Norwalk to return the wallet.
The woman added that since they both live in Bridgeport and are unfamiliar with Norwalk, they got lost along the way. "They were driving around for almost two hours," Nicole said. "We were so shocked that someone would do something so kind, we never even asked for their names."
The couple are apparently trying to track down the two Sisters in order to thank them.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The two-horned wild beast lives on

With the ascension of Gordon Brown to the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, many people were assuming that Britain's close relationship with the United States would be ending, with a left-winger and socialist leaning leader taking the reigns. Could it really be that the dual Anglo-American world power was not the two-horned wild beast after all?

It doesn't look like it, with Gordon Brown giving his assurance that the US is Britain's "most important bilateral relationship" and that he himself is an "Atlanticist and a great admirer of the American spirit". He also said that he wants to "do more to strenghten even further our relationship with the US."

So it seems that the two-horned wild beast keeps its two horns.

Are JWs the last people to believe in replacement theology?

After years of Protestant churchianity teaching that Jews are still God's chosen people, Zionism, or even that God has "dual covenants" by which people can be saved (the Jewish and the Christian), it appears that now even that stronghold of replacement theology, the Roman Catholic Church, believes that Jews can be saved by their Old Testament covenant with God.

"Campaigns that target Jews for conversion are no longer theologically acceptable," said the now-retired cardinal, 83, who was president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.
The Catholic Church taught that salvation is found only in Christ through the church, but Cardinal Cassidy said it now accepted that the Jews were saved by their (Old Testament) covenant with God.
It seems these days that Jehovah's Witnesses are the only religion left that teaches that salvation is only by having faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice, and that the Israel of God is not literal Jews but Jesus' spiritual brothers.

Read more on the Catholic's change of heart at The Religious Write.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Third Temple

The Jerusalem Post has a very interesting Op-Ed on Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate's attempt to build a third temple in Jerusalem for the Jews.

Julian, who was Emperor from 361 to 363 CE, had been raised a Christian, but rejected the faith and begun worshipping Greek and Roman pagan gods, arguing that Christianity would weaken the Roman Empire. He wanted to help the Jews build a temple to weaken Christianity's claim to have "replaced" the Jews as God's chosen people.
Strangely enough when the foundations were laid for the new temple, it was reported that a fire burst forth from the ground and consumed them. Christians claimed it was proof of God's disapproval, and Jews suspected Christian arsonists!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Introductory Coptic grammer released

For all you Coptic lovers, the Coptic scholar Bentley Layton has released a new book entitled "Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises and Vocabularies". It is good to see a new introductory text released and it should be successful considering recent Coptic discoveries promoting interest in the language.

Memra's Blog has a post on the book and how Layton shows that John 1:1 in the Coptic is literally translated "a god is the Word."

Click HERE to view the book at

Biblical oil is modern medicine

Professor Michael Ovadia from the Tel Aviv University's Zoology department has produced a modern version of a priestly anointing oil, taking his recipe from the Bible. He found that it was amazingly effective in preventing Avian flu, herpes and HIV. He has even sold his discovery to a multinational company! Michael said that he carried out his research on the suspicion that the oil played a role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases from animals to people, as Israel's priests were to anoint themselves with the oil prior to conducting animal sacrifices.

Source -

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cuneiform tablet backs up Old Testament

Assyriologist Dr. Michael Jursa has confirmed that a cuneiform tablet housed at the British Museum confirms the existence of a Babylonian official known as "Nebo-Sarsekim", who is mentioned in Jeremiah Chapter 39 as the Chief Eunuch of Nebuchadnezzar II - this title is also confirmed in the tablet. The tiny tablet is apparently a receipt for a payment from Nebo-Sarsekim to a Babylonian temple. The discovery is important because outside of the names of kings, there are very few witnesses to the existence of persons in the Old Testament.

Read more on this discovery at 24 Hour Museum or The Times.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Tom Sheepandgoats has written an excellent post defending disfellowshipping (more popularly known as shunning) in the Christian congregation.

So it is with Jehovah's Witnesses today. They could not be more unlike in personalities, backgrounds and talents (besides the factors already mentioned) yet they enjoy unshakable unity. God's spirit makes it possible.
We're zealous to safeguard this unity. When a person leaves JW tenets, he begins to lose the thinking that makes such unity possible. Some lose it instantly. More
often, it happens over time. But it does happen.

Pope says only Roman Catholicism is proper church

The Vatican has issued a document claiming that only churches in full communion with the Pope of Rome can expect full salvation (whatever that means) and other Christian faiths "lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church". He says that Protestants are in error and Orthodox Churches have true teachings but are dissenters from recognising the Pope's authority.

As can be expected, the document has upset evangelical Anglicans and other Protestants around the world. For more on this story, click here.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

New Seven Wonders of the World

An organisation based in Portugal has revealed the "Seven New Wonders of the World" based on votes from all over the world. The winning seven are:

1. Great Wall of China
2. Statue of Christ Redeemer (Brazil)
3. Colosseum (Rome)
4. Petra (Jordan)
5. Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza (Mexico)
6. Taj Mahal (India)
7. Machu Picchu (Peru)

Read more on this here.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Persecution continues in former USSR

With intense persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia by their respective governments, officials and religious clerics, the former USSR and surrounding areas have given us some horrifying stories.
One of these countries that has been particular bad of late is Uzbekistan. Some Jehovah's Witnesses have recently been freed from a forced labour camp known as Camp No. 29 in Uzbekistan where they have been held for crimes such as "being a member of a banned religious organisation" and "illegally teaching religion".
They reported on conditions at the camp:
"drinking water is contaminated with chlorine, salt and sand. Prisoners are assigned to the production of quicklime and household soap. The manufacturing
processes used are harmful to health... this means that levels of sickness among prisoners are very high... on arrival prisoners are forced through a corridor of
guards, who beat them from both sides with 30 inch truncheons... prisoners are forced to clean out the communical toilet with their bare hands..."
Truly barbaric!

We hit the cosmic jackpot!

Over at Salon, there is an interesting preview of upcoming book "The Cosmic Jackpot" by physicist/cosmologist Paul Davies who argues that there is a "grand comsic plan" and that the universe is "filled with meaning and purpose". The book focuses on what is called the "anthropic principle", being that the laws of physics are fine-tuned to support life.

Queen of Sheba's temple attacked

The recent terrorist attack in Yemen that killed nine people took place at the Queen of Sheba Temple in the northeast of the country. The temple was built around 3000 years ago. I am not sure of the extent of the damage to the temple yet, but it sure is horrifying news to anyone with an appreciation of Judeo-Christian history. To tie this in with the Scriptures, I've thought I would highlight the following verse:

"The queen of the south will be raised up in the judgment with the men of this generation and will condemn them; because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Sol´o·mon, but, look! something more than ol´o·mon is here." - Luke 11:31 (NWT)

So here is to seeing the Queen of Sheba in the Paradise!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Vatican vs China

The Pope has written a letter to China's governing authorities asking them to respect religious freedom in their country and to investigate re-starting diplomatic ties that were severed in the 1950s.

The Roman Catholic Church doesn't officiacially operate in China, but people who share the faith come under the organisation called the 'Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association' which numbers around four million and appoints its own Bishops. There is estimated to be millions more followers that operate underground and owe allegiance to the Roman Pope.
Source -