CV NEWS FEED // The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe (OIDAC) has released a new documentary describing the experience of “self-censorship” among young Christians at universities across Europe.
The 40-minute Youtube documentary set in Vienna, Austria follows the stories of nine university students from different countries in Europe as they struggle to live their respective Christian faiths openly.
In conversation with each student, a common experience of reluctance to share one’s opinions or beliefs out of fear of conflict or rejection among their professors and peers was present.
One student shared an experience with a professor who described himself as Atheist. At the beginning of the class, she said, the professor started off simply sharing his views, but became progressively hostile towards those who held religious beliefs.
“He should be able to share [his opinions],” the student said. “But over the weeks it became progressively worse—he wasn’t just saying he was an atheist, he was actively mocking people who had a belief.”
“It was kind of just irritating, and I could let it slide,” she continued, “but then it became more active where he would blaspheme images of Christ and actively target Christians.”
The student recalled that the experience was “quite hurtful,” and that as an 18 year-old and first year university student, she did not know what to do. “It felt like it was me against the world and I felt I very much couldn’t speak out.”
Other students shared similar experiences, adding that they felt they couldn’t even share their beliefs on their respective social media platforms.
“The freedom to express one’s beliefs freely and publicly is one of the cornerstones of a pluralistic, democratic society,” the organization said in a press release. “Unfortunately, recent studies show a decline in freedom of speech, particularly at universities and when it comes to religious topics.”