Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Monday, March 20, 2006

Under cover

An Afghan man, who converted to Christianity about 16 years ago, may be put to death for his religious convictions, according to an Associated Press article The Gazette ran in this morning's paper.

It's an interesting story -- underlining once again how seriously religion is treated in many places in the world. While it's not necessarily a crime to be a Christian (or Buddhist or Hindu) in the Middle Eastern countries I'm aware of, it IS a crime to leave the mother faith in some. Obviously, evangelizing for another faith will get evangelizers into even worse trouble. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if there are people with Colorado Springs ties that thumb their nose at such anti-evangelism laws with some regularity.

Colorado Springs is a city filled with missionaries and mission organizations. More than half of the 100 or so Christian ministries have some missionary component linked to them, and churches regularly send and sponsor missionaries around the globe. Some of these missionaries, I'd wager, go to the Middle East or other religious hot spots -- but it's almost impossible to get confirmation because saying where these missionaries are working could put their lives in danger. It's a faith kept in shadow.

For some, these missionaries are heroes. Others believe they are criminals. The missionaries may be going to countries where evangelism is explicitly forbidden by law. To many a Muslim mind, these missionaries are not only undermining the one true religion, but a nation's political and cultural underpinnings.

Are these missionaries potential religious martyrs or cultural moles? What do you think?


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