WEEK IN RELIGION
Ben Ammi Ben-Israel, the founder of the African Hebrew Israelites movement, died at age 75 on Dec. 27 in Israel.
Born Ben Carter in Chicago in 1939, Ben-Israel said that some black Africans were descended from the biblical tribe of Judah. He took a group of followers, most of whom hailed from Chicago, to settle in the West African country of Liberia in the late 1960s. The group later migrated to Israel.
The group, which has thousands of followers in Africa, the Caribbean, Israel and the United States, practices polygamy and adheres to a vegan diet. Ben-Israel, known in the group as the Messiah, said the Angel Gabriel appeared to him in 1966 and told him to “return to the holy land.”
SURVEY SAYS
A Gallup poll released Dec. 24 found that about 75 percent of Americans identify as Christian. Conducted in 2014, the survey of 173,490 people also found that of those who identify as Christian, 50 percent identify as protestant, 24 percent identify as Catholic, 2 percent identify as Mormon, 2 percent identify as Muslim and 2 percent identify as Jewish.
GOOD BOOK?
“Disarming Scripture,” by Derek Flood
For many Christians the problem of violence in scripture can result in a crisis of faith — especially when we see how such passages have been used throughout history to justify horrific bloodshed in God's name. Moving beyond typical conservative and liberal approaches, which seek to either defend or whitewash over violence in the Bible, “Disarming Scripture” takes a surprising yet compelling approach: learning to read the Bible like Jesus did.
— Metanoia Books
THE WORD
Dominican: A Roman Catholic order of priests founded by St. Dominic in Spain in the early 13th century. They focus on preaching and teaching and take vows of poverty. There is also an order of Dominican nuns. — ReligionStylebook.com
RELIGION AROUND THE WORLD
According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Benin is:
• Roman Catholic: 27.1 percent • Muslim: 24.4 percent • Vodoun: 17.3 percent • Protestant: 10.4 percent • Other Christian: 5.3 percent • Other: 15.5 percent
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