August 8, 2010

Christian Fundamentalist Propaganda and Public Ignorance

Some two decades ago, I was watching a famous preacher on TV. The topic for that day’s sermon was “India“. According to the preacher, India was poor because it was not Christian, and he was inviting people to go there and teach Christianity. At the end of the speech, he raised his voice and shouted something like: “Jesus will take that country out of poverty!”, “Jesus will make India advance!” The people in the audience were nodding with meaningful expressions on their faces- “That’s right! Amen! Jesus will help India!”

“Wait a minute“, I said to myself- “doesn’t the audience know that there are many countries that are even poorer than India and that are Christian, to boot? Don’t they remember that just some time ago, there was a huge drive on TV to gather food and medical supplies to be sent to starving Ethiopians most of whom were Christians?" Were the people, enthralled by the charisma of the evangelist, so uninformed and with such a short memory as to not have been aware of such important details?

On another occasion, I was reading a publication by a very radical Christian organization in which there was an article that said that the Jews had suffered the Holocaust because they would not accept Jesus. Ha! You mean, if the Jews had converted to Christianity, the Holocaust would not have happened? Dream on! Don’t they know that the Nazis were very busy asking foreign governments to give them the names of converted Jews ( which they duly received) so that they could send them to the gas chambers along with the non-converted ones? Don’t they know of so many devoted Christians who had ended up in Auschwitz along with the Jews? The authors were probably not aware of such niceties of history or thought the readers were not aware of these small details, either. Is ignorance really such bliss when they can mislead you by having you believe such worthless statements?

And if the Holocaust was the punishment for not becoming Christians, what did those who were, in fact, Christians, suffer for when genocides were carried against them? I mean, the Armenians, for one. At the beginning of the 20th century as many as 1.5million very Christian Armenians were annihilated by the Ottoman Turks. What was that for? That shouldn’t have happened- they had accepted Jesus and thus, they should have been protected. Why did they perish? And, one also forgets the massacres of the Huguenots in France when Protestants were being killed in broad daylight by the hundreds of thousands. What was that for? For not accepting Jesus, either? Hmm. Who do these fundamentalists think I am? Some kind of dodo?

Two decades after that speech, India is doing very well. The reason for the economic progress of the country is the move from a very staid socialism to a more dynamic, market -driven economy and the relaxation of restrictions on foreign investment. That, coupled with a strong IT base, has moved the country out of poverty. And the country is still predominantly Hindu with a strong Muslim minority.

And Japan, a Shinto-Buddhist country, may have suffered a setback in the 1990ies, but it was then and still is the world’s second largest economy. How come that preacher did not mention that in his sermon, and why didn’t anyone in the audience question him about that?

Today, many African and Latin American countries who are devoutly Christian- Guatemala, El Salvador, Kenya, etc. are still mired in poverty and corruption. And the long suffering regions of Sudan where so many people have been dying of starvation - did you see the horrid pictures of people eating leaves from the trees?-are mostly Christian. So, what gives, preacher?

I respect, and see good in any religion, and if there is Heaven, I believe that good and upright people will go there regardless of what they believe in. I also believe that people who work hard and are honest in their dealings with others will prosper, no matter what their religion is. And that misfortune can befall any group regardless of their faith. However, those Christian fanatics who claim that the sufferings- political, economic or otherwise, of others are due to the fact that they did not convert to these preachers' particular religion make me mad. Not only they are totally disrespectful of the distress of others, but they display morbid ignorance of world history and politics.

However, the thing that angers me the most is that they take me, or any reader or listener, for a fool because those who can actually fall for their outrageous claims must be, in fact, complete fools.


1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

''Some two decades ago, I was watching a famous preacher on TV.''

That was almost two decades ago. A lot of the problems since then for Christians is the intersection of politics and Christianity. Thankfully Christian fanatics are shrinking.

Here's a great website on this ---