Russia is a country that is 75% Orthodox Christian. There are however, Russia presents a diverse religious background with several other religions registered all over the country like Roman Catholic, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam. Orthodox Christianity is the traditional religion in Russia and is known as part of the history of Russia. When it comes to religion, Russia practices freedom of religion allowing all to follow specific religious traditions and principles.
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However, in the course of time, Russia’s freedom of religion seems to decline. And just recently, Russia banned Jehovah’s Witnesses from functioning on Russian soil and labels the denomination as extremists. This decision came after Russia also banned evangelism through the use of Bible in public places as well as online which can open the door for persecution among minor religious groups.
Jehovah’s Witnesses is a Christian denomination but is different from the conventional Christian because they do not believe in the Trinity. Active members of the denomination are highly involved in evangelism by distributing tracts and other literature which is published by the Watch Tower Society.
Members also visit people with the objective of being able to start a Bible study with a person who isn’t a member yet. The goal of their visitations and evangelism is to get a non-believer to join them and be baptized into their group.
One of the practices and beliefs of the group is the rejection of violence. This is one reason why members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are forbidden to join the army or any group that practices violence. Furthermore, the group also discourages blood transfusion. Abortion is equated to murder while suicide is self-murder. Gambling, smoking, illegal drugs as well as drunkenness are also prohibited.
Jehovah’s Witnesses also forbid their members to marry individuals who are members of other denominations. They believe that it is against the Word of God to mix with other religion. Because of this, they also do not attend interfaith gatherings.
The said religious group also does not get involved with politics. They do not take any sides and are therefore, neutral about issues. So they do not participate and obey rules and laws set by the government. For them, earthly governments are controlled by the devil. The group gather themselves exclusively. This, and their non-trinitarian teachings are some of the reasons that some Christian denominations call them cult.
Despite the group’s principle against violence, they have been singled out by the Russian government and were recently banned from operating. The Justice Ministry of Russia told the Supreme Court that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been showing “signs of extremist activities”. And the Russian government justified their move by saying that independent religious activities are considered as major threat to their social as well as political stability.
Russia’s change in relation to religion happened way back in 2006 when they changed the legal definition of extremism. Since then, hatred and violence was removed from being a requirement for extremism and was replaced by the incitement of discord as part of the criteria that would make a group an extremist which makes their status equal to that of the Nazis and ISIS.
This seems to be rather bad news because this might pave the way for the persecution of minor religions that do not agree with the major religion of Russia. Furthermore, this would also be compromising the freedom of religion in Russia which might escalate on a global scale.
Is this move by the Russian government a way to safeguard the country from any threat or just a way to put everything under the control of a single religion which will pave the way for the one world order? What Russia has done might be a way to clear up all religion so that the one world order could be established which puts everything and all religions under its power. Failure to follow them will result into a punishment which takes away their rights and privilege to buy and sell.
This is what the Bible has prophesied about, the mark of the beast. Anyone who receives this mark has the power to buy or sell commodities. Those who do not have it will not be able to do so.
When this world order is established, do you have the firmness of faith to stand up for what you believe in? Or are you going to simply submit to the mark of the beast? If what you believe in becomes the next target for persecution, what are you going to do?