During the last century – (1900s) – it is said that more Christians died for their faith than in all the centuries before that, since the birth of Christ.
As modern as we all like to think that we are, it seems that the trend is continuing in this century. Christians continue to be persecuted and discriminated in significant numbers. In the last couple of years, in the 38 countries of the world where the United Nations reported violations of religious freedom, 18 counties have been declared as having a history of persecutions of people of faith, the situation has worsened. This is four more countries than were on the list in 2016.
- Let us stop making a religion out of our Church
- Bishop Peter: Soviet persecution of Christianity
- Fr Aleksander Men (1935-1990)
Without naming specific countries, discrimination and persecution of religious minorities are experienced in countries which have “authoritarian regimes”. Countries with one party rule and autocratic leadership are most likely to persecute religions which might stand up to them or are seen as a threat.
Aggressive nationalism, as seen in these 38 countries, is seen as the main reason for persecution. Sometimes you can call this nationalism as ultra-nationalism. Religious minority groups in a violent and systematic manner are hounded because they are branded as disloyal aliens and are a threat to the state.
People in the west are ignoring the suffering of others in the world because they are religiously illiterate and really are not interested any more.
The problem with this form of nationalism is that one form of faith is supported at the cost of others. What in fact we are seeing is another form of ethnic cleansing. Whereby religious minorities are quietly being expelled or eliminated.
What is shocking, is that there is increasing evidence the people and governments who do not discriminate and run democratic governments are showing signs that they really don’t care about the plight of persecuted faith communities in other countries. People in the west are ignoring the suffering of others in the world because they are religiously illiterate and really are not interested any more.
The secularization of the west, while it is seen as a sign of freedom, is at the same time a significant element in the loss of human dignity of other parts of the world.
Western governments, the media and an increasing percentage of the public, could care less about religious freedom, instead they are now more focused on issues of gender, sexuality and race.
Religion however is very important for a significant number of people.
The secularization of the west, while it is seen as a sign of freedom, is at the same time a significant element in the loss of human dignity of other parts of the world. To ignore this is potentially a huge danger to the whole world.