This weekend, the radical Islamic group ISIS released a new video, showing what appeared to be the execution of 25 men by a group of boys. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS gathered a large crowd at the ancient amphitheater in Plamyra and executed the individuals who had been accused of being part of the Syrian government’s forces. Last week, ISIS also released a statement saying it had intentionally destroyed several artifacts from the 2,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site. Discuss
A.D.: The Bible Continues may have been cancelled by NBC, but the series could live on. Recently, executives at NBC opted not to bring the event series back for a second season after its initially strong ratings slowed down. But, according to Variety, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett—the husband and wife team who produce the show—still may have plans for the A.D. franchise. The duo have reportedly envisioned an online network that would be built around faith-based programming, like The Bible miniseries and A.D. If that’s the case, more episodes could be coming. As of now, the channel is gearing up for a late-2016 or early-2017 launch. Discuss
Can Shark Week really restore its good name after jumping the shark? Even though they’ve lied to you repeatedly by airing real-looking documentaries about long-extinct sharks, made you believe you’d witness a man being eaten by python, and attempted to get real scientists to be intentionally bit by a shark, Discovery Channel wants you to watch Shark Week this year. This year, they promise, they are not going to blatantly deceive you. This year, Shark Week will be all about actual sharks. They promise.
2015's Shark Week, which is being overseen for the first time by new Discovery president Rich Ross, is reportedly going to be a return to show elements like “facts,” “science” and “sharks that actually exist.” Ross told reporters, "[We're done with] that kind of 'what if' scenario that previous shows sort of played around with from a storytelling perspective, [so] we're just looking forward now, and focusing on science and research." In an interview with Mashable, the network’s VP of “documentaries” and specials, Howard Swartz, said, “I think for those who've maybe wandered away, I say come back and put your toe back in the water." Get it? If you tune in this week, just pretend that whole Megalodon thing never happened. Discuss
More than a half of all Americans think that their country is close with the Creator. A new survey, conducted by Lifeway Research, has found that 53 percent of Americans believe that “God and the nation have a special relationship.” And, despite political bickering in the media, the recent economic downturn and overseas conflicts, just four in 10 Americans actually think that “America’s best days are behind us.”
The concepts of American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny are nothing new. As Lifeway’s executive director Ed Stetzer points out in the research, the ideas have long been part of American thinking.
God Bless America is more than a song or a prayer for many Americans. It is a belief that God has blessed America beyond what is typical for nations throughout history. I am sure that would spawn many theological conversations, but it’s important to note most Americans think God has a special relationship with their country.
Out of all of the demographics mentioned in the research, evangelicals had the highest numbers of individuals to believe God is in a “special relationship” with the United States, with 67 percent agreeing with the idea. Discuss
Did you miss your community’s Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza? Or, maybe you attended an Independence Day display and think it couldn’t have possibly gotten any better. Well, witness the magic of fireworks when filmed from the sky via a drone, along with some surprisingly emotional narration overdubbing from a Morgan Freeman documentary and, of course, obligatory Katy Perry music. Somewhere, Jack Donaghy is quietly weeping. Discuss