Hypocrisy To Oppose
Missionary Efforts?
Tom Jones

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "tom jones"
Subject: Re: Lay Anthropologist and anti-missionary
Date: Friday, February 02, 2001 10:45 PM

And they've both been known to join hands in their mutual efforts to wipe out both traditional (tribal) religious beliefs as well as that demon atheism. We saw shades of things to come during the recent American Presidential election when we watched Christian and Jewish candidates alike speaking about "Judeo-Christian" values. Pat Robertson, while asserting that unconverted Jews will spend eternity in the Christian Hell, said, during his 1988 presidential bid, that he "would only bring Christians and Jews into the government." Muslims are, for the most part, still on the outside; but then, I'm old enough to remember when Jews were still there as well. And when it comes to politics, Jews, Mormons, and Moonies are accepted as equals in groups like the Moral Majority (but not when it comes to religion). I predict that when the Christian general public wakes up to the fact that most Moslems (in America) are not fundamentalists, but are just regular people like the rest of us, we will start hearing about "Judeo-Christian-Islamic" values.

Not much. Christians criticize us for following a "survival of the fittest" mentality, simply because we think that evolution is the best explanation for human origins (never mind that the notion of "survival of the fittest" is an outdated oversimplification, and used only by Christian opponents of teaching evolution in the public schools). Nevertheless, it is the Christian missionary groups who fit their dogma to survive through coercive missionary efforts.

Some European countries, who make no pretense of absolute religious Liberty, have been successful in reducing (but not eliminating) the activities of such groups as the Hare Krsnas, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Scientologists. However, to this day, you dare not take on the Roman Catholic Church. As South African Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu said, in April, 1987, "Beware when you take on the Church of God. Others have tried and have bitten the dust." (Quoted from the Encarta Book of Quotations.) This is not to say that "God" will take revenge, but that the Christian Church is a mighty political power, thinly disguised as a religion of peace. Sects who traditionally will kill one another over seemingly trivial doctrinal issues can and will unite to oppose what they see as the "atheist threat." Even though his "crime" was claiming visions from "God," Socrates was put to death for "atheism" (that is, not believing in The One True God[s]).

Some groups, such as the Atheist Centre in Vijayawada, Andra Pradesh, India, openly expose religion and religious frauds for what they are. James Randi and, to a lesser extent, Michael Shermer, do the same thing in America, Europe, and Australia.

Since the nature of atheism includes the rejection of organizing into groups, I don't see how we could easily put together a counter to the massive missionary efforts of the Christian churches (though the original methods of Islam were countered as the warfare that it was, albeit not always successfully). Then, what we would be doing, in this context, would be tantamount to supporting the local tribal superstitions against the Christian or Islamic superstitions. I see a no-win situation, unless our efforts were to go in there and teach science (as do Randi and the Atheist Centre).

No. We are entitled to our opinions, and we do well to create and support situations that favor (at least) our right and ability to hold these opinions without being suppressed or slaughtered, and (at most) our right and ability to propagate our viewpoints and to try to put into effect those policies which we think are the best.

I do not currently know any Christian missionaries. I do know many Twelve Steppers, and can maintain a peaceful coexistence with them: Steppers are among the most viciously coercive missionaries, in that they support the practice government mandated involvement in their religion, which they call The Program. All Steppers who know me know my views on this, that the Program deserves to exist, but ought never be forced upon anybody. (I was jailed for refusing a court order to undergo religious instruction in the Program.) Many even agree with me but feel powerless to change the Program. (All they need to do is stop signing attendance slips and they've done the minimum; lobby the Program to actively discourage this practice and they've done all they can as individuals.)

But if the missionary I mentioned were to again become part of my life, that person would be welcomed as a friend, and would also hear my opinions on the very nature of missionary work. If that person could agree to disagree, I would still treat that person as a human being, giving them the dignity I would give anybody, and holding them responsible for any harm they may do to me or my circle of friends.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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