03 July 2009

Why missionary work should probably be, you know, outlawed

I'll take a lot of flak about this, but I don't support the idea of "missionary work," if that work includes any kind of religious proselytizing. If a group from a Christian church wants to go offer free medical care or feed people in Africa, and they can do it without attempting to "save souls," then fine. That falls within the realm of charity work, and is right in line with the Biblical principle of caring for the "least of these" among us.

But, as I don't view the Bible as a complete work to be obeyed without question from start to finish, I believe that when Christians venture to faraway lands with the sole purpose of subjugating the traditions of the people whom they "serve," replacing them with Christianity, they are basically predators. "Born-again" Christians don't see it that way, obviously. Neither do the Zionist settlers bulldozing Palestinian lands see their efforts as anything but just. Both are part and parcel of the flawed idea that "God told me to do this/gave us this land," etc.

Bear in mind that your blog author has been on numerous "mission trips." I've seen the good and the bad. The most meaningful ones were those where the religion was kept back wherever we were staying, and whatever we were doing (usually home repairs, etc.) was focused solely on service.

Greg Laden feels the same way I do, and has written a series of posts about his experiences with the missionary world. They are absolute must-reading.

Update: Really, they're all worth reading, but if you don't have time, read at least this one.

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(h/t ACG)


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