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Are there really 100,000 new Christian martyrs every year?

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posted on Nov, 24 2013 @ 07:09 PM

It's often claimed that 100,000 Christians are killed every year because of their religion. Earlier this year, the Vatican called it a credible number. But is it?

"Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that every year an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are killed because of some relation to their faith," Vatican spokesman Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi announced in a radio address to the United Nations Human Rights Council in May.

On the internet, the statistic has taken on a life of its own, popping up all over the place, sometimes with an additional detail - that these 100,000 lives are taken by Muslims.

The number comes originally from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the US state of Massachusetts, which publishes such a figure each year in its Status of Global Mission.

Its researchers started by estimating the number of Christians who died as martyrs between 2000 and 2010 - about one million by their reckoning - and divided that number by 10 to get an annual number, 100,000.

But how do they reach that figure of one million?

I was in a thread where someone quoted stated that there were 100,000 Christian martyrs each year and it didn't sound correct but they provided a source that stuck with me and I just figured I would see how they came to that number. Then I came across this article recently. Please read the source article because T&C says you can only quote so much.

When you dig down, you see that the majority died in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than four million are estimated to have been killed in that war between 2000 and 2010, and CSGC counts 900,000 of them - or 20% - as martyrs.

Over 10 years, that averages out at 90,000 per year.

So when you hear that 100,000 Christians are dying for their faith, you need to keep in mind that the vast majority - 90,000 - are people who were killed in DR Congo.

This means we can say right away that the internet rumours of Muslims being behind the killing of 100,000 Christian martyrs are nonsense. The DRC is a Christian country. In the civil war, Christians were killing Christians.

"The genocide in Rwanda was based on the systematic killing of an ethnic group in an attempt to completely wipe them out and it had nothing to do with the beliefs or the worship or the people who were killed," says Ian Linden, author of Church and Revolution in Rwanda, and associate professor in the study of religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

"The civil wars in the DRC were the consequences of a failed state, disintegrated military force so that militias had almost full power because of the weapons they had. They were indiscriminately killing and raping and plundering and it's very difficult to describe any of that killing as creating martyrdom."

So when that number was quoted they were counting a civil war where Christians were killing Christians for reasons other than faith which as far as I know doesn't count as martyrdom. While I am sure there are quite a few Christian martyrs the number has been greatly embellished for whatever reasons. All murders are tragic but trying to say they were due to their faith may do more harm than good when it comes time to address the issues.

"One has to see that there is no scientific number at the moment. It has not been researched and all experts in this area are very hesitant to give a figure," he says.

"We are starting a research project with several universities worldwide on this topic and there we start with a guess of 7-8,000 Christians killed as martyrs each year."

But to some extent this number crunching is besides the point for author John Allen.

"I think it would be good to have reliable figures on this issue, but I don't think it ultimately matters in terms of the point of my book, which is to break through the narrative that tends to dominate discussion in the West - that Christians can't be persecuted because they belong to the world's most powerful church.

Whatever the results are I can agree that it would be good to have a reliable number to go by. They think it is less than 10,000 which only 90,000 off from what was claimed.

posted on Nov, 24 2013 @ 08:35 PM
reply to post by Grimpachi

Dear Grimpachi,

I don't really know how many Christian martyrs there are each year. I will put that on my list of questions for Him.

Just as an interesting side note, in 2010 there were 11,085 murders by firearm in the US. We have a massive campaign against those lost lives. That many Christian martyrs? They don't seem to register.

What I'm curious about is, why are any Christians being martyred? It's not an internal struggle, like the Sunni - Shia business, the Presbyterians are not slaughtering Methodists.

So, is it the people with no religion, the Atheists? Or is it the people with a different religion? Who are they, and why do we allow it?

With respect,

posted on Nov, 24 2013 @ 10:50 PM
This is the World Watchlist for the persecuted church. DR Congo is not on the list.

North Korea
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Myanmar (Burma)
Palestinian Territories

The first 11 are in the extreme category. 12-23 are considered severe, 24-46 moderate, and 47-50 sparse. I don't know exactly how many are actually martyred, but I know persecution is great. Two places to check out would be The Voice of Martyrs and Open Doors. If you are interested in Chinese persecution check out China Aid.

I'm not ready to blame one group over another for the persecuted Church. The Church is suffering on many fronts, by many different ideologies.

posted on Nov, 24 2013 @ 11:06 PM
Estimations from the director of The Voice of Martyrs:

"Open Doors International Director of Research and Strategy Ron Boyd McMillan added: “Every year, since we started WWL in 1991, the number of Christians killed for their faith was in the 100s or 1000s, never in the 100,000s.”

Veerman says that, beyond those Christians whose deaths can be verified, there are two more categories to consider. The first is Christians who are killed due to increased vulnerability, such as those in conflict areas.

“In conflict and war, it is about double vulnerability – in situations where Christians have not been respected, or have been discriminated against for many years, conflict can make them extra vulnerable in the sense that they draw extra negative attention from the military, or militant social groups, etc.” he says. “They are also the easiest to attack because they are normally not protected – impunity already existing before the conflict. Examples are Sudan and the Nuba people, with many Christians and their communities being quick and easy prey; also Christians within Syria, as Open Doors’ Vulnerability Assessment of Syria’s Christians tried to show”.

Thomas Schirrmacher from the International Society for Human Rights estimates a figure of between 7,000 and 8,000 Christian martyrs each year, and Veerman thinks that, when you add this first extra group of victims to the 1200 verifiable cases, this could be about right.

However Veerman also includes a second group who could be considered as martyrs too: Christians who die due to long-term discrimination, through the deprivation of basic necessities such as clean water and medical care. They experience long-term vulnerability, often where they are treated as a “minority”, says Veerman:"

This is why there should be a distinction between true martyrs and those persecuted because of their faith.

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 01:15 PM
reply to post by charles1952

Here I thought in order for someone to become a Christian martyr they had to die because of their faith. Am I wrong in thinking that? Are you saying anyone who dies from violence becomes a martyr of whatever faith they held?

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 01:26 PM
reply to post by Grimpachi

Are there really 100,000 new Christian martyrs every year?

The concept of martyrdom is a little thready and basically goes back to how a leader recruits people to die. In short, giving your life for a cause or deity makes you a martyr and thus, you will enter the next realm a hero. In some instances, various Islamic sects tell that dying for a cause will give you x-amount of virgins for... um, personal pleasure. (Makes one wonder what the females get promised for the same actions.)

Works the same for Christians or... at least it did except I don't think Jesus was handing out women as the prize.

People give their lives for many reasons if and/or when the moment of choice arrives. Does a parent give their life to save a child? The husband or wife to save a spouse? A soldier in the name of his nation?

For a species that lives such an abbreviated life span... we seem to have the ability to give our life away for any reason. Whether or not we do so in vain or foolishness is certainly debatable but in the end, giving one's live is indeed the ultimate sacrifice. What awaits us in the hereafter is still anyone's guess.

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 01:29 PM
I don't know about every year, but I'm pretty sure the last year or two have been higher than previous years. Egypt alone has slaughtered thousands just this year. We'll never know how many are killed in North Korea or Iran.

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 02:48 PM
reply to post by Grimpachi

Dear Grimpachi,

Thank you, you are one of the gems. I really appreciate that you force me to face my sloppiness and either clarify it or face my errors and make me change my mind.

Here I thought in order for someone to become a Christian martyr they had to die because of their faith. Am I wrong in thinking that? Are you saying anyone who dies from violence becomes a martyr of whatever faith they held?

I'm going to have to apologize in advance. I think this is going to be a long, technical, and complicated answer to your clear and simple question. I promise to do my best, though.

Normally, yes. Dying for your faith puts one in the martyr category. A Christian, or anyone else, who dies by violence unrelated to their faith is normally, 99.99999999% of the time, not a martyr. OK, here comes at least one exception which I know about.

In the New Testament we find in Matthew Chapter 2:

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

This is called the Massacre of the Innocents and the Catholic Church has declared them to be martyrs.

In the Church, the title "Martyr" can even be given to people who weren't killed for their faith.

Some Roman Catholic writers (such as Thomas Cahill) continue to use a system of degrees of martyrdom that was developed in early Christianity. Some of these degrees bestow the title of martyr on those who sacrifice large elements of their lives alongside those who sacrifice life itself. These degrees were mentioned by Pope Gregory I in Homilia in Evangelia, he wrote of "three modes of martyrdom, designated by the colors, red, blue (or green), and white."

A believer was bestowed the title of red martyr due to either torture or violent death by religious persecution. The term "white martyrdom" was used by the Church Father Jerome, "for those such as desert hermits who aspired to the condition of martyrdom through strict asceticism." Blue (or green) martyrdom "involves the denial of desires, as through fasting and penitent labors without necessarily implying a journey or complete withdrawal from life".

Also along these lines are the terms "wet martyr" (a person who has shed blood or been executed for the faith) and "dry martyr" which is a person who "had suffered every indignity and cruelty" but not shed blood, nor suffered execution.

All right, so that is the technical explanation as offered by the Catholic Church. What I thought we were discussing in this thread was the killing of individuals because of their Christian beliefs. Things like blowing up a church when a service was going on. Or killing someone for carrying a Bible.

I don't know if this clarifies things, probably not. But I'll try never to be so detailed and technical again.

With respect,

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 03:00 PM
I'd be willing to bet that 100,000 figure is probably correct. We aren't getting accurate numbers from China and other closed countries/societies that are anti-Christian.

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 03:43 PM
It is amazing how big organizations can spin things to make it seem like what they want it to. I am just glad people are doing research and finding out the truth.

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 04:03 PM
reply to post by goldenalien

I'm not sure I understand your position here, give me a hand.

Are you saying there are no Christian martyrs each year?

If there are some, is this a good thing or a bad thing, in your mind?

If it's a bad thing, should we try to stop or discourage it?

Do you think the world is trying to do enough to stop it?

The Vatican was quoting a report produced by someone else. As other posters have mentioned, we may never know the true figures, we will certainly never know the exact figures. Do you think that quoting the report was improper spin?

If we realize we will never know the true figures, is the mention of any figure by anyone improper spin?

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 04:51 PM
I'm glad I found this thread.

Many don't understand the situation. Let me explain.

The situation is that there are US and international forces whose job it is to escort Christians to the graves of their dead for visits. They have to be escorted by people with guns because if they're not, they'll end up in graves of their own.

The graves that these people are visiting are huge lime pits with great numbers of dead in them. They don't know exactly where their dead loved ones are, just that they have to be in one of these pits.

If 100,000 is used as an average over the last 20 years, I wouldn't say this is far from accurate.

posted on Nov, 25 2013 @ 04:53 PM
And as far as them being martyrs, how could they be if no one, at least in the west, knows about them?

posted on Nov, 26 2013 @ 07:22 AM
reply to post by Mon1k3r

The definition of a martyr is someone that is killed because of their religious beliefs. So, regardless of whether or not anyone knew about it, they could still be a martyr.

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