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Christian proselytizing raises tensions in Bangladesh - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.
Tuesday, 10 February 2015

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/features/article/christian-proselytizing-raises-tensions-in-bangladesh

An infant baptism taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh. – Pic courtesy of ucanews.com, February 10, 2015.An infant baptism taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh. – Pic courtesy of ucanews.com, February 10, 2015.It has been almost four months since Protestant pastors Ariful Mondol and Mousumi Mondol were arrested for illegally proselytizing among Muslim villagers in Bangladesh’s northwestern Lalmonirhat district. While the married couple was later released on bail, the case – still ongoing – has taken its toll on Banbhasa village.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/features/article/christian-proselytizing-raises-tensions-in-bangladesh#sthash.7SGg4DCl.dpuf 

Read more...
 
What's brewing in Kanyakumari: Evangelist officer, communal flashpoint
Tuesday, 03 February 2015

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/what-s-brewing-in-kanyakumari-evangelist-ias-officer-in-communal-flashpoint/article1-1312868.aspx

 

Tamil Nadu government has asked IAS officer C Umashankar to stop preaching Christianity in the state. (HT Photo)

 

A 1990 batch IAS officer, C Umashankar, caught the media's attention overnight. The Tamil Nadu government stopped the IAS officer from taking part in prayer meetings scheduled to be held in Kanyakumari between January 24 and 26. A government letter warned him against "preaching and propagating" a religion and that he would face "appropriate action" if he went ahead.

Has Umashankar used his office to propagate the faith he believes in? No says the officer. In an interview to this writer the civil servant said that he has not used his office to further his religion: "I have used my time and my vehicle".

So why has the state government sent him a letter? Is he being targeted, as he claims? Is he the victim or is there truth in the allegations against him? 

 

Read more...
 
Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale
Thursday, 29 January 2015

http://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-empty-churches-go-on-sale-1420245359

 

Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale
Hundreds of Churches Have Closed or Are Threatened by Plunging Membership, Posing Question: What to Do With Unused Buildings?

Church to playgroundThe closing of Europe’s churches reflects the rapid weakening of the faith in Europe.

The Church of England closes about 20 churches a year. Roughly 200 Danish churches have been deemed nonviable or underused. The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has shut about 515 churches in the past decade.

But it is in the Netherlands where the trend appears to be most advanced. The country’s Roman Catholic leaders estimate that two-thirds of their 1,600 churches will be out of commission in a decade, and 700 of Holland’s Protestant churches are expected to close within four years.

In Holland, one ex-church has become a supermarket, another is a florist, a third is a bookstore and a fourth is a gym. In Arnhem, a fashionable store called Humanoid occupies a church building dating to 1889, with racks of stylish women’s clothing arrayed under stained-glass windows.

In Bristol, England, the former St. Paul’s church has become the Circomedia circus training school.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, a Lutheran church has become a Frankenstein-themed bar.

The U.S. has avoided a similar wave of church closings for now, because American Christians remain more religiously observant than Europeans. But religious researchers say the declining number of American churchgoers suggests the country could face the same problem in coming years.

In the U.S., church statisticians say roughly 5,000 new churches were added between 2000 and 2010. But some scholars think America’s future will approach Europe’s, since the number of actual churchgoers fell 3% at the same time, according to Scott Thumma, professor of the sociology of religion at Connecticut’s Hartford Seminary. Mr. Thumma says America’s churchgoing population is graying. Unless these trends change, he says, “within another 30 years the situation in the U.S. will be at least as bad as what is currently evident in Europe.”

Trends for other religions in Europe haven’t matched those for Christianity. Orthodox Judaism, which is predominant in Europe, has held relatively steady.

Islam, meanwhile, has grown amid immigration from Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East. The number of Muslims in Europe grew from about 4.1% of the total European population in 1990 to about 6% in 2010, and it is projected to reach 8%, or 58 million people, by 2030, according to Washington’s Pew Research Center. 

 
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