CHR Comment: Those released seem to be persons who could not easily be held in captivity (sick and elderly). The captors seek millions of dollars in ransom money. Terrorist groups use these methods as a form of fundraising.
An awkward, at times profane, exchange between comedy talk show host Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher reflects the conflation of Islam with terrorism – and the debate over how to respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris.
CHR Comment: Maher, a former Catholic, is openly hostile toward religion and blames religion for many of the troubles in the world today, such as terrorism. Colbert, on the other hand, is a sincere Catholic who called Maher to humble himself and return to the Lord during a live broadcast of his program, “The Late Show.”
This article includes numerous examples of persecution and intimidation against Christians in India. The article also looks at conversion practices and their effects on various religious groups. India’s minority Christians struggle against violence and persecution | National Catholic Reporter.
Highly influential church growth consultant, Lyle Schaller, taught sociological principles to churches, which made them more attractive and effective in gaining audiences. His approach helped shape modern churches, although it also raised concerns about whether sociology should trump biblical theology’s emphasis on God’s role in conversion and the role of tradition in guiding congregational life. Rev. Lyle E. Schaller Dies at 91; Helped Protestant Churches Survive and Grow – NYTimes.com.
Julio Ribeiro is a retired police officer who was a leading figure in India’s governance in decades past. He recently offered complaint about religiously motivated violence in India and the role of mass conversions in sparking such violence. This two part article offers analysis in view of India’s history. It is not an easy read but does help one sort through the roles of Hindu, Muslim, and Christian views in the present conflict as well as the history contributing to such conflict. Key to the author’s argument is the role of the caste system in holding people back and that people chose to convert to other religions in order to escape the dominant caste system.
Most Pakistani Christians were converts from the untouchable castes who did menial and lower valued forms of labor. The article explains how this history still affects the lives of these Christians today.
Shakespeare’s portrayal of the Jew Shylock in the Merchant of Venice, who converts from Judaism to Christianity, receives a new application in modern Palestine. The article discusses religious persecution and racism.
Evangelical author converts to Episcopal Church. Interesting interview about the power of liturgical worship and grounding in the creed, although the Episcopal Church is theologically liberal or progressive.