Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Word for warriors

There's a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. When you are faced with your own mortality you begin to ask the big questions about life, death and God. It looks like something along those lines that are prompting growing numbers of young British soldiers to turn to the Bible as they face the dangers of serving in Afghanistan.

According to the Bible Society about 25,000 camouflage-edition New Testaments are given each year to new recruits and frontline soldiers by the Naval, Military and Air force bible Society. These are specially produced for them by the Bible Society.

When interviewed by the Bible Society the military charity's Executive Director Richard Prendergast said: "It's no longer seen as a source of ridicule for soldiers to get out their New Testaments and read them in public. Many turn up for Bible studies carrying them."

The version being used is the CEV (Contemporary English version) New Testaments which are easy to understand and ideal for first-time Bible readers. Editions bearing the regimental badge are treasured and seen as 'part of their kit.'

Forces chaplains report it's common for soldiers going out on foot patrol to dig out a New Testament and pray through a psalm for protection.

A chaplain at a Forward Operating Base in helmand said a staff sergeant had been using the New Testament for daily studies with his troop - though none of them was a professing Christian. 'I gathered the guys around and read a bit from the Bible,' said the sergeant, 'and we all just talked about what we thought it meant."
(From the Bible Society)

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