- Christians' own words
- Inquisition & more
- Death toll in South & Central
- Death toll in North America
- Libraries & temples
- Indian society
- Californian Indians
- Africa and African Slavery
- Inhumane treatment
- Biblical justification
- Churches and slavery
- The Abolition
- Apologetics: "Ancients"
- Apologetics: Moslems
- Apologetics: Africans
- The Pacific
- Missions and colonialism
By the 1860s,Link: The section titled Native Peoples at The Christian Heritage"in Hawai'i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands' native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to 'the amputation of diseased members of the body'."
-- American Holocaust, by D. Stannard
Tahiti and other Islands of the Pacific
The following shows how first Tahiti, then the other islands, were converted by missionaries from England (Protestants): through genocide of its people, both physical and cultural.
Tahiti.From: Mission: Possible - If You are a Missionary, then Genocide is Your Profession page from The Christian Heritage
Let us see how missionaries - like a contagious disease infecting civilizations - annihilate native cultures, destroy the happiness of peoples, and depopulate countries even without actively killing them... (reading this account of missionary conquest for the first time left me almost speechless with anger:)IN 1767 THE ENGLISH navigator Wallis discovered the island of Tahiti. His visit was rapidly followed by those of the French explorer de Bougainville, and Captain James Cook... All three captains were overwhelmed by their reception at the hands of the people of Tahiti, and by the gifts showered upon them... When Cook left Tahiti... he wrote in his journal: "I directed my course to the West and we took our final leave of these happy islands and the good people on them." Some years later he was to write: "It would have been far better for these poor people never to have known us."[LM] N.Lewis, The Missionaries, New York: McGraw-Hill 1988.
Captain Bligh of the Bounty - that stern judge of men - was if possible more impressed...: "I left these happy islanders with much distress, for the utmost affection, regard and good fellowship was among us during our stay..." A few days later the famous mutiny on the Bounty took place, due to the determination of members of his crew not to return to England but to remain and settle on the islands where they had found so much happiness...
A counter-attack by the religious orthodoxy of the day was inevitable. In 1795 the London Missionary Society was formed, its immediate attention focused upon the Pacific; two years later a convict ship bound for Australia put the first missionaries ashore on Tahiti. They, too, were overwhelmed by the warmth of their welcome...
The Tahitians built their houses, fed them, and provided them with servants galore, but after seven years not a convert had been made. Children called upon to line up and repeat over and over again this simple verse in Tahitian did so obligingly and with good grace,No te iaha e ridi mei ei Jehove ia oe?
For what is Jehova angry with thee?
No te taata ino wou no to'u hamani ino
Because I am evil and do evil.
But another seven years of such attempted indoctrination produced no results, then suddenly the great breakthrough took place. The device which eventually established the unswerving missionary rule is described in a letter to home by one of the brethren, J.M.Orsmond. "All the missionaries were at that time salting pork and distilling spirits... Pomare (the local chief) had a large share..." Orsmond describes the compact by which Pomare, reduced to an alcoholic, would be backed in a war against the other island chiefs on the understanding that his victory would be followed by enforced conversion. Since Pomare was supplied with firearms to be used against his opponents clubs, victory was certain. "The whole nation", Orsmond wrote, "was converted in a day."
There followed a reign of terror. Persistent unbelievers were put to death and a penal code was drawn up by the missionaries and enforced by the mission police... it was declared illegal to adorn oneself with flowers, to sing (other than hymns), ...to surf or to dance... Within a quarter of a century the process by which the native culture of Tahiti had been extinguished was exported to every corner of the Pacific, reducing the islanders to the level of the working class of Victorian England.
...After their mass conversion it was hoped that the Tahitians might be induced to accept the benefits of civilization by putting them to [servile] work growing sugar cane... The enterprise failed, and Mr Orsmond, believing that "a too bountiful nature ... diminishes men's natural desire to work", ordered all the breadfruit trees to be cut down. By this time the population of Tahiti had been reduced by syphilis, tuberculosis, smallpox, and influenza from the 200,000 estimated by Cook to 18,000. After thirty years of missionary rule, only 6,000 remained.
Their power base firmly established in Tahiti, the missionaries moved swiftly to the outer islands... The methods employed were the same as before. A local chieftain would be baptized, crowned king, presented with a portrait of Queen Victoria, introduced to the bottle, and left to the work of conversion...A moral code of such strictness was then enforced that a man walking with his arm round a woman at night was compelled to carry a lantern in his free hand. On the island of Raiatea a man who forecast the weather ... was treated as a witchdoctor and put to death.By 1850 the conquest of the Pacific was complete...Once the lives of the Polynesian and Melanesian people had been intertwined with the processes of creation. They seemed under compulsion to decorate everything [such as] the enormously tall prows of their canoes into which they carved such intricate designs...The desire to produce beautiful things has gone...Island dances, reduced to grass-skirts and swaying hips, are for tourist consumption, and the islanders' songs seem lugubrious as if they have never freed themselves of the influence of the gloomy hymn-chanting...
See also: Christian Missionaries - the South Pacific
In this way, Protestant missionaries had taken a form of Christian Inquisition to the Pacific Islands and ruthlessly destroyed its people with Christianity.
Today, people of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and other Islands of the Pacific, rigidly follow Christianity. In Vanuatu, the Evangelical preachers regularly harp on how their women should wear the "traditional" Island dress (invented after Christianity, when the prudish missionaries taught them to be ashamed of everything, prior to which they were not generally covered with clothes). The preachers rant about women wearing trousers, which they teach are caused by "the Devil working through the women". Because of their conversion, they are now little different from the Christians of Medieval Europe when it comes to such superstitious nonsense.
Teurer Segen - Christliche Mission und Kolonialismus by Gert von Paczensky - translation of the book summary and book review at KirchenKritik:
Costly blessing - Christian mission and colonialismNote concerning the historical usage of In the name of Christ:
What has been committed in the name of Christ
Gert von Paczensky
Devout, good, gifting blessings, social work - such is the traditional image of Christian missionaries in the coloured world. But the appearance deceives. Missions were in league with colonialism, often even gruesomely so. They helped to destroy old cultures, to uproot people, to divide families and entire populations. They supported and approved of a system that let countless of millions in three continents be reduced to poverty, bringing them hunger and sickness. In the misdevelopment of Latin America, Africa and Asia - the major problem in the present - missionaries and Churches of all persuasions and confessions (denominations) were complicit. Gert von Paczensky exposes what has been done in the name of Christ, but also how many of his messengers had to pay for it with life and limb.
Review by www.kirchenkritik.de
What brilliant work! If the name of Paczensky did not shine on the front cover, one would immediately be tempted to attribute this monumental work to Karlheinz Deschner. This work lacks neither facts, nor references nor information handed down from the time of mission-work and colonialism.
Appalled, the reader will follow the interconnections and the interplay of both movements [missionary and colonial], whereby often the two cannot be separated from each other. It is established that the Church has to answer for the main share of the guilt in the impoverishment of the present 3rd world. Yes, one can even go so far and assert that without the Church everything would have turned out differently!
In light of this book, the numerous speeches of Pope John Paul II in impoverished countries appear hypocritical and cynical.Moving historical literature at its best. Parts of it are not for weak nerves.
Today apologetic Christians excuse the historical use of this phrase, claiming that Christ's name was abused in the past to commit all the atrocities and crimes, and to cause misery.
However, when the phrase In the name of Christ was used in the past in its actual historical context, it was articulated by believing Christians in executing/carrying out the wishes of God and Christ (like "I baptise thee in the name of Christ"), and for claiming things like entire countries, continents and populations for Christ ("I conquer this country in the name of Christ and the King" or "this country and its people are consecrated in the name of Christ").
In other words, Christians back then were certain they were fulfilling the divine commission, and the phrase was used in the same way as Deus Volt (God wills it) or Bei Gott (by God/in the name of God) had been to bludgeon the heathen Europeans into conversion.
The reason why the Catholic Church was at the forefront of destroying the peoples and cultures of South America, Africa, and Asia, is because it is the most organised. Especially in the times of colonial expansion, the Vatican had the most organised Church. Though Protestant denominations were dominant in some colonising countries, like Britian and the Netherlands, many of the other countries that embarked on expansion were Catholic: Spain, Portugal, France.
C.B. Firth, in An Introduction to Indian Church History:Link"... In a famous bull of 1493 Pope Alexander VI, to settle rivalry between Spain and Portugal, the two colonial powers of those days, drew a line down the map of the Atlantic Ocean south of the Azores Islands to form a boundary between their respective spheres of influence. All lands not already under Christian rule discovered or yet to be discovered to the west of the line, he assigned to Spain; those to the east, to Portugal. Along with this fantastique enactment went a command to the Spanish and Portuguese kings 'to send to the said lands and islands good men who fear God and are learned, skilled and expert, to instruct the inhabitants in the Catholic Faith and good morals'. Moreover, other foreigners were forbidden to enter those lands without licence from these kings. Whatever may be thought nowadays of such orders, the Spaniards and Portuguese were prepared to act on them; and not only in claiming and exercising, as far as they were able, rights of dominion and trade; they were seriously prepared to propagate Christianity."
Nevertheless, the Portuguese also made headway in South America, whilst the French entered Asia as well.
In North America, Protestant denominations were guilty of decimating the indigenous American population. In Africa, they were just as much to blame for the enslavement of the Africans and the fatal consequences for so many of them. In Asia, Protestant missionaries sometimes used different methods to ensure eventual conversion: they would publish pamphlets denouncing the heretical religions or, like the Catholics, set up many missionary schools to undermine local religious traditions or infiltrate Christian writings into indigenous belief systems. When they became impatient, Protestant missionaries condoned, supported or even advocated violence to their colonial governments against the unwilling Asian peoples. In the Pacific, Protestantism yet again showed its teeth and exterminated many indigenous people or reduced them to terrible states.
A fundamental difference between Protestantism and the Roman Church of the time was that whilst the Catholic Church, being so powerful, could command Catholic governments, Protestant denominations could generally only request their Protestant governments to cooperate. Another difference was that the Vatican had centuries more experience. Which is why today, one can see various non-Catholic denominations embark on the same activities that the Catholic Church had already pioneered in earlier times.
In conclusion, all Christian denominations are betting on the one thing they have observed throughout history: they can get away with conversion through violence, because humans have a short memory. Eventually, the descendants will be ignorant enough to start denying historical facts in defense of the very religion imposed on them.
It is because of this that there are a number of African and African-American people who say that Christianity wasn't to blame for slavery or that their denomination of Christianity is somehow immune. Then there are devoutly Christian Native American, Chinese, Indian, Sri Lankan, Japanese people, who truly believe their ancestors converted voluntarily because they "realised" Christianity was the truth. Some might even know of the vast crimes perpetrated against their ancestors by Christianity, but in their mind, they are somehow able to keep Christianity and its criminal past separate. A truly unique enigma. In other instances, Christianity is shielded from the blame which is shifted onto European colonists, ignoring that it was the religion which the colonists fervently believed in which drove them to commit inhuman atrocities and to colonise other lands and people in the first place. Colonial Europe was a Christian Europe, as had been the Europe of the Conquistadors.
A most common excuse is that somehow the ugly past does not represent the ever-elusive true Christianity. Yet history is full of Christians who considered themselves followers of True Christianity. And these were by far the ones who committed the most heinous of crimes against the unconverted populations.
Finally, some converted people amongst nations conquered by Christian imperialism even resort to closing their eyes and ears to the facts of history and denying it. Perhaps they are unaware that by denial, the truth doesn't go away.