Sometimes a short post is all that’s needed to convey a deep thought. And Makagutu’s posts is both.
While I do side with him on his thoughts, my own position on the matter is a little bit more complicated.
Firstly the easy bit. It think the Christian Missionary culture brought with it much that is bad. They ravaged local cultures and customs and forced those living in the lands they invade to convert to their doctrines. The side affect of this is that those who followed found it easy to pillage the occupied lands and take the wealth back to their own nation. Leaving those who knew and loved the lands worse off. I think that is a terrible legacy that is yet to be redressed.
I am a product of that which I condemn. I grew up in Zambia and spent many of my formative years cocooned within the missionary environment there. I have benefitted from it. Emotionally I love Zambia as a country, it is beautiful and those who live there are beautiful. Humans and other animals, all of them are beautiful.
It’s been more years than I care to admit since I visited and I miss the country still. I miss the dust and the smell of rain and the many sounds and the fabulous food.
Yet, much of what I love is tainted by the knowledge of injustice that took me there. Injustice that I once supported. Injustice that I once thought was godly and right. Injustice that in some small way was carried out by my own family line. it is done, it is past and I can do nothing about that. Sometimes that knowledge hurts.
Without that, I could never have seen some of the wonders I have seen. I would not have the memories that lead me to call the Victoria Falls my favourite place on earth. A name that itself is a product of that culture.
I was taught that those who died making first contact in the spread of the gospel were heroes and martyrs. There are Christians today who still think that.
I can only shake my head in disbelief, tainted with a small amount of shame.
In this post I wrote, following, Professor Makau Mutua, that indigenous religions should be protected against the proselytizing religions, that is, Christianity and Islam.
Those of you who don’t live under rocks have heard about the missionary, John Chau, who met a not very good fate when he went to spread the not so good news of chesus to guys who were not interested.
Maybe had my ancestors meted the same treatment to early missionaries, the profile of our world would be different. If the missionaries believe their god is everywhere and can perform miracles, I would suggest they pray and fast, while at home, and ask the gods they pray to to convert whoever it is they are interested in saving from a death that meets us all.