Over the years, many stereotypes have been developed about Christians in Middle East leading to major misconceptions locally and internationally which obscures the truth about these areas from the international community and the later generations. Stereotypes are preconceived, exaggerated, oversimplified and often demeaning assumptions of characteristics or aspects that an individual or group possess. In most of the cases they are meant to keep a given group subordinate and derived through social consensus rather than correct individual judgment.
Middle East has a long history relating to origin of religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism (Baggett, 2008). With relationship between the Middle East countries having been very poor for a long time and the biblical teachings having the major roots in the region, vast stereotypes have been derived relating to Christian in the region. Christians in the Middle East are Jews only. Over the years, people have been made to believe that Christians living in Middle East are Jews only due to the fact that the origin of Christianity was from the line of the Jews who resided in the region during historical times.
This thought originated from different communities that fail to holistically understand clear population dynamics and globalization plus its dynamics. Middle East have varying population that have strongly intermixed and intermarried to give a highly heterogeneous society just like other regions in the world (Baggett, 2008). Besides, people of other tribes and communities have also become Christians in the regions. This stereotype has been used for a long time and made international people to have wrong perspectives of becoming Christians.
All the Jews in Middle East are Christians. Since development and establishment of this claim, people have been wrongly made to believe that other communities in Middle East cannot be Christians. This has been build on the perception that since Christianity had an origin in middle east and in the lineage of the Jews, then all the Jews must be Christians (Daniel, 1996). This is again very wrong as many Jews have changed their faith and shifted to Arab and Muslims faiths that are also found in the region.
Jews are people just like others in America and Europe and therefore bound to have their feelings and change accordingly depending on their individual perspectives. Middle East poses one of the best diverse areas where people express their religious rights freely at all times. Only Israel has true Christians in Middle East. This stereotype has been widely used to scare people away from Christianity in Middle East as well as other areas. Christianity is a religion that is highly guided by the rules of the bible which are very clear on the ways and modes the people should use to become Christians.
The Book of Luke in the bible indicates that the way to become a Christian is through believing in God through faith in his son who came on earth and died for our sins. Therefore, becoming a true Christian is not dependent on the country an individual comes from, but a direct consideration of the individual’s faith and commitment to its demands. In the neighboring countries like Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq there are strong Christians who have changed from Islam or other religions like Arab and Buddhism.
All Christians in the Middle East are good and holy. This stereotypic belief came from biblical misinterpretation where it is considered that after Christ resurrected, all the Christians in the region where he was are holy and do not engage in sinful acts. This stereotype is wrong as goodness is a virtue and people are exposed to various circumstances which prompts them to sin. However, Christians are taught to be resentful and where possible avoid the wrong actions.
With Jesus indicating clearly that none but the father is holy, this stereotype is highly misguiding. Like other regions in the world, Christians in Middle East have been committing wrong actions and being referred to courts for judgments. In any society, thieves, murderers, hypocrites and prostitutes among others will always be there. God prefers Christians from the Middle East to other regions. This is a mythical belief that is derived from bible misinterpretation about Gods chosen generation being located in the Middle East.
It arose as convincing tool by the early missionaries who used it to convince the people that Christians in Middle East were superior and therefore required to be obeyed and respected for total repentance to be released. Therefore, people in other regions were held captive by this unfounded belief which spread from generation to generation. It was also used to make the people have lower regards towards themselves and disregard their immediate faiths. However, they must be made to understand that God is loving and caring to all the people who belief and act according to demands of his word (Daniel, 1996).
Christians in Middle East are enemies of their Islam’s and Arabs. This stereotype has been believed widely especially by majority of the people in the western countries. It is based on the ground that there has been a recurrent war between Israel which is largely a Christian state with its neighboring countries that are predominantly Islamic and Arabic. Whereas this stereotype may have some element of truth, it is not fully correct as bulk of the people in these countries live together well mixed up in both countries as brothers and sisters.
Therefore, this is a political war and Christians do have anything to do with it. The stereotype is meant to incite and create animosity between the communities that live in the region (Gottschalk & Greenberg, 2008). Conclusion. Stereotypes in the world have served to misguide people on the true perspectives of a given community or individuals. Christians, Christianity and biblical teachings as indicated by these claims and beliefs have increasingly been misunderstanding and demand strong correction.
Communities and people outside Middle East have been having divergent views which they sooner than latter assimilate and assume to be part of the reality. Therefore, people in other regions should seek to gather more information about Christians and Christianity in Middle East and then decide which is correct or wrong. More information based on the facts should be availed in the media and major libraries all over the world to eliminate the quagmire. Finally, Christian churches should seek to correct the anomaly by cooperating with their various churches and scholars to educate their followers and public on the facts.