Sunday, March 31, 2019

Persecution Of Christians Highest In Modern History

            Christian persecution is at an all-time high, according to a report in Faithwire. An article entitled A Staggering 11 Christians Are Killed Every Single Day for Simply Believing in Jesus reports the following:1

When we talk about Christian persecution, it is easy to get lost in the vast array of facts and figures. We say we know that, across the world, many people are dying for their faith in Jesus, but do we truly understand the scale of it? New data taken from the latest Open Doors World Watch List indicate that some 11 Christians are martyred for their faith every single day.
The shockingly high death toll was taken from the top 50 countries ranked on this year’s World Watch List and demonstrates the incredible level of religious persecution that continues to plague the planet.
“Today, in the 21st century, we are living in a time when persecution against Christian believers is the highest in modern history,” the persecution watchdog explained in an update. “The Christian persecution we read about in Scripture and history books is not a thing of the past.”
The top five
Currently, the top five most dangerous countries in which to live as a Christian are:
1.      North Korea
2.      Afghanistan
3.      Somalia
4.      Libya
5.      Pakistan
As is the case in all of these countries, Christians remain in grave danger for simply choosing to believe in Christ. In North Korea, believers are forced into dangerous underground congregations, the discovery of which can result in persecution, arrest and even execution.
In Afghanistan, Christianity is completely outlawed, with the country’s constitution asserting Islam as the state religion. Open Doors notes that to “convert to a faith outside Islam is tantamount to treason because it’s seen as a betrayal of family, tribe and country,” adding that “very often, there is only one possible outcome for exposed and caught Christians: death.”
Pakistan has made headlines in recent years due to the protracted case brought against Christian mother Asia Bibi. Bibi, who has five children, was convicted under the country’s notorious blasphemy laws over a decade ago, and was swiftly sentenced to death. However, last October Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court in an unprecedented ruling that gave hope to many within the marginalized faith community.
Latest on Asia Bibi
Despite her acquittal almost six months ago, Bibi is still being held at an undisclosed location in Pakistan.
In the latest development, the head of an Irish human rights charity has personally urged the Pakistani authorities to do more in order to secure the release of Bibi and ensure her safe passage to Canada, where she has been granted asylum.
            Newsweek cites the study by Aid to the Church in Need 2 to emphasize that Christian persecution is worse than any time in history. Here’s an excerpt:3

The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history,” and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said.
The study by Aid to the Church in Need said the treatment of Christians has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times. 
“Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution,” the report said.
The report examined the plight of Christians in China, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Turkey over the period lasting from 2015 until 2017. The research showed that in that time, Christians suffered crimes against humanity, and some were hanged or crucified. The report found that Saudi Arabia was the only country where the situation for Christians did not get worse, and that was only because the situation couldn’t get any worse than it already was.
            In its report ‘World Watch List 2019,’ Open Doors, an organization that serves persecuted Christians worldwide, lists 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. Listed below are those 50 countries:4

1. North Korea
11. Syria
21. Central African Republic

31. Jordan

41. Russian Federation

2. Afghanistan
12. Nigeria
22. Algeria

32. Nepal

42. Malaysia

3. Somalia
13. Iraq
23. Turkmenistan

33. Bhutan

43. Kuwait

4. Libya
14. Maldives
24. Mali

34. Kazakhstan

44. Oman

5. Pakistan
15. Saudi Arabia
25. Mauritania

35. Morocco

45. United Arab Emirates

6. Sudan
16. Egypt
26. Turkey

36. Brunei

46. Sri Lanka

7. Eritrea
17. Uzbekistan
27. China

37. Tunisia

47. Colombia

8. Yemen
18. Myanmar
28. Ethiopia

38. Qatar

48. Bangladesh

9. Iran
19. Laos
29. Tajikistan

39. Mexico

49. Palestinian Territories

10. India
20. Vietnam
30. Indonesia
40. Kenya

50. Azerbaijan


          This report also reveals an increase in persecution in India and China, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10. Additionally, China jumped 16 spots, from 43 to 27. Each of these countries is home to more than a billion people, so these trends are distressing. Hindu nationalists in India continue to attack Christians with what seems like no consequences, and in China, the increased power of the government and the rule of Xi Jinping continue to make open worship difficult in some parts of the country.”5

            The Bible teaches us that the persecuted are blessed, in a spiritual sense (cf. Matthew 5:10-11; Luke 6:22). However, it goes without saying, that Christians, who live a more secure and safe life as a Christian, ought to not only pray for those who are persecuted but also provide for their material needs.

            Let the grace of giving define our Christian life. Thus may we love each other as to how we love ourselves.



2A pontifical foundation that focuses on assisting the Church wherever it is persecuted, oppressed or in material need




Websites last accessed on 31st March 2019. 

No comments: