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Religion news: Seattle-based mega-church dissolves

Week in religion

In the wake of its decision to sideline its controversial lead pastor, Seattle-based mega-church Mars Hill announced this week that it would be dissolving its network of churches in Washington, Oregon, California and New Mexico.

Pastor Mark Driscoll was placed on leave in August, after church elders began an investigation on whether or not Driscoll had abused his power while working at the church he helped found in 1996. Though the church ultimately did not find him guilty of any formal charges, it asked him to step aside due to his bullying behavior and “quick temper.”

In a news release posted to its website, church leaders said the plan was for each of the 13 branches to continue on as autonomous entities. Mars Hill had already shut down several other branches before the announcement was made.

Survey says

A recent poll of Anglican clergy showed that 2 percent of respondents don’t believe in God, while another 16 percent said they were unclear on the matter. The data also revealed that older clergy members that had been in the ministry longer held more unorthodox beliefs than their younger counterparts.

Good book?

“Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms,” by Gerard Russell

Despite its reputation for religious intolerance, the Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive and strange faiths. But today, with the Middle East in turmoil, they face greater challenges than ever before. In “Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms,” former diplomat Gerard Russell ventures to the distant, nearly impassable regions where these mysterious religions still cling to survival. He lives alongside the Mandaeans and Ezidis of Iraq, the Zoroastrians of Iran, the Copts of Egypt, and others. Drawing on his extensive travels and archival research, Russell provides an essential record of the past, present, and perilous future of these remarkable religions.

— Basic Books

The word

Veda: Hinduism’s most ancient scriptures. There are four: Rig Veda, Atharva Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda. The Vedas include more than 100,000 verses and additional prose. The term stems from a Sanskrit word meaning knowledge. Many Hindus believe that the Vedas were revealed by God and/or realized by ancient sages.

— ReligionStylebook.com

Religion around the world

According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Guyana is:

- 30.5 percent Protestant

- 28.4 percent Hindu

- 8.1 percent Roman Catholic

- 7.2 percent Muslim

- 1.1 percent Jehovah’s Witnesses

- 17.7 percent other Christian

- 1.9 percent other

- 4.3 percent none

- 0.9 percent unspecified

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Religion news: Seattle-based mega-church dissolves