By Christy Barritt
UK Schools Place Witchcraft Alongside Christianity
A United Kingdom school system recently revised its official religious education syllabus. Now, alongside contemporary religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, will be witchcraft and druidism.
The Daily Mail reported that Cornwall Council schools will now learn about ancient pagan beliefs which include aspects of witchcraft and even the worship of ancient gods such as Thor. Christianity will remain the dominant focus, however.
The study materials will teach children (ages five and up) the basic beliefs of paganism, suggesting children discuss the difficulties a practicing pagan pupil might face in school.
Some critics say that modern-day pagans are pushing to make such beliefs more prominent in the UK when, in fact, these religions remain only a small minority in the area. According to the Daily Mail article, the Cornwall council estimates that there are between 600 and 750 pagans out of a total population of 537,400.
Teen Church Attendance in Decline
According to a new study by the Barna Group, teen participation in small group attendance, prayer, Sunday school, church donations, and evangelism has declined.
“In several ways, teenagers are much less inclined toward spirituality than were teens a dozen years ago,” the Barna Group study reported.
Some people blame social media like Facebook for the lack of involvement. Teens are becoming more and more engaged with others through the computer, while interacting face-to-face and developing a true sense of community is fading, according to the study.
“Teenagers view religious involvement partly as a way to maintain their all-important relationships,” David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group and the director of the research said. “Yet perhaps technology such as social networking is reconfiguring teens’ needs for relationships and continual connectivity, diminishing the role of certain spiritual forms of engagement in their lives. Talking to God may be losing out to Facebook.”
Young Voters Favorable Toward Christianity
Approximately 76 percent of college-aged voters feel that Christianity has good values and principles. Sixty-five percent, however, also find Christianity to be “anti-gay,” and 62 percent described the religion as “judgmental” on certain social issues.
These are the results of a report titled, “A Generation in Transition: Religion, Values, and Politics among College-Age Millennials,” which was done jointly by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.
The survey included more than 2,000 18-24 year olds, the majority of which (75 percent) identified themselves as Christians.
Millennial voters were split on the issues of homosexual marriage and abortion. Fifty-one percent said they found abortion to be morally wrong. Only 37 percent supported preserving the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
The most important issue that young voters cared about was jobs and unemployment, with 76 percent identifying this issue as “critically important.”
Stephen Baldwin to Launch “2012 in 2012” to Feed Orphans
Actor and born-again Christian Stephen Baldwin has teamed up with talk show host Kevin McCullough and Secret Millionaire alumna Dani Johnson to form a campaign called “2012 in 2012.” The campaign is an effort to feed orphans around the world.
Christian ministries King’s Ransom Foundation and Food for Orphans are also participating. Together, they want to raise awareness of the malnutrition they warn is affecting 70 percent of the world’s 60 million orphans. They’re trying to encourage people to donate at least $92, saying that’s enough money to feed one orphan for an entire year.
A press release said, “We don’t think feeding one orphan for an entire year is too big of a task for those of us who have been blessed so much that we have not had to skip any meals even today.”
For more information, check out their website.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.