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  • Foundations of Truth

Christian Persecution: Fact or Fantasy?

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

During the Sermon on the Mount, which is possibly the most famous sermon of all time, Jesus declared to the crowd:

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)

And elsewhere, Jesus forewarned his disciples:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)

Jesus’s peaceful ministry ultimately led to His sacrificial crucifixion on the cross, thus beginning centuries of Christian persecution, attacks, and martyrdom. Many of Jesus’ early followers were likewise condemned and murdered because of their faith—Stephen, James, Peter, and Paul to name only a few.

The persecution of Christians by atheists and other religions has continued steadily across the centuries. By 1563, a gigantic multi-volume history documenting the war against Christianity and religious freedom was published—Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

Today, Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world.[1] In fact, in just the twentieth century alone, more Christians were murdered by oppressive governments (such as China and Soviet Russia) than in the two thousand years preceding it.[2]

So far this year (2019), nearly 5,000 Christians around the world have been murdered for their faith, over 2,500 wrongfully imprisoned, and some 1,000 Christian churches attacked or destroyed.[3]

In Sri Lanka, Muslim terrorists recently blew up three churches and several tourist locations on Easter Sunday, murdering 359 people in a single day.[4] (The average number of Christians martyred worldwide is 345 each month.[5])

But just two days before the barbaric Sri Lanka attack, Vox (a popular news and opinion website with millions of readers) published an article blaming two Christian victims with creating “martyrdom hysteria” and a “fetishization of persecution.” Vox concluded that Christians suffer from a “fantasy of oppression.”[6]

Vox has clearly ignored the history of the past 2,000 years of vicious global persecution of Christians. Of course, American education has become so pathetically bad that it is quite probable that the reporters at Vox knew nothing of this history. After all, 22 percent of Millennials today have never heard of the Holocaust, and 66 percent do not know what Auschwitz was.[7]

Education and media largely ignore this topic, but many Americans certainly want to be better informed about it. In fact, a recent Barna poll showed that 86 percent of church-goers wanted to know more about global persecution.[8]

Despite the terrible oppression, persecuted Christians continue to resolutely stand in their faith and courageously worship their Savior, Jesus Christ. The words of the Bible ring just as clearly today as they did so many years ago: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37)

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


[1] Katayoun Kishi, “Key Findings on the Global Rise in Religious Restrictions,” Pew Research Center (June 21, 2018), here

[2] Dan Wooding, “Modern Persecution,” (April 28, 2010), here

[3] “Persecution at a Glance,” Open Doors (accessed April 23, 2019), here

[4] Sanjeev, “Picture Emerges of Well-to-do Young Bombers Behind Sri Lankan Carnage,” Reuters (April 24, 2019), here

[5] “Persecution at a Glance,” Open Doors (accessed April 23, 2019), here

[6] Alissa Wilkinson, “After Columbine, Martyrdom Became a Powerful Fantasy for Christian Teenagers,” Vox (April 17, 2019), here

[7] Tal Polon, “One-third of Americans Don’t Believe 6 Million Jews Murdered,” Arutz Sheva (April 14, 2019), here

[8] George Barna, “What God’s People Want to Know,” WallBuilders (March 21, 2017), here

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