Religious Discrimination Hinders Spread of Gospel

A cross on old books
A cross on old books (photo:
By Wu ZhongyiJune 21st, 2024

Discrimination is unfair or prejudicial treatment. Religious discrimination refers to preconceived attitudes and evaluations held against individuals or groups within a specific religion or belief system.

We often witness acts of prejudice within faith communities. These behaviors not only fail to demonstrate heavenly wisdom but also become obstacles to the spread of the gospel.

Some extremely "firm" believers avoid restaurants that venerate the "God of Wealth," refuse to sit next to Buddhists while traveling, and avoid associating with people born in the Year of the Dragon. Some refuse to visit ancestors’ graves, attack other beliefs as "heresies," and engage in public debates about whether Christ or Buddha is greater.

There are those who, with a sense of self-importance, arbitrarily impose their prejudices on others, accusing one of sin and another of being unspiritual. Some are overly suspicious, prejudging their fellow believers with accusations of immorality, corruption, and other sins.

Exhibiting a sense of religious superiority, some believe their Christian faith to be above other beliefs, which leads to disdain, attacks, and denigration of other religions or non-believers. They reject and refuse to interact with or cooperate with people of different faiths, creating religious divides. Some make moral judgments and show intolerance based on their religious beliefs, using their faith as a standard to judge others' actions and choices. They exhibit intolerance towards behaviors that do not conform to their doctrines.

Paul changed from prejudicing and persecuting Christians to becoming a Christian and bravely confronting internal Christian prejudices. Finally, he became a great apostle to spread the gospel among the Gentiles.

Prejudice limits our vision, preventing us from fairly viewing different cultures, customs, and beliefs, which leads to misunderstanding and rejection of others. Hypocrisy corrodes the sincerity of our actions, interfering with the transmission of the gospel, which is pure and peaceful.

Times are changing and developing, but in our religious lives, prejudice and extremism still exist, even showing a tendency to intensify.

For example, Christians are prejudiced against religions other than Christianity. A leader of the provincial CC&TSPM in China criticized some believers during a gathering for their illegal actions in causing trouble at Taoist sites under the pretext of opposing idolatry. Some people have condemned bizarre theories that label Buddhism as heresy, but Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, and Islam are legally recognized religions in China.

There is also prejudice and extremism against traditional Chinese festivals and customs. Some believers oppose the Qingming Festival, even inciting resistance online, calling it a "ghost festival." However, Qingming is not just about worship and tomb-sweeping; activities, like spring outings, tree planting, hiking, kite flying, and swinging, are also launched at the festival. Additionally, in 2006, Qingming was listed as part of the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage items in 2004.

There are also those who object to China's most important festival, the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year, as if they were "spiritual"; in reality, this damages the image of Christianity. They portray themselves as different, eccentric individuals, which tarnishes the reputation of Christianity. However, they approach Chinese culture, customs, and heritage with prejudice and extreme attitudes. How can the localization of Christianity be realized this way?"

A Christian, after his mother passed away, claimed she was a sinner because she was a Buddhist, saying her illness was due to sin and that she was condemned to hell upon death. This statement enraged friends and family, leading to a storm of criticism and anger.

Some people have grievances against law enforcement authorities. They cite scriptures, encouraging believers to emulate martyrs of the faith, which is a form of fanaticism. God is not used for one's selfish intent. 

It can be seen that religious discrimination (extremism) hinders the spread of the gospel, obstructs the development of the sinicization of Christianity, and impedes friendly relations and exchanges between Christianity and other patriotic religions. Discarding prejudice (extremism) will broaden our horizons and enable the widespread dissemination of the gospel.

(This article was originally published by the Gospel Times and the views expressed in the article solely represent the opinions of the author.)

- Translated by Abigail Wu

related articles