Baptism and circumcision have pagan origins too. Hmmmm.
Israelite tabernacle and temples....of pagan origin?
Dr. David Livingston was also greatly loved by the Africans he served, and his heart was kept by the tribes to be buried in their land when he finally died (and his body returned to England). He didn't bring a gravy train to Africa to bribe locals
Gladys Aylward saved orphans in China from being killed by invading Japanese troops. She was highly honored there as being a woman of love and integrity. (Katherine Hepburn starred as Gladys in an Oscar-winning film long time back.)
William Carey back in the early 1800s started universities and schools for girls, and worked toward abolishing satee, the rite where a widow throws herself onto her husband burning funeral pyre.
There's a long line of missionaries that have inspired positive changes in this world.
But obviously, it is unrealistic to think that missionaries have always followed their beliefs perfectly. (Mother Theresa confessed regularly to a priest, as you know.) ...And it seems that there are many folks here on this board with very high standards, judging others. But all people will be judged by their own standards, so being morally aloof can be dangerous. The knife cuts both ways if you judge.
If the Indians hate Christianity so much, why do any convert? It is the fanatical Hindus (who also fight the Muslims with the same fanaticism) who feel threatened because they are losing their firm position of status built on the backs of low-status/outcast classes. Education/travel of these lower classes has helped them see that any other place in the world they are not outcasts... Radical Hindus don't want any defectors, whether to Islam, Buddhism, or Christianity. The caste system is now a system for controlling people.
Even as I write this, there are still things that can be appreciated within Hinduism, which speak of truths that resonate with the gospel. Many things within their culture which can be respected and appreciated.
Concerning Egyptian paganism:
Jesus is an historical figure, whereas there hasn't been records to attest to the historicity of all the various 'gods', no matter their apparent similarities.
If you have an argument that
Igor is an international student from Russia to the US;
Igor is attending Harvard;
Igor had to pass strict TOEFL score levels to be admitted;
Igor is studying law;
Therefore, Igor must speak fluent English,
then you would have an inductive argument that is indeed very strong, and has a very high probability to be true. However, if one then discovered another piece of information:
Igor is actually a deaf-mute,
then the whole argument is now deductive, having one piece of information that, if proven to be true, renders all the other premises moot. This one premise determines the truth of the whole argument.
Likewise, the historicity of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus throws a big wrench into an interesting argument about the Bible being utterly fabricated, and nothing more than borrowed Egyptian paganism. But claiming that Christianity is such an outgrowth without first thoroughly disproving its historical claims is ignoring the real issue. I find it rather interesting that many folks focus on pagan probabilities and ignore the more tangible argument.
The Catholics proclaim the mystery of their faith each week: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. It is the crux of all Christian faith: If Christ is not historical and did not die on the cross, or if Christ did not rise from the dead, then we could never say "Christ will come again."
(BTW, I'm not Catholic, but was raised one. )
...vowing not to look at this thread for a loooong time so that I can get some work done 'round here!
To which muslim missionaries in the us and uk are you referring?
It really doesn't matter much whether such and such has pagan origins. This is the fault of Fundamentalist Christianity--it sees "paganism" in some aspects of Christianity that it abhores such things as Christmas and the like. But these people miss the point: who is the center of these "pagan" customs? Or, more importantly, if the pagan custom has been made and dignified to being made Christian, is it still pagan then? If these "pagan" customs and the like have been made and rededicated to Christ, then by all means it is no longer pagan, but shows the triumph of Christianity over paganism. That's the point most Fundies miss.
I will restrict this to the India question. Yes there are Hindu fanatics, just as there are Muslim and Christian fanatics. Mostly that is RSS fascism.But I will say this.. Christian Fundamentalists caused the RSS to form as a back reaction to Hinduism. Yes the caste system is awful, and is perverted from what it was in vedic tiems. But this has nothing to do with what missionaries do. Making it sound like a bunch of criminal Brahmins keeping thousands of poor dalits from Christ is ignorance of the facts. The fact is that Hinduism is one of the fastest growing religions in the world, even though it has no proselytizers. You ignore (or are ignorant of) modern Hinduism movments like Ramakrishna Mission, Arya Samaj, and others. Vedic and Vedantic thought influences New Age, NeoPaganism, and many other movments. Whereas the whole idea of Christian missionaries is a Victorian era throwback and an embarassment. RSS thugs are scary and mindless, but they don't go to america knocking on your door to read the Ramayana. I am giving this viewpoint from an american with connetions to the Ramakrishna Movement and to the Gita Society, so my viewpoint, while not objective, i think can honestly be said to be taken from an interesting angle. Jai Ma.
Most of the thousands of hindus that convert do it for whatever token is handed out, and then do the JW equivalent of fading out. They are not stupid. They are starving. They know that if a conversion is not in the heart, it is meaningless. And so the missionaries keep on digging holes in the sand with the tide coming in, thinking they've moved mountains. ?
Christian missionaries are only in countries because they believe their religion is better, and conversely, that the local's religion is worse. Only extreme blind arrogance can go into that. Missionaries believe that if Hindus (or Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, aboriginals, whatever) do not convert they will go to hell. So whether they try to blend into the local customs or not, the fact is they are there to cause a MAJOR disruption to the local culture due to their Christian arrogance.
YERUSALYM: if a Muslim preyed upon poor Christians and tried to convert them, yes I would think thats wrong. In retrospect I think selling the watchtower was just as wrong. (And I stopped going out in service years before my DA because of that conviction) I happen to believe killing is wrong.
I never said they should be killed, I only said It would not make me sad. Religious fanatics try to "kill" another's faith. If they are killed in the body, they were playing with fire to begin with.
The return volley to scripture quoting Christian missionaries:
"We have been told, O Krishna, that people whose family traditions are destroyed necessarily dwell in hell for a long time."( Bhagavad Gita: 1.44)
If you try to actively change another's faith, you are a fanatic.
Just because you believe Jesus actually did walk the earth, that does not mean that the stories we see in the bible are not influenced by earlier religions. Jesus may have walked the earth - but the real question is why do the stories about him parallel many stories of ancient pagan nations? The biblical accounts were written by men and later transcribed by other men. IMO the parallels are due to those men incorporating their ideas and beliefs into the story.