“There are more Christian martyrs today than there were in ad 100–in the days of the Roman Empire. Now in the twenty-first century, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, more than 150,000 Christians are martyred around the world every year.”
When I think of modern-day martyrs I think of burning monks who set themselves afire as more than a 140 Tibetan monks have set themselves on fire (gently called self-immolation). The first historic “burning monk” was a photograph taken 53 years ago on June 11, 1963, depicting the dignified yet horrific death by fiery suicide of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc in Saigon by photographer Malcolm Wilde Browne:
In recent years these Buddhist Monks have won my admiration for their pro-active self-sacrifice. Their oppressors try to oppress without visibility to deny martyrdom – so these Monks denied them invisibility. Our Christian culture does not teach self-immolation. It does teach being prepared to sacrifice for your faith as the greatest Martyr known to mankind did for us. And many are paying with their lives. This is just so depressing (after anger jolts thru the veins). How have we not learned anything from the Holocaust? How do we not make the same mistakes in our own outrage and fear?
Jesus Freaks is written for teenagers and raises awareness of scripture and history of Christian Martyrs up to and including current day Christian Martyrdom. As a book it gives short, easy to read stories of past and present Martyrs – mostly past. It is also short on evidence and written more in an oral tradition manner. It finishes with a call to pray and advocacy and, as it is a christian book, a call to Jesus Christ. It spiked my interest in just how bad is the world today for Christian believers.
Our Christian understanding in America is limited to perceived oppression that we may have with secular law and the blurry division of church and state. However, the Pew research center reported in 2014 that “Christians continue to be the world’s most oppressed religious group, with persecution against them reported in 110 countries.” Open doors reports that 322 christians are killed each month for their faith.
Can this be true? Every month? If so. every Christian must “Remember the Lord’s people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don’t forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them.” Hebrews 13:3
Two links below track Christian persecution. Other sites track all religious persecution across the globe. The killings and torture are persistent and to disturbing according to these sites.
“According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians). Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.”
We are anesthetized to the violence by repeated exposure both to our own violence within our country and to international horrors as well. How do we stop these atrocities I do not know. One answer to stopping persecution and violence, both home and abroad, starts with each of us having a voice and not being silent. Another answer is…….
Pew research link: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/pew-study-christians-are-world-s-most-oppressed-religious-group
Voices of Martyrs Link: http://www.persecution.com/public/aboutVOM.aspx?clickfrom=%3d6d61696e5f6d656e75
Charity rater link: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4700
Open Doors: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/