What does Christianity have to do with human rights?

Nov 21, 2021 by

by Gavin Ashenden:

Christians are the most persecuted people in the world and one organisation that monitors the suffering of the Church is Open Doors, whose recently published research shows that increased persecution in 77 countries threatens over 245 million Christians.

A packed audience greeted historian Tom Holland in the British Library a few days ago when he was invited by Open Doors to reflect on the relationship between the astonishing phenomenon of the worldwide persecution of Christians – despite Christianity constituting the largest faith in the world – and the paradox of the cultural child of the Church turning on it aggressively.

In his book, Dominion: the Making of the Western Mind, Holland uniquely straddles the world of secular intelligentsia and the phenomenon of Christianity.

Holland’s own journey constitutes a surprise in itself. Fascinated by the drama and the power of the Roman Empire, he became an enthusiastic historian of antiquity. Rome captured his mind, but the suffering of the Yazidis at the persecuting hands of the Islamic State was what it took to break his heart.

As a historian he was only too aware of Plutarch reporting on the brutality of Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. One million Gauls slaughtered in war; one million women and children carried off into slavery. Crucifixion was just the most dramatic display of raw power that the Romans used.

But when he visited the plains of Nineveh for a Channel 4 documentary in 2016, he came across crucifixion again. Islamic fighters had launched devastating attacks against the Yazidis, selling off nubile girl captives as young as eight as war brides, slaughtering the unattractive and crucifying the men.

Read here

Watch: Tom Holland tells NT Wright: Why I changed my mind about Christianity

See also: The West has much to learn from persecuted Christians, says historian Tom Holland



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