Since Christianity began with Jesus' death, Christians have been persecuted for their faith. This is not a little known fact, and should be noted by every Christian. From Diocletianic Persecution in the early Roman Empire, to the murders by Hindu Nationalists in India, an estimated 70 million Christians have been martyred, of which 65 percent (around 45.5 million) happened in the twentieth century . Seventy million is too many lives to be kept quiet. People have the wrong outlook on life, and I'll prove it in the following examples of this inhumanity.
Some of the best-known historical martyrs were in early Christianity, with the deaths of Saints Paul, Stephen, Barnabas, and other apostles. Paul was to be scourged (Acts 22:24), and he was stoned (Acts 14:19) and beheaded in Rome . Stephen was also stoned (Acts 7:58-59), and John the Baptist was beheaded (see Matthew 14:1-12). More can be learned about early Christian martyrs in John Foxe’s book, Foxe's Book of Martyrs (Forgotten Books, 1888). His book (co-authored by A. Clarke) gives an excellent historical perspective on early Christian martyrs, with specific information on many of these people.
Christian martyrdom has not stopped in the last 2,000 years. In Poland during 1939–1945 of World War II, an estimated 3,000 Catholics were by killed by Nazis (1,992 of these in concentration camps) . At the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, 2,600 Catholic priests from 24 different countries were murdered . Many more Christians from most all denominations were killed during the war.
China has long been famed as an anti-Christian nation, with the distribution of Bibles and Christian literature outlawed. A February 18, 2009 article by Worthy News reads, "Over 60 Christian leaders, including two South Korean pastors and an elderly well-known evangelical believer, were detained in Central China as part of a crackdown on unauthorized worship…". Worthy News has reported various other cases of Christianity under fire in China, such as the closing of a House Church Law Firm , a woman not being allowed to see her imprisoned Christian husband , and a Christian bookstore owner detained .
China is not the only area where Christian persecution has spread. For example, practicing Christianity is banned in Saudi Arabia . Also, on April 18, 2007 in Malatya, Turkey, three employees of Zirve Publishing House were attacked, tortured, and killed by Muslim assailants . There are other such cases, like those listed on ChristianPersecution.info and by The Voice of the Martyrs.
That is not to say only Christians are or have been persecuted. Millions of Jews were killed by Nazis in World War II, and Islam has been under much persecution and problems in several countries. Without doubt, every major world religion has been discriminated against, persecuted, or martyred for their beliefs, but none to the extent of the Judeo-Christian faith.
As a Christian, I cannot fully understand this. How could people do such a thing? Doing this is not Christian, and it is downright inhuman. Having beliefs is a vital part of life; and I cannot imagine living without my Savior. I do not understand the philosophy of "kill or imprison people of other religions." We shouldn't destroy our enemies, but instead love and care for each other.
So to Christians, and perhaps to those of other religions, I say let's live by a new philosophy. Actually, it isn't a new philosophy at all. It was said by Jesus in Luke 6:27-36: "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you." People will, of course, never agree on religion, and I doubt Christian persecution will ever end, but I still dream of world without conflict. I believe it's called Heaven.
1. Schmidt, Richard H.; Phyllis Tickle (2008). God Seekers: Twenty Centuries of Christian Spiritualities. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 281. ISBN 080282840X
2. Leacock, Arthur Gordner (1906). Studies in the Life of St. Paul. pp. 176.
3. Craughwell, Thomas J., "The Gentile Holocaust", Catholic Culture.
4. Bos, Stefan J. (February 18, 2009). "China Detains Evangelical Leaders". Worthy News.
5. Bos, Stefan J. (March 9, 2009). "China Closes ‘House Church’ Law Firm". Worthy News.
6. Bos, Stefan J. (March 17, 2009). "Wife Jailed Chinese Christian Not Allowed To Meet Husband". Worthy News.
7."China Court Refuses Release Christian Bookstore Owner". Worthy News Asia Service. April 17, 2009.
8. Jeremiah, David (2008). What in the World Is Going On?. Thomas Nelson Inc. pp. ix. ISBN 078522887