150,000 Christians are killed for their faith each year?

I heard this statistic thrown out on a radio program yesterday, and was immediately a little skeptical. I found the reference to it, which states:

Skeptical in the first place, but seeing the origin of the number makes me think that there’s no way that number is accurate. Take the most noteworthy examples put forth in the article:

Not very good examples, if you ask me…in none of these cases was the person killed explicity for being Christian.

I strongly suspect that the 150,000 is attained by co-opting murders of any Christian if there is the least religious connection.

For example, persecution and ‘religious cleansing’ in Nigeria, also cited in the article. It mentions cleansing against Christians in the country’s north. From my limited knowledge of the area, I’m aware that there are many, many different groups that may not get along with each other. What are the odds that the Christians being pursued are also not hated because of a tribal/ethnic/traditional reason? If that is the case, then the fact that they are Christian is incidental.

On a related note, the host of the program threw out a number, I don’t remember exactly what it was but it was large, stating how many Christians currently live in squalid poverty. (If you can’t tell already, it was a poor-us-Christians-we-suffer-so-much-but-it’s-ok-Jesus-love-us show).

I think one very good reason that number is so high is that Christian missionaries have a habit of traveling to places rife with squalid poverty, ‘converting’ the masses, and then calling them (and counting them as) Christian regardless of whether they retain the religion or not. I understand this accounts for a very large percentage of the huge number of adherents the Mormon church claims.

And finally, the topic of persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt came up. My off-the-cuff flippant comment to that was “Easy enough to solve…don’t be 1) Christian 2) in Egypt.”

So, ae there any actual facts to back up the numbers claimed. I feel like the’re probably ginned up as part of the faux-persecution crusade that US Christians are currently on.

Sure. These organizations are counting Christians killed for reasons involving membership in some ethnic or national group that’s demographically Christian, as well as Christians killed for participating in specific humanitarian, political, or proselytizing activities that some powerful oppressor happens to dislike.

Those numbers are swelled, for instance, by including deaths among members of the Karen National Union, based in a demographically Christian ethnic minority group in Myanmar, that’s been waging an insurgent struggle against the government for a long time.

I don’t know how you’d go about counting up Christians who were killed for absolutely no other reason than identifying themselves as adherents of the Christian religion, but I suspect it would be in the tens or hundreds annually rather than the tens of thousands.

I agree: none of those examples were people “killed for their faith” per se, they were killed fo doing things that their faith may have led them to do, but which contradicted the desires of other more ruthless people. Given that they haven’t come up with a single valid example, I’d be skeptical of the result.

Also, in each of the examples, an atheistic humanist could easily be imagined doing the same thing, and getting killed for it.

In the examples, Christianity was neither necessary, nor sufficient.

bzzt. rejected.

I have no idea what the real numbers are, but the cite adds little to answer the question. Except, maybe, as an upper bound. I mean, if THESE guys trying to inflate the numbers can only find 150K, then the real number must be smaller!

How else would the lions keep up their strength up enough to be able fight the tigers?

I think you should patent your solution. You could 1) solve every problem known to man and 2) PROFIT!

Nonsense. Freedom to practice one’s religion–or to not have any religion at all–is a basic human right. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states

The previous constitution guaranteed “the freedom of belief and the freedom of practising religious rights”; last year’s Provisional Constitution proclaims Islam to be “the religion of the state” and that “Principles of Islamic law (Shari’a) are the principal source of legislation”, which I don’t approve of (not that the Egyptians asked me), but it nonetheless also states that “The state guarantees the freedom of creed, and practicing religious rites”. And the Christian community in Egypt has, of course, been there since before the Muslims–Egypt became a Christian-majority country back when it was still a province of the Roman Empire and the Roman Empire was Christianized; it only became a Muslim-majority country after the Arab conquest of the country in the 7th century C.E. Christians are still a substantial part of the population; at least 10% of the population.
(I’m also dubious about the “150,000 Christians killed for their faith each year” number.)

Right. Those Christians whowerekilledinNigeriaweren’t targettedfortheirChristianity. :rolleyes:

Most of your cites are from Christian publications…hell, one dubs itself ‘News from the front lines of persecution.’ I would tend to discard their accounts. The others, BBC for example, are stories about Christians being killed. They mention no particular motivation.

From your first link:

Western Missionaries are teaching Christianity, I think it’s likely that the murderers would be just as violent if they were teaching any religion besides Islam…or anything else western for that matter. It may be accurate to say part of the reason they are being killed is because they don’t subscribe to a particular interpretation of Islam. That is not the same as being killed because of their Christian beliefs.

Nowhere in your links is there an example of a Christian victim of Nigerian violence unambiguously described as targeted specifically and only for their Christian faith.

From your first link:

From your second link:

From your third link:

And so forth. Of course these terror attacks on innocent civilians are heinous, but it’s perfectly clear that, as I noted, none of the victims were killed for their faith per se, as the OP was asking about.

Rather, they (like several of their moderate Muslim compatriots) were killed for being part of a demographic obstacle to the tyrannical desire of the radical Islamist terror group Boko Haram to impose their version of radical shari’a law upon all of Nigeria.

Are you arguing that if these Nigerians had been Jews or Buddhists instead of Christians, the radical-Islamist terrorists would have left them alone? Hardly. There was nothing specifically about the Christian faith as opposed to any other non-radical-Muslim faith that made these people targets of violence.

[ETA: Or, what Sicks Ate said.]

Considering the fact that nearly 10% of Egyptians are Christians and that they been living in Egypt for almost two millennia(far outpacing Islam in Egypt) such a statement is both jaw-droppingly stupid and grossly insensitive.

One can certainly agree that many Evangelicals exagerate the number of Christians persecuted for being Christians without making moronic statements about actual persecution.

I’ll assume when Muslims were being slaughtered in Bosnia you didn’t say “don’t be a Muslim in Bosnia.”


It reminds me of a moronic editorial I read several years ago after some neo-Nazi skinheads poured gasoline all over a black homeless man and burned him to death.

The editorial squealed about a man “in this day and age being killed because he was black”.


He wasn’t killed because he was black. He was killed because he wasn’t white.

Yeah. Admittedly, in the US the neo-Nazis’ virulent racism tends to manifest itself especially strongly against blacks, because of the way race relations played out in our history.

But I very much doubt that the murderers in question would have had any objection to treating a Jewish or Romany homeless man the same way, if they’d managed to get hold of one.

Agreed, because they’re not whites/aryans.

Are you seriously arguing that Christians who are killed because they are not Muslims are not being killed for their faith? The fact that the killers may also kill people of other non-Muslim faiths seems immaterial. They were killed for what they believed. And what they believed was Christianity. Go ahead and tally the others up as Jews and Buddhists killed for their faith, if you want. They were killed because of their faith as well.

At first I thought Ibn’s response about not killing the guy because he was black, but because he was not-white was a tongue in cheek way of pointing out that the claim didn’t make sense, but now it looks like you’re both agreeing. I’m very confused by this thread.

No, it was tongue-in-cheek, but I didn’t have the heart to type out “WHOOSH!”

Beyond that. Based on the above logic, it was wrong to claim Bosnian Muslims were being targeted for their faith because the Serbs hated Croatians as well.

For that matter, you could argue that Christians Nigerians burning down Mosques aren’t engaging in anti-Muslim violence but in “anti-non-Christian violence.”

No, they were killed for what they didn’t believe, i.e., radical-Islamist doctrines of radical-Islamist theocracy.

If all the Christians in southern Nigeria converted en masse tomorrow to Hinduism or Lithuanian Romuva polytheism, terrorist movements like Boko Haram would still be just as motivated to kill them.

Mind you, I think it’s appalling that any innocent person should be killed for any reason, especially in a terror attack attempting to fuel any kind of political/cultural/religious conflict. And if the Christian organizations that raise public awareness about the deaths of innocent Christian victims are trying to make that larger point about innocent victims in general, then I completely agree with them.

However, as far as I can tell, statistics of the sort the OP mentioned are being promulgated to give the impression that there’s something unique to the Christian faith that is prompting evil people to target Christians specifically because of what they believe.

That is, the casualties are being affirmed as some kind of consequence and vindication of Christian doctrine itself, along the lines of, e.g., Matthew 24 (“you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake”) and many similar scriptural instances.

And that’s where I disagree. Like I said, AFAICT there’s nothing about any of these murders of Christians that would be any different if the victims happened to belong to another sect or group that the murderers saw as an obstacle to them, so this notion of a unique persecution is incorrect.

Well, black and not-white aren’t exactly the same thing, after all: black is a subset of not-white. And the point is that what “Aryan supremacist” neo-Nazis hate is not black people in particular, but non-white people in general (defining “white” very narrowly to include the self-described “Aryan race”, but exclude so-called “inferior” races such as Jews and Slavs as well as blacks).

In other words, neo-Nazis killing a black person isn’t about anti-black prejudice per se so much as it is about their “Aryan supremacist” hatred for all races they consider inferior to the “true whites”. (It’s very hard to talk about neo-Nazi beliefs without using a lot of quotation marks.)

This is not the day to be making jokes about expatriate Coptic Christians.

I am relieved. There is only one person not making sense in this thread.

Kimstu, I believe I understand your point. I just disagree. The fact that if those people were not Christians but some other non-Muslim religion, they might still get killed just doesn’t matter. They were still killed because they were Christian, just like the hypothetical black guy was killed because he was black.

The fact that it’s possible to construct a more inclusive category into which Christians or black people might fit, and which zealots or bigots might attack, is perhaps intellectually interesting but not relevant to the fact that those people who belong to specific religious and racial groups were killed for their beliefs or skin color.

I took the time to educate myself on Christians in Egypt in the last couple days, thanks. I’m aware of their status, history, etc. So I reject your classification of my post as stupid or moronic.

Insensitive? Eh, maybe. I’m not really concerned about it. I happen to think that Christians lying about the annual martyr count is insensitive.

I think I made it perfectly clear in that sentence that I’m not actually suggesting either one of those things. Still, it would pretty much solve that problem.

And I forgot to quote MEBuckner but, come on…I understand that it’s a right. It was a completely tongue-in-cheek comment.

Some serious lightening up is in order.

I have no idea how to say it more clearly…they were not killed because of their beliefs. They were killed because the did NOT believe the same things as the murderers. They were killed because they chose to associate themselves with Westerners and assume the practices and beliefs of Westerners.

To include them in a count of those who were killed explicitly for being Christian is at least disingenuous, an at most an outright lie.

I disagree.