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Sun Nov 26, 2017, 09:08 AM

Heres why right-wing Christians believe theyre the most persecuted people in America [View all]



Given the reality of other people’s lives, a widespread Evangelical perception of their group as mass victims reveals a lack of empathy that should make thoughtful believers cringe. And indeed, Alan Nobel, managing editor of Christ and Pop Culture, and a professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, wrote a pained analysis this summer of what he called Evangelical persecution complex. Nobel contrasted the privileged position of American Christians with the real and serious persecution Christian minorities experience under ISIS, for example, and he examined the ways in which victimization can become a part of Christian identity to the detriment of Christians and outsiders alike. What he neglected to spell out clearly was the extent to which the Bible itself sets up this problem.

Christianity, born in the harsh desert cultures of the Middle East, got its start by defining itself in opposition to both Judaism and the surrounding pagan religions of the Roman empire. Consequently, from the get-go teachings emerged that helped believers deal with the inevitable conflict, by both predicting and glorifying suffering at the hands of outsiders. Indeed, persecution was framed as making believers more righteous, more like their suffering savior. Long before the Catholic Church made saints out of martyrs, a myriad of texts encouraged believers to embrace suffering or persecution, or even to bring it on.

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In the case of Christianity, the theology of persecution serves to give the faithful hope. It inspires persistence in the face of hardship, including the many hardships that life brings on all of us through no fault of our own. But it has also blinded generations of believers to the possibility that sometimes the hardships they face are due not to their faith or evildoers hating Jesus, but to the fact that they hit first. And sometimes the bewildering hostility they perceive may simply be something that the theology of persecution set them up to expect, whether it is there or not.


[link:https://www.rawstory.com/2017/11/heres-why-right-wing-christians-believe-theyre-the-most-persecuted-people-in-america/|

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