Annihilationism – an interesting article from Theopedia

I found this article from Theopedia. A great summary of the debate between Annihilationism and other beliefs of the state of the dead and eternal life. Another great resource on this topic is the movie, Hell and Mr Fudge. Another interesting blog article is this one.

This is my personal position: That the presence of sin is something that God wants to, and has to, remove from existence. That the soul is not inherently eternal and that our eternity is entirely based on God. That the removal of those who reject God leaves us, who have gone through the great tribulation of a sinful life, will be living examples to future created beings of the wonder and majesty of a God who died to redeem those who were caught in this great tribulation. God loves all of his creations, even those who sin and reject Him. Keeping them alive and suffering in Hell forevermore seems contrary to a God who loves His children. Essentially I believe that those who reject God, reject eternity and as eternity is God’s gift so that we may live with him, these choose death – nothingness. Eternity is a gift, the gift of life with God. This is our real state, the one that Adam and Eve started in the Garden long ago. 

From (Accessed 9/6/17) [This text has not been modified in any way]
Annihilationism is the belief that the final fate of those who are not saved is literal and final death and destruction. It runs counter to the mainstream traditional Christian understanding of hell as eternal suffering and separation from God.
In contrast to the more traditional view, which holds that the wicked will remain conscious in hell forever, annhilationism teaches that, whether or not God may use hell to exact some conscious punishment for sins, he will eventually destroy or annihilate the wicked completely, leaving only the righteous to live on in immortality. This is essentially a moot point for Universalists since in their view all will be saved and hell will one day be empty.
Each of the three views, Annihilationism, Eternal Torment and Universalism, has at least one major feature in common with the alternatives. Universalism and Eternal Torment both affirm that everyone will have immortality. Universalism and Annihilationism affirm that evil will one day no longer exist, and Annihilationism and Eternal Torment both affirm that some will be punished eternally, without remedy. For the annihilationist, however, eternal punishment is seen as “permanent elimination.”
Conditional immortality
The doctrine of Annihilationism is often, although not always, bound-up with the notion of Conditional Immortality, a belief that the soul is not innately immortal. At death, both the wicked and righteous will pass into unconsciousness, only to be resurrected at the final judgment. God, who alone is immortal, passes on the gift of immortality to the righteous, who will live forever in heaven or on an idyllic earth, while the wicked will ultimately face the second death, i.e. extinction.
Even though it may be logically possible for one to believe in the natural immortality of the soul in the orthodox sense (rightly understood), and at the same time affirm that God will annihilate the wicked, “in actual practice those who teach annihilationism also teach conditional immortality, and vice versa. This accounts for the tendency to treat the terms as synonyms.” ^[1]^
While annihilationists claim that they find their position to be biblical, one common rationale is that divine justice and love make eternal suffering in Hell a morally repugnant idea. Many annihilationists claim that the idea is an unfair punishment for finite sins of people. How can this accurately reflect God’s ultimate victory over suffering and evil, they argue, when it permanently installs a place of suffering in the final, eternal order? Likewise, how can the saved live in blissful joy knowing that some of their loved ones burn forever in hell? With this in mind, many annihilationists (though certainly not all) claim that the idea of “eternal suffering in Hell” is a misconception and perversion of the truth about God’s justice and love.
Traditionalists respond that only God is qualified to determine what is truly just, and raise suspicions that annihilationists may be succumbing to modern cultural pressures. The argument does go both ways, however. A common response to the idea of annihilation is that God is infinitely holy and therefore demands infinite conscious punishment. Another argument is that preaching annihilationism will make people less eager to spread the Gospel. Annihilationists respond that what matters is not what any person believes the holiness of God demands, because only God is qualified to determine what is truly just, and that whether or not something is true is irrelevant of how it affects evangelism, if it is even conceded that annihilationism dampens missionary zeal in the first place.^[2]^
Main arguments

The biblical language of destruction

Annihilationist argue that language used in the Bible to describe the fate of the lost speaks in terms of destruction, death, and similar terms which imply a ceasing to exist. Examples include Matthew 10:28, where Jesus warns of God’s ability to destroy body and soul in Gehenna, Matt 13:40-42 where Jesus speaks of the judgement by comparing it to weeds being thrown into a furnace, Romans 6:23 where Paul says that the wages of sin is death, 2 Peter 2:6, where Peter says that what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah was an example of what will happen to the lost, and so forth.

Notions of hell depend on Greek ideas

Annihilationists also claim that traditional notions of hell depend on Greek ideas of an immortal soul, which have been erroneously read back into Christian Scripture. Traditionalists find this irrelevant, pointing to passages in the Bible they claim support the idea of an immortal soul. Annihilationists reply by denying that Scripture does teach this, instead pointing to Scripture that declares immortality itself to be a gift.
William Crockett responds,
There is no doubt that second-century Christian apologists drew heavily on Greek philosophy, especially on the philosophy of the Cynics, to support the Christian position. But Fudge makes it sound as if we have a struggle between Paul, the Hebraic-minded Jew, and post–New Testament hellenists. In fact, Paul himself was heavily influenced by hellenism, as was every Jew in Palestine during the first century. ‘In Hellenistic- Roman times,’ says Martin Hengel, ‘Jerusalem was an ‘international city,’ in which representatives of the Diaspora throughout the world met together.’ In short, says Hengel, ‘Palestinian Judaism must be regarded as Hellenistic Judaism.’ We need to be careful, therefore, not to suggest that the New Testament writers looked through Jewish Old Testament eyes when in fact their literature, education, culture, philosophy, and language were thoroughly permeated with Greek thought… [A]lready in the first century we know that the Pharisees of which Paul was one—had absorbed the doctrine of immortality. Josephus comments on the Pharisees: They believe that souls have power to survive death and that there are rewards and punishments under the earth for those who have led lives of virtue or vice: eternal imprisonment is the lot of evil souls, while the good souls receive an easy passage to a new life (Antiquities 8.14). Every soul, they maintain, is imperishable, but the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment (War 2.163). We cannot say that New Testament writers endorsed the Platonic or Pharisaic belief in a never-dying soul. If this were the case, annihilationism as a view would be impossible to maintain because the soul in every human would simply exist forever, whether in heaven or in hell. In the New Testament, however, we find the Hebrew belief in the resurrection of the dead rather than the Greek immortality of the soul (1 Cor. 15:53-55; cf. Dan. 12:2). The Pharisees believed in the resurrection as well, but only for the righteous; yet they still expected the souls of the wicked to be punished eternally. Their view combined the Greek idea of immortality with the Hebrew doctrine of resurrection. The apostles taught that everyone, whether good or evil, would be resurrected (John 5:29; Acts 24:15; cf. Dan. 12:2); they did not suggest the soul had some special substance that made it eternal. Yet it is clear from the New Testament that both the righteous and the wicked are destined to exist forever even though the precise nature of the resurrected bodies is not always clear. All things depend on God for their existence, and it is God who resurrects and sustains his creatures, some unto life in heaven, and some unto death inthe place we call hell.^[3]^

Cosmic harmony

William Crockett writes,
“If [annihilationism] were not so, say the annihilationists, how could there be harmony in the cosmos? When God creates a new heaven and a new earth (Isa. 65:17; Rom. 8:19-23), is it not reasonable to expect the whole creation to be at peace with God? If somewhere, in some dark corner of the universe, there are still rebellious or suffering creatures gnashing their teeth, how can this be considered harmony? “This is a reasonable argument, but an argument that better suits universalism than it does annihilationism. The logic of harmony at the end of time would suggest that God will gather all his creation into one big harmonious family, rather than setting up a cosmic scaffold on the Judgment Day to dispatch masses of people into oblivion. “In any case, the problem with this kind of argument is that it imposes present-day expectations on ancient writers. The annihilationists suppose that a new heaven and a new earth should produce harmony, or else the renovation is somehow incomplete. To annihilationists it seems ludicrous to say that God will renovate nature, yet still have sinners languishing in hell. But the Jewish writers of late antiquity do not follow this line of reasoning. It matters little whether the wicked are destroyed, plunged into hell, or otherwise shriveled into insignificance. They never suggest that harmony must come from annihilation as opposed to eternal suffering. Put bluntly, harmony comes when evil is removed notwithstanding the method. To them the wicked are hostile elements, intrusions that mar the landscape of God’s renovation. When judgment finally comes, the wicked are cast aside, and that is all that matters.”^[4]^ To this, an annihilationist might argue that, philosophy and common beliefs of the apostle’s contemporaries aside, that the scripture does indicate cosmic harmony, that all things are under God and that his enemies will be done away with, which does not allow for the eternal existence, let alone torment, of the wicked. Passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 and Ephesians 1:10 are often cited ^[5]^
Literalism and symbolism
Much of the debate revolves around terminology and the symbolic imagery of Revelation. Annihilationists argue that passages that speak of the unsaved as perishing (John 3:16) or being destroyed (Matt. 10:28) should be taken literally. Traditionalists argue these terms do not necessarily include the idea of annihilation or ceasing to exist. Traditionalists argue that the passages in Revelation that speak of everlasting torment, even though it is apocalyptic imagery, should nonetheless be taken literally. Annihilationists point out that such imagery is, in virtually all other cases, not literal at all (e.g. the lamb, the beast, the stars, the candlesticks etc), that symbolic language from the Old Testament is used (such as when one compares Revelation 14:9-11, 19:3 with Isaiah 34:9-10), and claim that literal interpretations of the meanings of visions referred to in texts such as Revelation 20:10 lead to serious logical and hermeneutical problems. ^[6]^
History of support
The vast majority of Christian writers, from Tertullian to Luther, generally held to traditional notions of hell. However, the annihilationist position is not without some historical warrant. Embryonic forms of conditional immortality can be found in the writing of Justin Martyr (d. 165).^[7]Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107) is also supposed to be a conditionalist according to some conditionalist writers. In his Epistle to the Magnesians, he wrote “Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be”. ^[8]^ Some suggest it is also found in the writings of Arnobius (d. 330).^ [9]^ However, the Second Council of Constantinople (553) condemned the idea.
In 1520 Martin Luther (1483-1546) published a defense of 41 of his propositions and cited the pope’s immortality declaration as among “those monstrous opinions to be found in the Roman dunghill of decretals.” The 27th Proposition reads,
“However, I permit the Pope establish articles of faith for himself and for his own faithful – such are: a) That the bread and wine are transubstantiated in the sacrament; b) that the essence of God neither generates nor is generated; c) that the soul is the substantial form of the human body; d) that he (the pope) is emperor of the world and king of heaven, and earthly god; e) that the soul is immortal; and all these endless monstrosities in the Roman dunghill of decretals – in order that such as his faith is, such may be his gospel, such also his faithful, and such his church, and that the lips may have suitable lettuce and the lid may be worthy of the dish.” ^[10]^
Annihilationism today
Today many traditionalists claim that the doctrine is most often associated with groups descended from William Miller and the Adventist movement of the mid-1800s, including Seventh-day AdventistsJehovah’s Witnesses, [Blogger note: Why call JW’s Adventists?] and other Adventist groups. However, a number of evangelical theologians, including Anglican John Stott, Church of Christ elder Edward FudgeOpen Theists Clark Pinnock and John Sanders, as well as Philip Edgecombe Hughes and others have offered support for the doctrine, touching off a heated debate within mainstream evangelical Christianity.
Since the 1960s, Annihilationism seems to be gaining as a legitimate minority opinion within modern, conservative Protestant theology. It has found support and acceptance among some British evangelicals, although viewed with greater suspicion by their American counterparts.
Popular advocates
Further reading


  • David L. Edwards and John StottEvangelical Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988)
  • Edward W. Fudge, The Fire That Consumes (Fallbrook, CA: Verdict Publications, 1982)
  • Clark Pinnock, “The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent,” Criswell Theological Review 4 (Spring 1990). [1]
  • Le Roy Edwin Froom, The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, 2 vols. (Washington, DC: The Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1965), a Seventh-Day Adventist view
  • Philip E. Hughes, The True Image: The Origin and Destiny of Man in Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989).


  • Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, eds., Hell Under Fire : Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004) ISBN 0310240417
  • John H. Gerstner, Repent or Perish: With a Special Reference to the Conservative Attack on Hell (Ligonier, Pennsylvania: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1990) ISBN 187761114X
  • Robert A. Morey, Death and the Afterlife (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1984) ISBN 0871234335
  • William G. T. Shedd, The Doctrine of Endless Punishment (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1986) ISBN 0851517544
  • Robert A. Peterson, Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Press, 1995) ISBN 0875523722
  • Harry Buis – The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment



Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses”. Conversely Marcus Aurelius is quoted as saying “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”


Many have asked the question: What is truth? And many have come to the conclusion that truth is relative to your position, much like Nietzsche. Francis Bacon had a poke at truth when he said, “What is truth? Said the jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.” His reference to Pilate here is probably the most poignant example of missing the point there ever was in history. We pick up the story in John 18:37-38:


“Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”


“What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime.”


If Pilate had only known that the very essence of Truth was standing in front of him! Jesus directly referred to this, a while before these events, in John 14:6 when he said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” So when people say that Truth is relative or like Nietzsche say that Truth is up to perspective then remember that the Truth of Jesus Christ is ultimate. What do I mean by that? The Truth of Jesus Christ is that we live in a fallen world in the middle of a great cosmic battle and the ONLY way out is through the person/God of Jesus Christ. The Truth is that we live in a shadow world, a shadow of the real world, and that Jesus says I have the key, follow me. Not always an easy think but all you HAVE to do is say ‘Yes, tell me more”.


[References:, Bible NLT Version]



Religious Intolerance

Interesting article from The Age []

Age of intolerance: the war on religion


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As Christian villager Asia Bibi languished in a Pakistani jail awaiting death by hanging for drinking water from a Muslim cup, two suicide bombers killed 85 worshippers in a Peshawar church.
For Egypt’s Copts, who risk having the small cross-tattoos many wear on their wrists burnt off with acid by militant Muslims, the Arab Spring has been wintry. In August it got worse: Muslim Brotherhood supporters, blaming them for the army’s removal of president Mohamed Mursi, attacked more than 100 Christian sites – 42 churches were razed.
In Somalia, al-Shabab, which slaughtered scores of people at a Kenyan shopping mall in September, has reportedly vowed to kill every Somali Christian.

For Egypt’s Copts, who risk having the small cross-tattoos many wear on their wrists burnt off with acid by militant Muslims, the Arab Spring has been wintry. Photo: Nasser Nasser

In northern Nigeria, Boko Haram has butchered thousands of Christians, as well as Muslims they consider inadequately ideological – such as those seeking an education.


Four of every five acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians, according to the Germany-based International Society for Human Rights. The secular US think tank the Pew Forum says Christians face harassment or oppression in 139 nations, nearly three-quarters of all the countries on earth.
It is not just Muslims, who themselves often face horrendous persecution, who attack Christians. In the Indian state of Orissa, Hindu nationalists attacked Christians in a vicious pogrom in 2008, killing 500, injuring thousands with machetes, and leaving 50,000 homeless. A nun was raped and paraded naked through the streets, watched by police who arrested no one.
In Burma, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Buddhist militants have murdered Christians, Muslims and Hindus. In 2010 the Burmese military attacked Christian minorities from helicopters, reportedly killing thousands.
These cases are horrific, certainly, but surely they are disconnected and accidental acts of cruelty and violence? Not so, rights observers say: they are all part of the biggest human rights challenge now facing the globe – religious intolerance – and also part of a largely unobserved global war on Christians. Things may be worse now for more Christians than at any time in history, including under the Roman Empire.
”War” does not mean a unified campaign directed by a single co-ordinating mind. But it is no exaggeration, Vatican analyst John Allen argues in his new book, The Global War on Christians, because it represents a ”massive, worldwide pattern of violence and oppression directed against a specific group of people, often explicitly understood by its perpetrators as part of a broader cultural and spiritual struggle”. If we are not honest enough to call it a war, we will not face it with the necessary urgency, he says.
What is happening? Why are Christians especially at risk, and why are Western governments, media and churches so reluctant to acknowledge it, let alone act? And, as some observers suggest, is religious persecution heading back to the West?
Religion is often only one factor in this violence, part of a combustible cocktail of racial, ethnic, economic and linguistic motives, but increasingly – such as with the rising tide of puritanical Muslim Salafists – it is the main or only reason. And in the countries where the problem is most severe, persecution has accelerated and deepened in the past two years.
The international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need last week launched its 191-page report Persecuted and Forgotten, challenging the international community’s willingness to stand up for religious freedom.
The report calls the flight of Christians from the Middle East an exodus of almost biblical proportions. ”Incidents of persecution are now apparently relentless and worsening: churches being burnt, Christians under pressure to convert, mob violence against Christian homes, abduction and rape of Christian girls, anti-Christian propaganda in the media and from government, discrimination in schools and the workplace.”
Long-time religious liberty analyst and advocate Liz Kendal says when she began monitoring religious violence 15 years ago, ”I was reporting on an attack here or there, usually a militant who came in and attacked a missionary. Now it’s pogroms where people massacre their neighbours with machetes and with impunity”. Kendal is the Melbourne-based advocacy director of Christian Faith and Freedom.
This is a frightening new feature, that neighbours join or lead the brutality. ”One of the disturbing things about Syria is not just all the al-Qaeda-linked groups, but that local Muslims welcome them. They want their Christian neighbours to leave,” Kendal says.
Persecution can be a nebulous term. Both Christians and Muslims in the West have used it to refer to non-life-threatening discrimination. American scholar Charles Tieszen’s definition is a good one: any unjust action of mild to intense levels of hostility, directed at people belonging to a religion resulting in varying levels of harm, in which the victim’s religious identification is the main motive.
Todd Johnson, of Gordon Conwell’s Centre for the Study of Global Christianity, estimates 70 million Christians have died for their faith, 45 million of them in the 20th century.
John Allen notes that ”this boom in religious violence is still very much a growth industry. Christians today are by some order of magnitude the most persecuted religious body on the planet,” suffering not just martyrdom but all forms of intimidation and oppression in record numbers.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which monitors religious persecution and names the worst offenders in an annual report, listed 16 nations guilty of ”heinous and systematic” offences in its 2012 report.
Only one group is under attack in all 16 nations: Christians. (The countries are Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.)
Open Doors lists 25 countries as most hazardous, 18 of them Muslim-majority nations – six in Asia, seven in Africa, eight in the Middle East, and four in the former Soviet empire. As Allen notes, this shows that it really is a global war.
The Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, may soon be emptied of its adherents, and of other religious minorities. In Iraq, which had 1.5 million Christians before the first Gulf War, the total is now possibly as little as a 10th of that. Most have fled, but unnumbered thousands have been killed.
Muslims also suffer greatly – in Buddhist Burma and Thailand, in Hindu India and communist China, and in Muslim countries where their particular form is a minority. Hindus are persecuted in Buddhist countries, such as Sri Lanka. Iranian authorities, brutal against Christians, are even more vicious when it comes to Baha’is. Persecution seems an equal-opportunity affair.
Nor are Christians immune from perpetrating violence, as the world has seen in Rwanda, the Congo and Yugoslavia in the past 20 years. Yet when it comes to victims, they are well out in front. Why?
World Evangelical Alliance spokesman Thomas Schirrmacher says a number of factors combine. Christianity is much the biggest religion, so its numbers are likely to be large, and it is experiencing enormous growth in dangerous places where it makes established groups feel threatened. Religious nationalists tend to identify Christianity with Western colonialism. Christians, supported by better international networks, also tend to be more outspoken in advocating rights and democracy and in opposing corruption.
Dictators fear that Christians do not give them the undivided allegiance they demand (think North Korea, China or Vietnam), while some commentators even suggest Christians help bring suffering on themselves because of their willingness to turn the other cheek – militant Muslims might be more wary if they didn’t have impunity, if Christians too adopted suicide bombing.
Why, 1700 years after the Edict of Milan, in which Constantine decreed religious tolerance in the Roman Empire, is religious intolerance so savage? A number of cross currents have come together, including rising religious nationalism, Islamic fundamentalism driven particularly by Saudi Arabia’s petrodollars, victory for Islamists against Russia in Afghanistan, which sent the jihadis back to their various homes with ambitions entrenched, and the loss of American political influence after the global financial crisis.
This has been encouraged by a shameful apathy or denial by First World leaders. When it comes to secular politics, the victims are too Christian to matter much to the left, who are much more comfortable bashing the doubtless legitimate but comparatively minor target of Israel. And they are too brown or too foreign to matter much to most on the right.
Secularists also tend to think of Christians as the oppressor, not the oppressed. When they picture persecution, they turn to history: the crusades, the Inquisition, Europe’s savage 17th century religious wars, and colonial exploitation. But, as John Allen observes: ”Today we do not live on the pages of a Dan Brown potboiler, in which Christians are dispatching mad assassins to settle historical scores. Instead, they’re the ones fleeing assassins others have dispatched.”
He also cites two sets of ”blinders”. Christians in the West can overstate the struggles they face from an increasingly post-Christian state, which diminishes sympathy for the Christians in real danger. Second, Western powerbrokers tend to underestimate the role religion plays in persecution in the Third World, its consistency as a driver.
Liz Kendal says there was a brief period when the US made a difference through its religious freedom bill. Introduced in 1998, it worked well for a decade, but collapsed with the global financial crisis in 2008 when the US economic clout ”evaporated overnight and religious liberty was affected immediately, especially in China and Iran”, she says.
”Now the gloves are off. Persecution with impunity is the order of the day and no one can stop it. America could threaten sanctions, and things would settle down, but those days are over. ”
Kendal is scathing about Western churches, saying they often deliberately avert their eyes. ”The Western church is so happy having a nice time in celebratory worship, they don’t want the burden of this knowledge (of what is happening to their brethren). Pastors feel under pressure to have their congregations leave the church feeling upbeat.”
She says the churches have to stop expecting political solutions. ”The cavalry is not going to come over the hill, and it’s not where the church’s faith should be anyway.”
Her pessimism runs deep. Not only is religious persecution unstoppable in Islamic and other Third World countries, but it is on the way in the West, if in a different form, she says.
Where Christian social conservatism was once mainstream, she predicts Christians will face jail and other sanctions if they do not toe the fast-changing secular line on such issues as condoning homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Cardinal Francis George, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, made a similar prediction, noting in 2010: ”I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
And why does mainstream Western media miss the big picture? ”That’s the million-dollar question, and I don’t know,” Kendal replies. She suggests it is a combination of ignorance by journalists about the historical and political context of persecution and a political correctness that will not allow them to criticise Muslims for fear of being labelled racist or Islamophobic. ”It’s just too hot to handle,” she says.
”Turn on your TV and there is a young BBC reporter in Syria saying ‘these freedom fighters are fighting for democracy’. And behind him are bushy-bearded jihadists waving a black flag and shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ [God is great], fresh from cutting throats.”
In Burma, Kendal says, Western journalists believe the regime’s talk of reform and don’t realise Aung San Suu Kyi has been silenced, or the religious hatred that is directed against ethnic minorities. In Sudan, the Islamic regime is running a declared jihad against the African Christians, who are sitting on the last of the country’s oil. ”It’s genocide taking place before our eyes, and we’re not talking about it.”
Paul Marshall, author of Blind Spot – When Journalists Don’t Get Religion, thinks another factor is that so few journalists are Christian. Thus they tend to think that religion doesn’t have any intellectual content, it is merely feelings and emotion, so it’s not worth the effort to learn about it.
Marshall, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute for Religious Freedom in Washington, says the churches, in turn, are not very good at talking to journalists. It’s easy, too, to overlook that opponents such as Osama bin Laden have had a coherent, intelligent view of the world, even if we disagree with it.
Meanwhile suffering Christians might find scant consolation in the knowledge they were warned – Jesus says, in the Gospel of John: ”In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Barney Zwartz is religion editor.

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