Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Dying for Following Christ: Almost a Genocide, As Persecution Explodes

While the cross is a source of hope, it also brings persecution.

Joel Kontinen

Jesus predicted that His followers would be hated and persecuted. Even the secular media are noticing that this is exactly what is happening around us.

Christians are confronted with a very disturbing trend: Globally, more of us are facing persecution, discrimination, ostracism and perhaps even death for just one reason – following Jesus.

Recently, The Guardian published a longish article on the plight of Christians. For a Christian, the Middle East is the least safe place. Pope Francis has described the plight of Jesus’ followers in the area near Christianity’s birth “as a form of genocide.”

While ISIS is the main culprit, it is by no means the only one.

The Guardian quotes David Alton as saying that perhaps “as many as 200 million Christians in over 60 countries around the world face some degree of restriction, discrimination or outright persecution.”

He goes on to say:

Whatever the real figures the scale is enormous. From Syria, Iraq, Iran and Egypt to North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos, from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, from Cuba, Colombia and Mexico to Eritrea, Nigeria and Sudan, Christians face serious violations of religious freedom.

In some cases, campaigns by fellow-Christians and human rights organisations have brought relief from persecution and even freedom, for instance, for Sudanese doctor Meriam Yahia Ibrahim and Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.

However, thousands of others remain behind bars. Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini and Pakistani mother Asia Bibi have been imprisoned on very spurious charges.

In some places, Bibles are being burnt.

Even in the west, Christians are increasingly being ostracised and discriminated against because of their biblical views on marriage and morals, for instance.


Lyons, Kate. 2015. Dying for Christianity: millions at risk amid rise in persecution across the globe. The Guardian (27 July).