Last year, Open Doors, a non-denominational organization, revealed that individuals murdered 4300 Christians for religious reasons in 2018. After the report though, governments and individuals across the world took relatively little action. This year has proven otherwise, as Christian murder rates are only increasing.
Rafael Augusto B.L. de Oliveira | Brazil
What does it mean to be a Christian? To some, it means finding shelter and strength through our Lord’s word in order to overcome our daily challenges. To others, it means helping those in need. Whatever are your reasons to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, being a Christian isn’t always an easy task; our faith has tests all the time. To be a Christian sometimes means having to face hatred and persecution. During hard times, it’s quite important for we Christians to keep our faith strong and stay united.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
– John 15:18-19 (KJV)
Christian Persecution in the World
When I say persecution, not only do I mean that Christians are being oppressed through violent means, but also through less obvious means such as biased laws and psychological bullying. A good example of this is how in several countries in the Middle East, laws force Christians to restrict their expression of faith.
Schools commonly teach about past oppression and violence against Christians. Unfortunately, many of these issues still occur today in parts of the world. Without action, it may only get worse. Currently, persecution of Christians happens mostly in theocratic Muslim countries and areas where terrorist cells have control.
For example, extremists in Syria levied a jizya on any non-Muslims. Those who could not comply had to either convert to Islam or face death. where Christians are a minority and are forced to live under strict regulations such as paying special taxes and not being allowed to practice their faith in public. Moreover, Islamic Saudi authorities violently imprisoned 35 Christians in 2012 for holding a prayer circle.
In several other countries, Christians and other minority religions may only practice their faith in private. In fact, nations with Sharia law often ban items and articles from other religions such as Crucifixes and statues. The mistreatment of Christians is not exclusively in Muslim countries. It also occurs in the Jewish state of Israel and dictatorships such as North Korea. According to Open Doors, the totalitarian state holds some 50,000 Christians in forced-labor camps.
Open Doors: Christians Murdered in 2018
Sometimes the dedication we have for Christ can even lead to murder. In 2018, 4300 Christians were killed across the globe, according to Open Doors, a non-denominational mission with the goal of helping Christians in countries where Christianity is oppressed for cultural or political reasons. Sadly, the number is only going up. In 2017, there were 3066 murders of Christians for religious reasons. This represents a 40% increase from the previous year.
However, Open Doors is attempting to eventually bring this number to zero. Andrew van der Bijl founded the group as a small operation to illegally smuggle Bibles to Soviet-controlled Poland in the cold war. Later on, they expanded, smuggling Bibles all over the Communist bloc. Nowadays, Open Doors helps Christians exert their rightful will of regularly practicing their faith in over 70 countries where oppressive laws still exist.
An Increased Danger
As stated above, the murder rate of Christians drastically increased last year. Unfortunately, the coming years may spell out even more danger for the world’s most common religion. Several factors are leading to this. Michel Varton, the current director of Open Doors, stated that ”The number of vandalized Churches in regions where Christianity is a minority, has highly increased in the past few years”.
Clashes with Christianity
In the internet age, information is at everyone’s hands. So, it is becoming more difficult for dictatorships to dumb down the masses. But unfortunately, many countries still use religion as a tool by teaching a twisted, radicalized version of Islam.
Governments of Muslim-majority countries often see the spread of Christianity as a threat to their power. As a result, they tend to discretely marginalize Christianity through Sharia law. For some of them, Christianity is a symbol of Western imperialism. Thus, they perceive it as a sign of disrespect to their local cultures and customs.
Some oppressive governments in Asia also see the expansion of Christianity as a threat. This has been a notably growing trend in several parts of Asia with Hindu fanaticism and Buddhist radicalism. Both have taken an aggressive stance towards foreign religions in recent years.
The Spread of Radical Islam
The vast majority of the incoming immigrants and refugees from the Middle East just want to mind their own businesses and have a chance for a fresh start in the Western world. Unfortunately, a small minority are violent radicals. With a recent uptick in radical Islam in Sweden and other countries, persecution of Christians may increase.
An End in Sight?
At this time, it does not appear that the next few years will bring an end to these horrific murders. However, groups like Open Doors and others hope to minimize the casualties and enrich religious freedom. We have only scratched the surface about this, but as the internet thrives, it appears that awareness for Christian persecution may also rise. With this, awareness groups may hope to raise more funds and rally more people to their cause to end intolerance.
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By Colin Louis | USA
As Christmas approaches us an annoying caution comes up. Saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah.” Today people are more cautious than ever not to offend anyone so they say “Happy Holidays.” This is our new exception of Americans, that we’ll get offended by “Merry Christmas!” By saying “Merry Christmas” you’re not excluding anyone or being racist. Instead, you’re saying a nice seasonal greeting that makes people smile and say thanks. Don’t fear the toxic culture created by political correctness. Also, if you are offended when someone says “Merry Christmas” just smile back and say “Merry Christmas.”
This type of culture is dangerous. It leads to an oppression of intellectual discussion and thought. When we as a society decide what is and is not acceptable to say and think people’s ideas are going to be smashed. Ideas, ideology, and people that are a general danger to freedom in the west should be called out on it. If we’re afraid to challenge someone or something because of the labels it will earn us we have failed as a society of thought. Currently in Europe, politicians fail to recognize the mass immigration problem that is destroying their nations. That’s what happens when your society disregards or even bans criticism of certain ideas. A society where we’re slaves to not offending anyone is not one that will thrive.
“Facts don’t care about your feelings.”
If a fact offends you then you should reconsider your argument. We’re taught that an argument is based on facts, unless you have opposing facts then you should consider the opposing argument. Pointing out a fact is not hate speech. Depending on context then what you say could actually be offensive. (This still does not merit an argument worthy of censorship.) For example, what if I point out that current issues like Black Lives Matter are actually about Government power and not race. This is because of the hard crackdown on urban towns by the war on drugs that has put low income communities which are typically of a minority population more at risk of police violence. Using this to make the point I just made isn’t racist. Yes, we could have a reasonable debate about the idea and if it’s true or not using facts and data without labels like “racist” being used. Should it be used in a white supremacist context than yes it would be considered racist. Facts aren’t racist, pointing them out isn’t racist. The way they can be used could be racist.
Political correctness is not only anti-fact it is also dangerous. Some ideas have flaws, every ideology should be debated and receive skepticism. As a Christian I welcome productive discussion and debate about my beliefs, principles, and ideas. As should every religion or ideology. Unfortunately political correctness has made it harder to even be skeptical of some possibly bad ideas. A good example would be the recent travel ban imposed by US President Donald Trump. The ban made it illegal for refugees to come from certain nations, if you support the ban or not it is possible to have a reasonable debate about it without attempting to label the ban as Islamophobic when it bans all people from those countries. Not to mention the ban didn’t include Indonesia the most Islamic nation on the planet. The ban was an issue of national security, not religious supremacy. You may think the ban isn’t necessary or not support it for another reason but please don’t assume that everyone who supports it is racist. Obviously all Muslims aren’t terrorists and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong, but when someone supports a security measure because they aren’t scared of PC culture calling them racist is wrong. No longer will you be able to cite facts and evidence to back a claim for fear that you will be labeled. When we fail to recognize various failures or problems for fear of PC culture we are in a very dangerous place.
The corner foundation of tyranny is censorship. Society will silence opposition. Rather than debate someone who disagrees with you it’s much easier to call them racist. Political correctness attempts to do just that, if you don’t follow a long and constantly changing set of guidelines for what is acceptable to say you will be labeled extreme. PC culture forces others and in some cases ourselves to write off ideas that are developed by facts and evidence because they may offend someone. Some in the US will tell you that it isn’t about censorship. It’s hard to believe this when in countries where they’ve gotten the chance leftists have banned free speech they call “hate speech.” Leftists haven’t just banned extreme terms like the N word they’ve also gone far enough in Ontario to allow the government to possibly take children from their families if the parents don’t accept the young child’s gender identity.
So, political correctness is a disease in modern society that disregards reasonable, and factual thought. Don’t fear if you may offend someone because you told the truth. PC culture is denting us, it has infiltrated our thoughts, even our holidays! We can’t surrender the truth. We can’t allow a ruling body to dictate what we can say. We can’t let PC culture destroy the truth.