The Right Side News (“The Right News for Americans”) has a couple of questions, and three answers.
Why are Christians, as a new Pew report documents, the most persecuted religious group in the world? And why is their persecution occurring primarily throughout the Islamic world?
No, none of the three answers is “Because the Pew report went out of their way to make it look like Christians are more persecuted than they really are.” But there’s some interesting stuff in the answers Right Side News did publish.
Answer number one is “Christianity is the largest religion in the world.” There are more persecuted Christians because there are more Christians, period. This is “big tent” Christianity, of course. Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, liberals, Christian Identity, and so on—groups that in other circumstances would be quick to dismiss each other as “not real Christians”—are only too happy to shed their differences and be counted together when the goal is to see who has the biggest, er, flock.
Answer number two is “Christianity is a proselytizing faith that seeks to win over converts.” This, of course, does not play well in Islamic countries, since Islam is just as zealous as Christianity in trying to convert people, and possibly even more so, at least ever since the Renaissance. One of the problems with worshipping gods that do not show up in the real world is that there is no objective means of resolving questions or disputes regarding divine character or commandments. That leaves it up to ordinary people to settle their disputes via other means, such as peer pressure, personal charisma, and plain old persecution. Inevitably, the minorities in any given area end up holding the short end of the stick, and since Christians are in the minority in Islamic countries, they get persecuted (and vice versa, though the Right Side News does not report that).
Answer number three is “Christianity is the quintessential religion of martyrdom.” This answer makes a lot of sense: Christians truly believe that they will live forever, and will immediately be with Jesus in heaven as soon as they die, with extra, eternal rewards for those who die as martyrs, so naturally all Christians will actively travel to Muslim and boldly preach the gospel in hopes of being murdered as soon as possible.
Oh, wait, no, that’s not it. Answer number three would make the most sense if Christians really did believe in eternal rewards, but they don’t usually go so far as to put that belief into actual practice. When I was a believer, a popular definition of faith was to picture someone sitting in a chair. You can talk all you want about how strong you believe the chair is, but the person who actually sits in the chair is the one who *really* believes that it’s sturdy enough to take their weight.
When it comes to eternal rewards, believers are talkers, not sitters. They’ll gladly agree that a martyr’s “crown” is the greatest reward a Christian could achieve, but given a choice, few are willing to take the simple steps that will win them one. Doctrine is one thing, but real, material, physical life is quite a different matter. In that respect, Christians usually follow the much more sensible example of atheists and skeptics.
Right Side News tries to make it sound like believers are being persecuted because of their bold professions of faith, but in fact the actual incidents reported by Pew were mostly ethnic attacks. Few, if any, arose due to actual, individual martyrdom and testimony, and even those few were no more common among Christians than among those with other faiths, or even no faith at all. Overall, this sad litany of violence and death says more about the barbarity and intolerance of theists than about any particular merit in the victims.
When it comes to picking winners and losers in the conflict between Christians and Muslims, there are no winners. The true source of all this persecution is people who abandon reality as the ultimate standard of truth, and attempt to subject one another to laws based on Because I Said So. Or Because Moses/Jesus/Mohammed/Father Moon Said So. It’s “truth” without any basis in real world fact, and therefore people can only make their “truth” dominant by dominating and oppressing others.