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Aerden
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September 2019
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Aerden [userpic]
Mandinkas and Missionaries - Outrage of the Week

It's been a while since I did one of these, so...

The people who put together the MandinkaPeople.com website really piss me off. I was looking up information about them for a story I'm working on, and that particular site seems to be the font of all Web wisdom concerning these people. (Many sites link to this one.)

The site is run by Christian missionaries who just cannot get into their heads the idea that there might be more than one path to God.

The site poses a question: Why do the Mandinka remain unreached by the Gospel? The answer that the site gives is essentially that the Gambia region has poor infrastructure, so most villages are isolated. Natural barriers also isolate things, and oh--the people are superstitious and believe in talismns and amulets.

It never seems to occur to these people that perhaps the Mandinka are happy as Muslims and see no need to change their religion.

Another irritating thing--they constantly refer to the Mandinka as 'MNK's' rather than as Mandinka. How degrading is that?

Anyway, my main gripe is, I think, with this particular missionary's attitude. In a way, it's almost medieval in the depth of conviction that the missionary's belief is right, and the Mandinka beliefs are wrong or at best misguided. I think this person believes that, because the Mandinka have very little in the way of written knowledge, that they are religiously handicapped and cannot understand the true depths of religion--which is bullshit. You don't have to be literate to be able to understand the depths of faith. Yes, literacy helps, but it's not essential. Can this missionary walk into the Mandinkas' minds and know what they think of their god and their religion? No.

I find the whole website--though informative--just...icky. It's someone trying to impose their beliefs on a people who are doing just fine with their own beliefs, thank you very much. Why force them to change? Why automatically presume that their faith isn't good enough? Would this missionary appreciate being preached to by a Muslim missionary? I doubt it.

Current Mood: angryangry
Comments

Well, I'm one of those Christians who believe that there is only one path to God, because Jesus says that no one comes to the father except thought Him. And I feel the need to clarify a few of the issues you brought up.

It never seems to occur to these people that perhaps the Mandinka are happy as Muslims and see no need to change their religion.

I can't speak for these particular missionaries, but if they believe as I do then I'm sure they do understand that most of the Mandinka people don't feel a need to change their religion. However, they are concerned that the Mandinka will not have the opportunity to hear about a different path (what I believe is the one true path) and will therefore never even have the opportunity to be saved.

Another irritating thing--they constantly refer to the Mandinka as 'MNK's' rather than as Mandinka. How degrading is that?

I agree, they shouldn't do that.

I think this person believes that, because the Mandinka have very little in the way of written knowledge, that they are religiously handicapped and cannot understand the true depths of religion

Here I would disagree. I think that the missionaries believe that because the Mandinka do not have knowledge of Christianity, or access to the Bible, that it's important to provide them with Bibles and/or material in their own language that they can then read and remember more than what a missionary might be able to tell them in just a short chat.

I find the whole website--though informative--just...icky. It's someone trying to impose their beliefs on a people who are doing just fine with their own beliefs, thank you very much. Why force them to change? Why automatically presume that their faith isn't good enough?

Christians are commanded by God to share their faith. Often it is a struggle, and we would like nothing less than to just live and let live, but part of being a Christian is having a love for those who are not Christians.

This means, because we love people, we share our faith. The Bible says that only those who are Christians (who have come to faith in Jesus Christ and been paid for by His sacrifice on the cross) will enter the kingdom of heaven. The lost are going to Hell. That's the hard truth of what God has said and what I believe.

Therefore, because we love the lost, we don't want to see them suffer for all eternity in Hell. So, besides being commanded to share our faith, we also do it out of love. While their may be some misguided Christians who "impose" or "force" their faith on people, the majority of Christians I have met, myself included, when we share, we are respectful and friendly, and if the person slams the door in our face, we don't curse or say, "heck with you then!" We merely go try to share our faith with the next person who might want to hear it.

Would this missionary appreciate being preached to by a Muslim missionary? I doubt it.

Actually, I love being preached to by people of other faiths because it gives me an opprotunity to interact and ask them why they believe what they do, and try to point out why I believe the Bible is the only true religion.

I'm sorry this got so long! I just felt like I should clarify some of the points you made, since you pushed a button of mine. :) Have a great day!

Z

Hey, thanks for reading my post and helping me understand some of your point of view.

I guess I don't see Christianity as the only way. It's a very good way, and it certainly has enriched me spiritually, but I believe that there are many paths to the divine. There were religions before Christianity, and there have come into being new religions since Christianity. As long as people use them as guides to moral behaviour and as ways to gain true spiritual strangth and wisdom, (instead of, say, following a cult leader), that seems valid to me. I believe any religion, if practiced truly and with a desire to serve God--in whatever form--can provide a meaningful and profound religious experience.

It just seems wrong and discourteous to me for people to introduce Christianity to others the way these missionaries seem to be doing. Asking people to, in essence, pray that the Mandinka will see the error of their ways and turn to God rather than respecting the God that they do turn to bothers me.

Granted, I don't know how these missionaries are teaching the Gospel. They might be doing it very politely and low-key. I's not getting the impression of such a low-key approach from their website, though.

Chantal

Suse--*stares* There was a sign, and people were still ignoring it? Geeze! The poor imam probably has to rearrange his Koran after every group of tourists leaves. That's ridiculous.

Chantal