Forcing Christians to Return to their Former Folk Religions

Satan has inspired rulers to try to force Christians to return to their former folk religions or the pagan gods of their ancestors—all in the name of patriotism or nationalism. Religious nationalism is where a particular territory or culture is staked out exclusively in religious terms.

Leaders say, “Only Hindus are allowed to stay in India.” Or, “You are a true Sri Lankan only if you are a Buddhist.” In such cases where religious nationalism reigns, Christians either must accept second-class citizen status, face daily discrimination or leave.

Research done by Open Doors indicates that to establish a “religious state” the religious nationalists require four elements: a villain, a lie, a mob, and a vacuum. They need a “villain” who can unite the people with a powerful message; a “lie” (Christians are intolerant); a “mob” to create chaos (media support helps); and a “vacuum” (absence of moderates in power to control the nation).

Some in India and Nepal argue that their country is Hindu hence other religions are foreign and imperialistic. State assistance is denied to those who convert to non-Hindu religions.

At one point, the Mongolian State Intelligence Bureau described Christianity as a “foreign religion.” And today, Mongolia’s new laws imply that Christianity is “against Mongolian customs.”

In Mexico, a mayor of a community in the southern state of Chiapas has tried to justify the ongoing persecution of evangelicals with the claim that they “attack…our culture and traditions.” In reality, tens of thousands of Christians have been expelled from their homes for not joining in the syncretistic community spiritual activities.

Christians in an area of Swaziland were told by their chief that each Christian would be fined a cow for not attending the annual cultural ceremonies at the king’s royal cattle kraal. The chief announced that he had compiled a list of all his subjects who deliberately avoided two yearly ceremonies: the umhlanga (reed dance) and the incwala (first fruit). Pastors of churches accused of preaching against Swazi culture are among those fined. Pastors in the area plan to challenge the chief’s fines in a court of law. Christians must avoid the mistake of identifying religion with nation, and nation with religion—even in the West. To do so severely hinders the growth of the Body of Christ where there is “neither Jew nor Greek.”

The above devotional from May 6, 2016 was reprinted with permission from www.opendoorsusa.org

  • Learn more about Open Doors:  https://www.opendoorsusa.org/about-us/?utm_source=ssts&utm_medium=email&utm_content=footer-links&utm_campaign=devotion
  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.    Galatians 3:28

About Kathleen

God delights in working through His people as they submit to Him. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone (Mark 16:15). No matter where we live on this planet, people are separated from God because of sin. We ALL need a Savior, and there’s only ONE. It brings me great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. I’ve found myself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the juvenile facility for incarcerated teens sharing God’s message of love. I also serve as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. I’ve seen countless lives transformed when people turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. The changes God makes are real and lasting. These are some of my experiences. NOTE: My stories have been altered, removing any and all identifying factors. This includes names and other particulars in order to protect confidentiality and anonymity.
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2 Responses to Forcing Christians to Return to their Former Folk Religions

  1. Frank King says:

    Interesting share. Religious nationalism is a scheme to keep citizens in spiritual bondage. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of any stronghold.

    • Kathleen says:

      Yes, prayer is powerful warfare. I’m part of a group that meets weekly to pray for the persecuted Christians worldwide. The problem of persecution is growing. The need for prayer is great.

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