Can Cannibals be Christian?

by startingover 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • startingover

    I got this from a local paper. I say keep your religion to yourself and leave these people alone. They don't need you.

    Can Cannibals be Christian?

    By Catherine Doe

    On a recent Sunday I found myself heading to the Convention Center, not to attend an RV show or Home and Garden extravaganza, but to go to church. It was the Crossroads Community Church and the main speaker, Caitlin Branderhorst, was going to recount her experience as a missionary in a former cannibal tribe in New Guinea. Her first words after settling on her stool looking out over the crowd were, “I'm so not worthy to be speaking here in front of all of you.” She gave all the credit to God for everything she had accomplished in her missionary work.

    So can a nineteen year old young lady convert cannibals to Christianity? The Pukari of New Guinea don't actually practice cannibalism, but they used to. The last group of missionaries to land on their beach in the 1800s were speared and eaten. Caitlin suspected a neighboring tribe might still be practicing cannibalism. They had no tribe members her age. When she asked why they said all the babies born of that generation were killed.

    So what did the first group of missionaries say or do so wrong to become dinner? ” It wasn't a comfortable subject to bring up,” Caitlin said, “for them or us.”

    She landed on such an incredibly ignored and isolated patch of earth that I wondered what exactly do the Pukari practice? It would be typical white American arrogance to say the Pukari had no discernable religion. But the Pukari had nothing that would be considered a religion. When Caitlin and her six fellow missionaries arrived, the Pukari worshiped rocks and practiced a sort of witchcraft.

    So I asked Caitlin the burning question. “How do you start?” She said, “First, you live with them.” For the first two weeks they gathered food, bathed and slept like everyone else in the village to build their trust. During her bucket baths the children were so smitten with her white skin they climbed the trees above where she was bathing to see more of it.

    The next step was testimony. This was done with only one translator for several hundred people who spoke many different dialects. The Pukari live three day's walk from the nearest school or doctor. So ninety percent are illiterate and many have long term illnesses. Some of the testimonies were actually communicated through Christian dramas with no words. When spoken testimonies were used the words had to be spiritual and carefully chosen. The Pukari didn't have beds, toilets, or washing machines. Caitlin couldn't even use the word broom while testifying how her right eye was injured as a little girl when hit by a broom. One of her testimonies was how the doctors told her family she would be blind in that eye for the rest of her life. So her church prayed for her and after six months she regained her sight.

    Caitlin said, “The missionaries would then ask the Pukari after a testimony if they would like us to pray for them?”

    By the end of two months of testimonies and living as Christians, many of the Pukari became followers of Christ. Two days before they left, the missionaries baptized fifty Pukari. I asked if she really thought those fifty people were Christian. She said with all her heart she knows they are. Caitlin said that none of this was her doing but happened through the hand of God. I asked, “Why her?” She said it doesn't have anything to do with her. It just has to do with the fact that she is obedient and listens. She didn't choose New Guinea. She planned on going to Indonesia. But God literally pointed her finger to New Guinea on a map and she merely listened.

    Caitlin agrees that she is not typical for her generation who is drifting away from church and religion. She wants to bring back Christian revivals for her age group to bring them back to God. I was skeptical about how she was going to do that. She wants to sit down and talk to kids her age and listen to them. She doesn't like the idea of preaching from the Bible but wants to live by example.

    By the end of the morning I felt the essence of Crossroads Community Church was, “walk the walk instead of talk the talk.” It's definitely the church to go to if you are new to town or are disenchanted with your current church. Like all churches, everyone was very welcoming, but there were neither cliques nor fashion wars that can be part of the Sunday ritual at other churches. Caitlin agreed. She said she really believed that the Pukari who were baptized didn't just go through the motions to please their guests, but were truly Christian. “Miracles happened that day. Many of the sick, after years of medical neglect, were healed and some people's disabilities disappeared.”

    Caitlin has since learned that the Pukari are building a church in honor of the first missionaries who arrived in the 1800s.

  • talesin

    “Miracles happened that day. Many of the sick, after years of medical neglect, were healed and some people's disabilities disappeared.”

    yeah, right! I just fell to my knees after reading this testament of faith, and my foot was healed! praise Jeebus!

    I agree with you ... here are these people, living with nature,, with nature! why do we (western society) feel the need to make everyone like us? pfft


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    They could quickly revert if one of her miracle cures reverts and eat the next missionaries to arrive.

    I thought perhaps there were laws so that these tribes were protected from outside culture. Disease and not having immunity to Western illnesses is only one concern.

    Growing up in the 1950s, I was terrified of Africa and cannibals but what is the different between eating the flesh of someone you kill in battle and murdering people in religious wars. It seems the eating of flesh is repulsive. I recall reading Aztec which described a very different take from a native perspective. The slaughter of the Hugenots in a few days in France. The crusades.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    ...and in 50 years, their culture and folklore will be completely wiped off the planet.

    I've recently been visiting a place where the Xtians came in and dressed them like Amish dolls and wiped out all knowledge of their gods and legends in a couple of generations. No records were kept, no folklore kept, art (idols) burned as though they were demonic. Disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Broken Promises
    Broken Promises

    here are these people, living with nature, with nature! why do we (western society) feel the need to make everyone like us?

    Exactly - it's all well and good for young Cailtin to go back to her western way of life and go preaching to other gullible folk. She doesn't have to live with these ppl for a lifetime. Such naivite and arrogance.

  • Sulla

    Well, if you assume ahead of time that Christianity is false, I guess your position makes sense. On the other hand, if you think that you may not know all things then you would be more understanding of people speaking what they think is true. The people of this remote location are not babies, after all, and have shown themselves capable of rejecting the message of the missionaries with strong emphasis.

    And, let's not forget, for white people, our ancient gods have been lost as well. But I doubt anybody really wants to return to the days when we strangled children and threw them into a bog. So, Christianity should at least be considered a mixed blessing.

  • NewChapter

    This kind of made me giggle. These are a people that believe in magic. The white missionaries come along with magical tales and magical healings. They have a mystique about them---unusual eyes, hair and skin. The language barrier is huge. They put on silent sketches. Some are healed. So they are building a church. They cannot read. They have only heard the fun and sugary version of the bible. I'm pretty sure the missionaries didn't concentrate on the baby killing, mass masacres, stonings etc. So they tell them a touchy feely story, that these people cannot research, and the people fall down and worship the new god. This is Chrisitianity? I don't believe so. I believe they have simply added another facet to their well established nature worship.

    Cannibalism is in their history, but it's not a present practice. I'd like to know more about that lost generation. Why the assumption that they were eaten? I realize it could have happened, the history is there, but it certainly adds to the drama for the American church goer. Another conclusion, that these people still live in a fairly primitive manner, far from doctors, and an epidemic of childhood disease could impact their population, is not nearly as much fun.

    I may put this on my list of things to research. I'm not buying the miracle theory. I don't think the other possiblities were explored.



    Can Cannibals be Christian?

    You Are what You Eat..

    ........................... ...OUTLAW

  • botchtowersociety
  • Elsewhere

    I though cannibalism was a prerequisit for being Christian.

    Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink (John 6:53-55).

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