Martyr measurement is debatable; persecution isn’t

At a spring Washington, DC, summit of persecuted believers and advocates from 130 countries, Franklin Graham condemned the “Christian genocide” that’s killing “over 100,000 a year because of their faith in Christ.” The figure comes from Gordon-Conwell’s Center for the Study of Global Christianity, which uses a broad definition of martyr and a 10-year average (skewed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s civil war). Others debate the statistic: Open Doors counted just 1,207 Christian martyrs for its 2017 World Watch List, down from 7,000 the year before. But no one’s disputing how study after study shows that religious freedom violations have hit record highs in recent years. Meanwhile, in a $1 million study, led by the University of Notre Dame, researchers found that most persecuted believers in 23 countries flee or hide to survive (43%), while others seek alliances (38%) or confront their persecutors via the media or militias (19%).

Alvin Plantinga wins Templeton prize

The scholar who proved that God’s not dead in academia has been honored with the 2017 Templeton Prize. Alvin Plantinga reshaped his discipline by insisting that Christian philosophers allow their convictions to drive their academic work. His 1967 book, God and Other Minds, prompted a renaissance of Christian philosophy, and his 1984 paper, “Advice to Christian Philosophers,” has shaped three generations of believers. His explanation of free will “laid to rest the logical problem of evil against theism,” judges stated. Plantinga said he hoped the honor would “encourage young philosophers, especially those who bring Christian ...

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