A Christian charity has decided to omit references to the Bible in its simplified nativity booklet this Christmas in an effort to avoid confusing children who do not attend church.
The Scripture Union, one of the UK's oldest Christian organizations for young people and children, said that its annual book about the Christmas story will be trimmed down this year because many children do not know the basics.
"When we realised that children don't even know the basics of what they are celebrating, then the traditional, simple story is the best way," said Jennifer Babb, church and community fundraising manager at the Scripture Union, according to The Telegraph.
The booklets previously included references to Bible verses so that readers can compare the story to the Gospels. But this year's version is a simplified nativity which assumes that children know very little about the Jesus' birth.
The charity aims to send the booklet out to 100,000 children, and Babb said that the removal of explicit references to the bible "takes that barrier away, it makes it more of a simple story."
The Telegraph noted that the this year's version, written by Gemma Willis, includes the story of Mary's visit from an angel, Joseph's dream, the couple's journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus.
In previous versions, the nativity booklet included the visits of the shepherds and wise men, the family's flight to Egypt, and their first visit to the temple.
Babb said that the decision was made in response to several polls that showed the scale of the children's lack of knowledge about the Christmas story.
When the free booklet was unveiled on Thursday, Paul Stockwell, the head of fundraising for Scripture Union, told Premier: "We see surveys from different retailers where they ask children and young people what they think Christmas means. They're a bit of fun but they do show that knowledge of the Christian faith and the Christian story is slowing dwindling amongst the next generation."
The findings of a study conducted in 2014 revealed that one in three children between the ages of 10 and 13 do not know that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus.
Figures released by the Children's Society in 2013 showed that one in 10 children believe that Dec. 25 marks the birth of Santa Claus.
"We wanted to create something new this year that was specifically designed for the audience of children who might not know the real Christmas story. This is all part of our work to invite children and young people to explore the difference Jesus can make to the challenges and adventures of life," Babb said.
According to Premier, most of the 105,000 copies that have been printed are being distributed to disadvantaged children through food banks, hospitals and a charity that supports families with a jailed parent.
- Pro-life leaders accuse Pope Francis of undermining Church teachings on contraception, sexual morality
- Indonesian pastor faces blasphemy charge over remarks about the Quran
- Sudanese court upholds eviction of pastors as government steps up campaign to take over church properties
- Burmese Christian family who survived fierce attack from radical Buddhists forgives assailants
Apart from attacks from Fulani herdsmen and Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, Christians in Nigeria are also facing increasing threats and attacks from occult groups that are targeting churches at night.
Many Americans who consider themselves evangelicals do not actually hold evangelical beliefs, survey finds
About a quarter of Americans consider themselves to be evangelical Christians, but a survey has found that a significant proportion does not actually hold evangelical beliefs.
A Christian teacher in the U.K. is suing a school after he was suspended for referring to a transgender pupil, who self-identifies as male, as a girl.
A prominent secularist group has called for an IRS investigation into an Alabama church after it displayed a sign that endorsed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
A leading secularist group has raised concerns about cross memorials that were created by high school students in Georgia as part of a city effort to honor local military veterans.
The supporters of the Islamic State terror group are reportedly trying to frame Christians for the attack on Al Rawdah mosque in Egypt last month in an attempt to incite revenge attacks against them over the holiday season.
Members of the British parliament are asking the government to consider refusing entry to U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham, who is accused of making inflammatory comments against Islam and the LGBT community.
A new documentary from the History Channel has claimed that Jesus Christ may not have been born in a stable of an inn but a residential house owned by Joseph's relative in Bethlehem.
A young boy who was staying at the Smyllum Park orphanage in the 1960s was beaten "black and blue" after catching two nuns in an embrace at a boiler room, a child abuse inquiry has heard.
There has been a significant decline in President Donald Trump's job approval rating since February, and it is most noticeable among white evangelical Protestants, a group that proved to be his core voting bloc in the 2016 elections.
Amnesty International Ireland is being threatened with criminal charges after it refused to return an illegal donation from U.S. billionaire George Soros to fund its pro-abortion campaign.