Views from the News

China denounces USA Criticism of Religious Freedom
China recently denounced a USA report accusing it of curbing religious freedoms as groundless and an interference in its internal affairs. In an annual report the USA State Department accused China of persecuting Christians outside statesanctioned churches, Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uighurs. ‘During the period covered by this report, officials continued to scrutinize, and in some cases, harass unregistered religious and spiritual groups’, the State Department said in the report posted on its web site (www.state.gov). The atheist government regularly conducted raids, beatings or detentions against religious adherents who refused to accept official controls, the report said. China’s 8 to 12 million professing Christians are divided between an ‘above-ground’ church approved by the ruling Communist Party and an ‘underground’ church wary of government ties. Beijing expressed ‘strong dissatisfaction’ and ‘firm opposition’ to the report. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said, ‘Respecting and protecting citizens’ right to worship freely is a long-standing fundamental policy of the Chinese government. It is a fact that could not be denied and distorted’. Jiang also said in a statement on the ministry’s web site (www.fmprc.gov.cn), ‘We demand the USA side stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in the name of issues like religion and do more things that would help boost mutual understanding and trust’. While the USA report listed cases of abuses, it also noted some ‘improvements and positive developments’ in China’s respect for religious freedom as the government emphasized the role of religion in promoting a ‘harmonious society’.

‘The God Delusion Debate’
A debate took place on Wednesday, 7 p.m., Central time, October 3rd, at the University of Alabama, Birmingham’s Alys Stephen’s Center. The debate featured Professor Richard Dawkins of Oxford University and Dr. John Lennox, also of Oxford, and the topic was The God Delusion.

Dawkins, considered by many as today’s foremost spokesman for atheism, has written many books. Probably the most well known is The God Delusion which has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over seven months. The debate focused on Dawkin’s book which basically says that atheism is the only viable choice that can be deduced from science. It is also an all-out assault on faith in God. This was not just an intellectual debate, it was spiritual warfare. The Alys Stephen’s Center’s box office advised that the debate was sold out by the middle of September 2007!

EDITOR’S COMMENT - Let us pray that many will be caused to think about their souls and the God that they have to meet as a result of this debate. Dr. John Lennox is in fellowship in the James Street assembly in Oxford.

Favourite Biblical Quote
A verse from Proverbs, exhorting people to ‘trust in the Lord’ rather than in their own understanding, has been voted the favourite biblical quote in a survey. The poll by Wycliffe UK, a charity that translates Bibles, found that although the ‘Good Book’ may be less well read today, thousands still draw inspiration from its pages. It also found that he most popular verses tend to be those that offer Christians reassurance that they can overcome life’s vicissitudes with faith.

Top of the list was, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths’.

Source: Daily Telegraph

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