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Let’s not impose our religion… October 21, 2010

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.
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A heavier than usual blog post. Comments welcome.

Let’s not impose our religion …but let’s never be afraid to talk about our faith and the worldview that comes with it. It is important to remember that our understanding of God and the world will have been influenced by our own culture and that there are several other valid and valuable expressions of Christianity. One common view in the society around us is that all religions are basically the same. That is definitely one view we should challenge.

Here are a few beliefs and practices from different parts of the world I heard about recently.

  • Several people groups in the Pacific traditionally believed that the completion of a new house  requires the sacrifice of a baby.
  • A community in one African country have a traditional belief that if a child’s teeth (either set) start to come through at the top first it is a sign that the child is possessed by a spirit and for the good of the community should be killed. (further info in Aug 2011, Christianity Today)
  • A group in a different  African country has a series of initiation rites for boys that included teaching them how to lie to woman, mistreat them and attribute the whole thing to being under the control of a mythical creature. Any woman witnessing the initiation would be raped, killed, and her disappearance blamed on the mythical monster.

In each situation local Christians need wisdom as to how to respond.

Meanwhile, there is another large group of people in Western countries who maintain the strange belief that all religions are basically the same and proclaim that it is wrong for one group to impose their views on other people – usually meaning that people shouldn’t go around talking about what they believe, unless those beliefs happen to be in line with their own values.

Those same western societies are home to beliefs and practices that others in the world find shocking, for example the level of materialism and the apparent lack of care or concern for our extended families and neighbours. Christians in other parts of the world might wonder what we are doing to respond to the evils in our own societies.

There are wrong ways to impose our beliefs and our worldview, and there are right ways to engage with people from our own and other cultures and help them explore and discover the faith and the relationship we have with Christ, and the reality and expression of that relationship within their own lives.

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Comments»

1. Doreen - October 22, 2010

I certainly know that this blog seems to be deja vu for me and that I was personally changed after our conversation about it. I thank you for allowing me to be frank and honest and for being so candid in return. I have shared your insight with many others after our discussion and I am glad you have a blog so I can share it with others as well. Great job!

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2. Nicole - November 8, 2010

A friend of mine lately who is (self proclaimed) *nothing* brought a children’s book to our most recent book club (we were to share a book on the theme of happiness). It was loosely based on the golden rule and she liked it because she felt it pointed out how all religions have the same basic core belief/values. I was so sad at her misunderstanding but didn’t know what to say and didn’t want to say the only thing I could think of (what a fool you are for believing this but being unable to believe in God’s free grace)… I need a ready response for when this comes up again, as I’m sure it will as God will give us more chances to witness to this person…I suspect she would claim she was talking about the major religions, and that examples you give above somehow don’t count into her claims… but thank you for this blog entry. Food for thought and prayer.

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