It’s time for our weekly recap of the biggest faith, religion and culture stories. Here you go:
It was a big week for faith in Hollywood, with a viral video featuring “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson baptizing a fan at the reality star’s Louisiana church — and with the release of “God’s Not Dead,” a Christian movie aimed at tackling the seemingly never-ending battle over God’s existence.
Actor Kevin Sorbo, who plays an atheist philosophy professor who threatens to fail a student after he refuses to disavow God’s existence, told TheBlaze last week that he believes “God’s Not Dead” will help convert agnostics to Christianity.
Then there’s the story about a Catholic nun who absolutely stunned the judges on “The Voice of Italy.” If you’re not aware, the premise of TV show is that music critics start with their backs to singers as they perform. Then, if they like what they hear, the judges swivel around in their seats and have the chance to visually observe the performer in question.
They were in for a surprise last week, though, when they realized that it was none other than Sister Cristina Scuccia, a nun, who was rocking out to Alicia Keys’ “No One.” The crowd went wild. And, naturally, the clip went viral.
And while we’re still on the subject of Hollywood, who could ignore former “Two and a Half Men” star Angus T. Jones’ claim that he was once a “paid hypocrite.” In an interview with Houston’s KHOU-TV, Jones expounded upon his work on — and departure from — the popular TV show.
“And it was making light of topics in our world that are really problems for a lot of people and I was a paid hypocrite because I wasn’t okay with it, but I was still doing it,” he said of the show.
Moving on to the intersection of faith and politics, did you catch the battle between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, and atheists over the politician’s decision to share Philippians 4:13 on social media?
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, wrote Walker a letter asking him to delete the posts, according to the group’s co-president Dan Barker. After Walker’s initial silence on the matter, his spokeswoman released a statement to TheBlaze highlighting how he plans to handle the situation (hint: atheist activists won’t be happy).
On another note, in the midst of a discovery which many scientists believe to be “landmark evidence for the Big Bang,” Dr. Danny Falkner, a creation scientist who works for Answers in Genesis, claims that the world is much younger than mainstream science believes it to be.
Speaking of taking a stand, former House stenographer Dianne Reidy claims that her rant about God and the Constitution that got her removed from the floor last October wasn’t a break down. Instead, she claims God guided her to “bring a word of correction” to the U.S. government.
And Fred Phelps, the anti-gay former pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas, died Wednesday evening. Prior to his death, his estranged son, Nathan Phelps posted on his Facebook that his father was excommunicated from the church in August 2013 (here’s more about how the insular church handles exclusions of former members).
Remember news of the big decision that Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Ca., recently made to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)?
TheBlaze recently learned more about the multimillion dollar split, which unfolded, in part, because of a disagreement over the belief in the deity of Jesus and salvation through Christ. Church members were so insistent on splitting that they offered to vacate their homes and forgo their salaries. Pastor John Ortberg, who said these actions weren’t necessary, praised their devotion.
On the topic of churches, workers who were clearing debris from the site of the New York City explosion discovered a Bible that survived the blast — one that belonged to the Spanish Christian Church that was destroyed. Upon seeing the Bible, Pastor Thomas Perez suffered heart palpitations and was taken to a hospital by ambulance.
And Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hills Church in Seattle, Wash., who was recently involved in a book-buying controversy, is reportedly “going offline” in a leaked open letter that was attributed to the faith leader. The text also quoted him as apologizing to parishioners for mistakes he’s made in his ministry.
Also, are young Christians “embarrassingly ignorant” of their faith? One college professor has a plan to change that.
And speaking of change, a clinic where infamous abortion practitioner Dr. Kermit Gosnell once worked is getting a major face-lift.
Lastly, don’t forget to take a look at why atheist comedian Bill Maher once again called God a “psychotic mass murderer.”