Persecution Blog: William Carey: Father of Modern Missions

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July 05, 2006



How can it be the Christian's fault for the end of Mayan culture as Riducus claims? (see below)
Day 11:Maya ruins of Caracol
Once upon a time, on a sweltering tropical afternoon, the governor received an unusual visitor. While searching the forest for different trees and wood, Rosa de Maya had found a strange set of hills and even stranger rock formations. It wasn’t until a year later when a government employee could analyze the findings correctly. Ten years went by until the first archaeologist went to this place that is now called Caracol (snail) because of the looped path that leads through the jungle to the ruins. In 1950 the University of Pennsylvania was the first to uncover the ruins, followed by the University of Florida. Today the ruins are in the town centre where the pyramid of Caana is still the highest building in Belize! It is estimated that more than 140.000 people must have lived here in a big city, carefully and amply planned, which used the resources of the rain forest right next door. The flowering of Caracol was due to the conquest of the powerful Mayan empire in Tikal, present day Guatemala in 562AD. The end of the first millennium marks the beginning of the end of the Mayan culture. The year 859 AD is the last discovered date, written on a stone in Caracol. The mystery of why the cities were abandoned and the palaces neglected is something that has yet to be solved. One theory about the disappearance of the culture is that since a big part of the rain forest was cut down for cities and farmland, that this resulted in a drought and it became clear that a famine was inevitable. This lead to war among the tribe for water and bread since they no longer seemed to be in the grace of the gods regardless of how much they offered them. Trust in the political and religious leaders was gradually lost, resulting in the end of the society. The story of the Maya is also the story of an ecological catastrophe. When the Spanish arrived in 16th century, the rainforest Caracol was already occupied by Mayans. But these Mayas didn’t know anything about the Mayan history or about their once very powerful empire in the jungle.,belize/in-the-footprints-of-the-mayas-803.html


Kendall and Julia, thanks again for your responses - this is an example of what good discourse is about.

Stacy, it is a shame that you feel you need to take such a hardline with your blog, after all if your intent is to educate and edify, I would have thought it would be even more beneficial for you to present you positions in a way that allowed you to hold them up in the face of opposition.

I do not wish to mar this excellent discussion by sniping, so i will simply say that I don't believe I said anything demeaning or slanderous, I was simply interjecting opposing opinions into what was seemingly a hostile environment in the hope of generating a discussion, which thankfully did occur.

I was in no way trying to post an unrelated comment or promote my site (which would be silly since you, and I would presume the readers of your blog, would not be interested in that content, nor should you be). I put all my relevant information because I do not believe in posting anonymous antagonistic posts, I stand by my statements and will discuss them, vs. hit and run.

My sole purpose in life and any blogs or comments I make are to encourage critical thinking and questions. Whether someone then chooses to be a devout and zealous missionary or a cynical atheist is their choice, but I always want those people to have a choice and make an informed intelligent choice - frankly I think that then makes their belief even stronger no matter what it may be.

So thank you for allowing the discussion to continue, I hope everyone thought about it - I will refrain from posting thoughts on your site in the future if it makes you uncomfortable.


Rudicus and Julia,
I appreciate a civil discussion of beliefs where people do not get emotional. Thanks for your responses.
Rudicus it truly is sad when things happen such as some of the Native American languages dying. That is an example of a culture changing in a sad way. I know there are many more such examples that could, and if possible should, be prevented.
But cultures do all change and evolve, for better or worse. Certainly American culture is different than it was 200 years ago.
Members of cultures have to decide which things to keep and which new ideas to accept or reject.
If I were a mother in a culture where my first few babies had died of easily preventable diseases, I would be willing to risk some changes to my culture and accept some changes from the outside in order to avoid the same thing happening to my next baby.
And when I, personally, decided that I wanted God more than my own desires, I gave up some habits of my culture, or at least subculture, to pursue that.
Fortunately, no one can force someone to become a Christian. They can force them to SAY they are a Christian, or even to be baptized, but that's all. I would be sad if it could be forced.

Stacy L. Harp


The reason your comment was deleted was because it had nothing to do with the devotion posted, with the exception of blasting William Carey.

And the only reason your lengthy response is left in tact is because someone responded to the original post.

I will not tolerate comments on this blog that have nothing to do with what is being written with the sole purpose of promoting your blog on this site.

So, if in the future your comments are removed again, that is why.

This blog is intended to educate and edify, and is not a place to demean or slander.


Kendall and Rudicus, interesting exchange. One of the best yet to appear on this blog, in my opinion.

Rudicus, it really is a shame that your original post was deleted. Although I can understand why dissenting opinions would have to be handled carefully on a blog like this, you were completely correct when you said that a lack of open-mindedness generates more misunderstanding. Kudos to you for keeping with this.

I think that I understand your position. People (whether or not they are acting in the name of Christ), naturally want to prove that they are right. That is, essentially, the reason why we have wars and denominations and elections and weblogs.

My natural inclination is to agree with you: It is a bad, bad idea to force your beliefs or your will on someone else. People who bomb abortion clinics in America and torture Christians in Pakistan do so because they believe their beliefs/religion are superior and because they lack compassion. Some horrible things have been done by people who were spreading their religion or government, so your concerns are quite understandable.

However, you can take your position to an extreme. What would you do if your child was leaning over the railing at the Grand Canyon or your dog wanted to run into traffic? In these cases, wouldn't you intervene and, consequently, affect the free will of your child and dog? It might sound like a silly example, but my point is this: If you see someone is in danger, then it makes you cold and indifferent if you don't intervene. You believe you know better than your child and your dog, but your actions aren't void of compassion.

Back to missionaries- there is a woman who works with a village in Sudan. This white, western woman will wear the same outfit for weeks at a time, because she is living like the people in the village she works with. She has helped hundreds of children to regularly receive one meal a day, which doesn't sound like a lot to us but is quite a bit if you're starving to death. This missionary has also started a church. Why has she done all these things? Is it because she believes that her way of doing things is better than how things were being done before? Of course. But it's also because she loves these people and wants the best for them.

Beliefs about medicine aside, I think Kendall’s point is that we have a responsibility to help others, and I agree. Your point is that we should respect those who have different beliefs than us and not forcibly change a culture, which I also agree with. The key is whether you are acting out of arrogant pride or selfless compassion. Many missionaries, such as the missionary in Sudan, works out of the latter.


Kendall, thank you for your thoughtful questions and open attitude. I would like to point out that a perfect example of my reasons for being against missionary practice can be seen in this very discussion. You will notice my original comments have been removed from the site - thus no real discussion can continue. If we are not open to differing viewpoints we are doomed to not learn anything - on either end, and all this does is perpetuate conflict and misunderstanding.

Now despite the fact that my views and beleifs have already been disrespected, I will endeavor to answer your questions.

In truth, I feel much the same way about immunizations and operations of that nature as I do about missionaries, because they have much the same impact.

When immunization and modernization programs come to indiginous people they have the unfortunate effect of destryoing culture as well.

This happens for one reason - the belief that there is only one right way to do things. That belief is shared by most missionaries as well as most western medical practitioners as well as governments.

The problem is that it is not only not true, but it does not allow for the things that are different but equally positive about the culture.

A spiritual practice of a particular culture may have elements that are both profound and inspiring, but we will never know because they were not Christian practices, therefore they must be eradicated - mostly without ever looking at those practices to see their value.

The Maya had one of the most accurate calendars in history as well as some profound advances in medicine and architecture, not ot mention art - but most people will never know that, nor will we ever know because their culture was destroyed because it was a "heathen" culture.

The same goes for immunization programs - often times those immunizations come to eradicate diseases that didn't exist in those cultures before their contact with europeans or Americans.

We will never know what incredible spiritual, cultural or medicinal practices may have transformed our world because they were destroyed because the destryoers thought they knew the one right way.

It is that very lack of openness that is the true sin. To believe that your way of living, medicine or belief is the one right way or worse the ONLY right way is unmittigated arrogance and vanity and to me is profoundly unchristian.

If God made the world and everyone in it then he made these peoples and their cultures as well - to subvert their culture for your own in the name of God or for any other reason is the same as saying thet you know better than God what is right.

Even if people die from disease or are never introduced to Christianity they have a right to live their lives in that way without interference.

Much in the same way that I'm sure you would be unwilling to change if armies of missonaries armed with literature and passionate belief came to this country and fervently tried to convert you and your church to buddhism or homosexuality.

And that's why I cannot support of view as a hero anyone who's sole aim is to suvert anothers life in favor of their own beliefs - no matter how altruistic they may be.


William Carey follows in the steps of the apostle Paul who said, "I have become all things to all men that by all means I might save some." (I Cor 9:19-22)

We need more people who are willing to exhibit the courage, creativity and capabilities given to us through the power of the Holy Spirit as promised in Acts 1:8. You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth."

Carey succeeded as a result of His dependence on the Lord and his tenacity. Once a person gives themselves to the Lord, the great commission and the great commandment of (Luke 10:27) they can do nothing less than emulate Carey and the apostle Paul. I did for nineteen years in Nigeria and saw great blessings, fruit and the fulfillment of God's promises..



In response to Rudicus, who sent a comment to this post earlier.
Rudicus, you told about a U.S. Wiccan who was not allowed to have a Wiccan symbol on his memorial, even though many other religions were represented. You are right if you are saying that doesn't seem quite "fair." Other than what you presented, I don't know anything about it, so can't fully comment, but it does sound like something that might need some investigation.
You also talked about missionaries, and about their destroying the culture and ways of indigenous people by bringing in Christianity. Here's something I've never understood about that position that maybe you can clear up for me. When Westerners come in to these areas and bring immunizations against deadly diseases, which go against the native health/medicine practices, no one complains (except maybe their health practitioners/shamans at first.)In the end, the local people usually end up accepting the immunizations when they see the results. Christians believe they have eternal answers more important than immunizations. Part of their belief is that they are required to take this info to other people who don't know it. The local people who accept the news will often give their lives rather than deny what they have discovered about Jesus. Would you deprive the Christians from practicing their belief in providing eternal answers? The locals from hearing a new idea that they are free to choose or reject? You can mention missionaries' mistakes in areas, but I've heard similar stories about health care workers who come to those areas. But surely we wouldn't want to say there can be no more introduction of modern medicine to those who don't yet have it.

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