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Author Topic: Persecution of Christians in the West?  (Read 638 times) Average Rating: 0
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Riddikulus
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« on: September 21, 2009, 01:02:00 AM »

Moderator: I hope I have put this in the right spot.

Someone (not on this forum) recently mentioned to me of a growing threat of the return of persecution of Christians in the West; rather like the days of the early church. While I realise that anything is possible, I don't think that the political situation is anything like that of the Ancient Roman Empire, nor do I believe that Christians would again be the blameless victims that they once were. (Not that they were blameless in the eyes of Imperial Rome.)

There seems to me to be a big difference between the infant Church; powerless and struggling to preach the Gospel message against all odds and the monolithic movement that managed to gain the power to order the lives of those, not only within, but outside her members. So I started thinking of the reasons that such a persecution would ever happen in societies where "live and let live" is struggling to assert itself as the prevailing attitude.

My first thought was that we Christians have - rightly or wrongly - had a long stint at running things our own way and it's been increasingly noticeable in recent decades that non-Christians are no longer going to stand for that. More and more TV programmes and films seem to be projecting vehement objections to fundamentalist *Christians*, lumping us all together with those grumpy religious nuts, who ostracise anyone who is different, don't dance, hate loud music - and probably believe that the earth is flat.  Wink  A couple of programmes I watched this last week made it clear that those involved with the productions resent Christians and the only Christians in the storyline were portrayed as Neanderthal, nasty killjoys. Powerful propaganda! Underserved, I think, but we certainly can see how the other half views us and perhaps if we are honest with ourselves, we might see that there are some good reasons for that resentment.

So, for the purpose of this discussion, my question is this: If there is persecution heading our way, are we in part responsible? And not for such noble actions as refusing to offer worship to the Emperor, but because our history of bigottry, hatred, fragmentation and violence far outweigh the good we have done? Alternatively, are we ourselves about to be the victims of reconstructed history; slander and hatred?
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 02:44:17 AM »

Given enough time, and all things remaining equal, it is possible for persecution of Christians in the west to equal the persecution of Christians in pagan Rome, the Islamic Caliphates or the USSR. But do bear in mind that the enemies of Christianity can and do lie about the "excesses" of Christians and this is precisely why apologetics is important.
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 10:10:15 AM »

Riddikulus,
In the west, I think the Christian persecution is much more insidious these days, and often takes the form of persecution even within the Church. The first Saint of the twentieth Century, St. Nektarios of Aegina is a prime example of this. When "the love of many grows cold", those who speak out in Love of neighbours and "enemies of the State" are torn to shreds and labeled "traitors", even by their own brethren in the Church, even on this forum. Christianity is the most radical of all Creeds and is counter-intuitive to many values "the world" holds. The Beatitudes bless the meek, the peacemakers, those who are reviled, the poor in spirit, the merciful....basically everyone whom "the world" rejects as "weak". Yet I have seen those who strive to live the Beatitudes being reviled even by members of their own Church. These are the ones who are Persecuted for the Faith in the West.
In the East, this is also the case, but there are still pockets where Christians are persecuted simply for being Christians. BUt even in these cases, if there is no Love, there is still no Martyr's Crown, because a Faith without Love is a clashing cymbal- loud but useless.
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