The evils of Missionary work
A recent article on haveyoureadthebible.com on missionary work left me both angry and disgusted. If you’ve got the time, I highly recommend reading it if you want your blood to boil a little (especially the pictures of these morons on dune buggies and hiking trips).
I never grew up in a particularly religious environment, thanks largely to my anti-theist father, so my interactions with missionaries occurred only in my young adulthood. Until then I never really thought about what it was all about. No doubt if I had met any in my youth, they would have filled my head with romantic images of the struggling humanitarians trying to “save the souls” of the damned to create a better world.
The reality of missionary work, however, differs vastly from the carefully crafted image religions try to portray. The problem can be understood this way: any actions intended to change the mind and culture of another society comes with a number of risks. The first, and most obvious, is the corrupting influence of wealth; for how can an African child, offered a piece of life-saving bread at the edge of starvation, not be unduly influenced by those giving out their aid? At the least sinister (and this is rarely the case), charity alone pressures those receiving food or shelter to play along for their own good. Much more often, the gift is a bargaining chip to entice converts, and a strong deterrent for departure.
The danger lies also in the twisted reason for their pilgrimage. Rather than a result of merely the kindness and goodness of their hearts, the missionary is on an ordained mission from God, told by scripture to spread the word, regardless of its consequences. The influence of which has transformed Africa into a proxy war between Christianity and Islam. Conflict follows religions wherever they go, since their own ideologies require a totalitarian control over the entirety of existence. It isn’t enough they control the actions of millions of people, the externalities of belief demand even family members turn on one another. Like Matthiew 10:21 so clearly opined,
“brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.”