What is Christophobia or Christianophobia?

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By BibleAsk Team


Christophobia or Christianophobia 

Christophobia or Christianophobia refers to the irrational fear, hatred, or discrimination directed towards Christians and Christianity as a whole. Christophobia targets individuals based on their religious beliefs, leading to various forms of persecution, prejudice, and bias. This phenomenon manifests itself globally, affecting Christians in diverse cultural, social, and political contexts.

Since the beginning of sin on earth, there has been “enmity” between Christ and Satan and between those who follow God and those who follow the wicked one (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12:7–17). This conflict will go on until “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15; Daniel 2:44; 7:27). 

Christ spoke about this conflict when He said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own…” (John 15:18,19). The reason for the hatred is indicated by the fact that the works of the world are reproved by the righteous life and the open testimony of Christians (John 7:7; 1 John 3:13). 

Paul warned the believers that “through much tribulation” they must “enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Citizens of the heavenly kingdom may expect to have tribulation in this world (John 16:33), for their characters, ideals, hopes, and conduct all bear silent witness against the evil of this world (1 John 3:12). 

The Roots of Christophobia

A. Historical Perspectives:

1-Persecution in the Roman Empire: The earliest instances of Christophobia can be traced back to the Roman Empire, where Christians faced persecution for their refusal to worship Roman gods. Biblical references such as Romans 8:35-39 provide insight into the challenges early Christians endured: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

2-Medieval Era: The Middle Ages witnessed widespread discrimination against Christians who held views contrary to the Papal system. Historians estimate that during the inquisition, Middle Ages, and Early Reformation Era, more than 50,000,000 martyrs perished for their faith at the decree of the Papacy – (Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965 edition, page 726). Verses like Matthew 5:10-12 encouraged believers to endure persecution for their faith: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

B. Contemporary Perspectives:

1-Secularism and Cultural Shifts: In modern times, the rise of secularism and cultural shifts have contributed to Christophobia. The rejection of religious values and the marginalization of Christianity in public discourse are evident in various societies. Ephesians 6:12 highlights the spiritual dimension of this struggle: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Christianophobia continued from 1989 to the present, in Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Middle East. For example, mass murder or ethnic cleansing by Muslims took place in: Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, Qatar, Kuwait, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives – (The Jerusalem Post, 19 January 2014). However, in Communist North Korea persecution of Christians was and continues to be more than any other country – (Open Doors, January 2, 2012). 

2-Misconceptions and Stereotypes: Christophobia is often fueled by misconceptions and stereotypes about Christians. Acts 28:22 speaks to the importance of clarifying misunderstandings: “But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”

Contemporary Manifestations of Christophobia

A. Legal Persecution:

1-Anti-Christian Legislation: In certain regions, Christians face legal persecution through restrictive laws that curb religious freedom. NKJV verses like Galatians 5:1 emphasize the importance of freedom in Christ: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

2-Discrimination in Employment: Christians may encounter discrimination in the workplace based on their religious beliefs. Colossians 3:23 encourages believers to work diligently, irrespective of external pressures: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

B. Social and Cultural Prejudice:

1-Social Exclusion: Christophobia often leads to social exclusion, where Christians may find themselves ostracized or marginalized. 1 Peter 4:14 encourages believers to endure such hardships: “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”

2-Cultural Mockery: Christians may face ridicule or mockery for their beliefs, as seen in 2 Peter 3:3-4, which warns against scoffers: “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts.”

Consequences of Christophobia

A. Impact on Religious Freedom:

1-Erosion of Religious Liberties: Christophobia erodes the fundamental right to religious freedom, as highlighted in 1 Corinthians 16:13: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

2-Suppression of Evangelism: Christians may face challenges in sharing their faith due to Christophobia. Matthew 28:19-20 underscores the importance of spreading the Gospel: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

B. Psychological and Emotional Toll:

1-Mental Health Struggles: Christophobia can contribute to mental health struggles among Christians. Philippians 4:6-7 encourages believers to find peace in God: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

2-Spiritual Resilience: Building spiritual resilience becomes crucial in the face of Christophobia. James 1:2-4 offers guidance: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Conclusion

Christophobia represents a challenge for Christians globally. By understanding its historical roots, contemporary manifestations, and the resulting consequences, society can work towards fostering respect, and religious freedom. The Bible verses provided throughout this exploration offer a biblical perspective on enduring persecution, standing firm in faith, and promoting the principles of love and understanding in the face of Christophobia. It is essential for individuals and communities to strive towards a world where religious freedom and diversity is celebrated rather than feared.

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