Views from the News
Stephen Baker, Manchester
CHINA PRODUCES A BIBLE PER SECOND AS PEOPLE TURN TO CHRISTIANITY
The Bible has become a ‘best-seller’ in China, with 50 million copies produced so far by the country’s only authorized Bible printer, Amity Printing, a joint venture between a Chinese Christian charity and the United Bible Societies. As demand is nearly outstripping supply, Amity is set to become the world’s single-biggest producer of Bibles. Their move into new and bigger premises in Nanjing is scheduled for 2008, with a view to increasing their current output by a third, to one million copies a month. According to lawyer and Christian activist Li Baiguang, the success of the Bible and the rapid growth of the Chinese church – an estimated 40 million believers – in the face of growing material wealth are the results of people seeking ‘to satisfy their spiritual needs, to look for happiness for the soul’.
Source: Sunday Times (8/12/07)
Springer ruling undermines blasphemy law
A new High Court ruling means that ‘no prosecution for blasphemy can be brought against the BBC’, a top lawyer acting for the group Christian Voice has said. Mark Mullins QC said, ‘That is tantamount to saying that blasphemy is of little, if any, relevance in today’s society’. His comments followed two judges’ decision to reject a blasphemy charge against the BBC for televising the stage play Jerry Springer – The Opera. The judges ruled that, taken in context, the show was a satire of the chat-show genre and not an attack on ‘what Christians hold sacred’. More significantly, they said that the 1968 Theatres Act ruled out any blasphemy prosecution for public performance and the 1990 Broadcasting Act prevented any prosecution in relation to broadcasts.
Sources: Daily Telegraph (7/12/07);
The Times (6/12/07);
The Guardian (6/12/07)
RALLYING CALL TO AMERICA’S UNBELIEVERS
Author of The God Delusion, and widely-known as Britain’s leading atheist, Professor Richard Dawkins is leading a campaign in the US to challenge the ‘dominance of religion’ in everyday life and politics. The professor has launched the Out Campaign – calling on the ‘big closet population of atheists who need to come out’, he told The Guardian. There are people, he said, who dare not express their atheist opinions because they are scared of the reactions of their family and colleagues – and or of being fired. Asked what he hoped an atheist bloc in the US might achieve, Professor Dawkins replied, ‘It would free children from being indoctrinated with the religion of their parents or their community. I would like to free everyone from the assumption you have to be religious in order to be a decent person or to be moral’.
Sources: The Guardian (01/10/07), The Times (04/10/07)
(Editor’s comment – we as believers need to pray fervently for Richard Dawkins that the Lord will save him. The Lord is able, and it would be a tremendous message to a cynical and godless world that the gospel is ‘the power of God unto salvation’).