Christians’ responses to religious persecution

In a first-ever systematic global investigation, researchers have been looking at Christians around the globe facing religious persecution and how they respond to it.

This has seen the Religious Freedom Institute working with two US universities to find out: the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project.

The  research findings are presented in a report called “Under Caesar’s Sword”.

The report collates three years of research that analyses over 30 of the world’s most threatened countries.

It includes country-by-country analysis, examines the patterns of religious persecution, the varieties of responses to it and makes recommendations for action against persecution.

One of the project’s signature features is its extensive efforts to disseminate its findings. This is part of its efforts to raise awareness of and be in solidarity with persecuted Christians.

There are two main groups that can affect religious freedom, the researchers found: state actors, and non-state actors.

They report the state actors include Islamist, Communist, religious nationalist and secular regimes, while non-state actors include violent religious extremists.

The report’s executive summary says Christians’ responses to persecution fall into three broad categories:

  • Survival strategies, through which they aim to preserve the life and basic activities of their communities
  • Strategies of association, through which they build ties with others that strengthen their resilience in the face of persecution
  • Strategies of confrontation, through which they openly challenge the persecution levied against them or live out their faith so they accept the possibility of martyrdom.

The executive summary notes these responses are not mutually exclusive.

The study’s major findings have been turned into a number of resources.


Additional reading

News category: World.

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