In many places, following Jesus is viewed as more than even a social or cultural threat—it’s seen as a direct challenge to the dominant belief system of faith. In Pakistan, Christians are regarded as second-class citizens because Christianity is viewed as inferior to Islam. Christians in South Asia can be accused of blasphemy against Islam without any proof, leading to mob violence. The assumption is that anyone who belongs to a minority religion, like Christianity, is automatically guilty of openly challenging the surrounding religion.
This is also why so many countries have anti-conversion laws. In India, many states forbid the conversion from Hinduism to another faith. In many places dominated by Sharia Law, conversion from Islam to Christianity is forbidden and illegal—the discovery of converts can lead to legal consequences.
And in still other places like northern Nigeria, Christians are viewed as outsiders and as targets by Islamic terrorist groups like Boko Haram. In their minds, Christians are lesser people because they are not Muslim. So they are fair game in the warped religious war that Boko Haram believes it’s fighting. It’s the same reason ISIS killed so many believers in Iraq and Syria during their reign of terror—if Christians aren’t really human because they serve King Jesus, why shouldn’t they be killed to prove a point?
‘All things new’
These are just five of the reasons that Christians are targeted and hated around the world. There are, of course, many more—and combinations of reasons. But Christianity is viewed as a threat by so many who fear the idea of Jesus as the ultimate giver of life.
Christians may be hated; but they are not alone. They have you and I and a Family of believers all over the planet, and Jesus commands us to love them (John 13:34). Through prayer and support, we have the opportunity to stand with believers when they are attacked, when they encounter discrimination and when they are rejected by their families, government and communities. Jesus is a King above all other kings, and His Church provides a family and a community that is above all other families and communities!
And, we can take comfort that we serve a God who is “making all things new” (Rev. 21:5)—a God who promises that though we will encounter suffering, he will wipe away every tear (Rev. 21:4) and restore a Kingdom of Peace. When our hearts break for the boy who wonders, “why do they hate us?” we can also remember that the God the boy follows has promised to rescue him—and us—forever.
*representative name used to protect identity.