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 Missionaries 
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I find it bothersome that missionaries go out ot the people of "nature" to civilize them, forcing their religion against their rituals. The way I see it, the native people (with their own traditions and ways of living) are sometimes closer to God than we are from priviledged society. They live with nature and take only what they need from the land - not prey upon it, consuming resources to benefit themselves. Sometimes I wonder if we should go out to learn something from them?

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Ashley Tyndall


Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:40 pm
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Unfortunately, this seems to be how most societies begin. Columbus even admitted in his journals that his reason for taking natives back to Spain and teaching them Spanish and converting them to Catholicism was so that they would tell him where he could find their gold. I'm okay with going to other countries if it is in an effort to assist them as partners, but I'm not very comfortable with the idea of religious groups going to foreign areas with the intention of making those native peoples like them. Who's to say who's right and who's wrong? The religious ways of the Congolese seemed to be working pretty well for them thus far.

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amy french


Thu Nov 10, 2005 6:22 pm
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I agree with you, Ashely, in that missionaries should not go to foreign countries and force American culture and traditions on people. Thankfully, this is NOT the job of Southern Baptist missionary. Nathan Price is NOT an accurate picture of a Southern Baptist missionary. In fact, he is a poor example of a Christain, because he has forgotton his family, which Southern Baptists and the Bible say is a most important job of a man! Amy, I found your response also interesting. I think the question comes down to whether or not you believe in a big "T" or an absolute Truth....I do. If there is an absolute Truth, shouldn't you share it? Do you keep the answer to life hidden or to yourself if you know it? I don't think so. And how do we know that the Congolese religous ways are working well for them? We don't see where they spend eternity in the book.

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Jennifer Wampler


Sat Nov 12, 2005 8:46 am
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I guess I just feel that religion should be a personal, private choice that every individual should have the option to make. I think that religion is something that is sacred and shouldn't be marketed for wealth or political gain. I also feel that if we let everyone practice their own faith in their own way the world might be a more peaceful place. I say, to each his own. As long as you treat people with respect and are peaceful, I could care less what people do in their personal lives...I'm certainly not going to try and convince others that my way is right or that their way is wrong.

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amy french


Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:44 pm
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I agree with you Amy. I think that much more harm has been done through the forced spreading of religion, than good. We should let people live their lives.

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Rachael Dunton


Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:03 pm
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I think that most missionaries are not there to force their religion on people or to impose American culture on people. If they are being led to spread the gospel they are not usually forcing anything on anyone. I'm not saying that it never happens, I sure it does. However, there is nothing wrong with telling people about God and letting them make their own choices about it. I personally know several missionaries that are around the world and I don't feel that any of them are intruding on anyone's privacy.

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Ricky Ward


Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:37 am
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I agree with you Ricky. The most productive way of sharing your faith and religious beliefs is through example. When missionaries go to different countries, they are able to make an impact by showing and doing God's word rather than cramming it down someone's throat.

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Tammy Beach


Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:52 am
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I agree with all the previous comments. Missonary work is difficult, because you might want to think you are helping other cultures by teaching them to become more "americanized," but this isn't always the case. I agree with Ricky, that it is ok to share our ideas and beliefs, but to let people make their own choices, about their way of life. We can learn a lot from discussions with others, and maybe should be open to their ideas as well as just our own.

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Julia Cooley


Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:35 pm
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I saw a video this weekend, Beyond the Gates of Splendor, which portrayed the lives of several missionaries in a positive light. Jim and Elizabeth Elliott were featured in the documentary-their story is a self-sacrificing example, especially Elizabeth's.

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Mitzi


Tue Nov 15, 2005 3:28 pm
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Mitzi
I would like to see that video and think it may be a good addition the class. I have always had a negitive view of missionary work. I realize that I know very little about it, but what I have learned has turned me off to the idea of spreading religion. Do all missionaries spread religion?

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Rachael Dunton


Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:02 pm
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I think the perception of missionaries is that they spread religion. However, I do not think this is their only purpose. I believe that missionaries also work to help improve people's living conditions and health. Missionaries work to improve physical well-being as well as spiritual and mental.

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Julia Cooley


Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:02 am
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I also agree with Ricky's comment on that mission should be about spreading the word, not forcing it. I support missionaries who I know will go to a place and live the way that the people live and relate to them. I am a Christian and when I witness to someone, I don't want to scare them off by saying "You are living your life wrong so you need to accept Jesus." I want to see where they are coming from and let them know how their life can be more meaningful with Jesus.

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Jaclyn Long


Thu Nov 17, 2005 12:02 pm
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I went back and re-read my first statement and I just wanted to clarify that I do not mind missionaries traveling to various other countries to help them if they are in need of assistance. I just don't like the idea of forcing religious views upon them and I agree with many of you that they should have their own choices of what they want to believe.

My grandfather was a Methodist missionary in Brazil for 6 years. He took his wife and three children (my mother included) with him. My mom was six at the time and had to attend the public schools and learn Portuguese. They actually had an additional child born down there and had to get him an American citizenship. My grandfather set up an orphanage, a hospital and two churches, so I do believe he did a lot of good to benefit the people. He also allowed the people to make the choice in what they wanted to believe in their religious aspect. My grandmother always told me that no matter how poor they were (in regards to my family's possessions), she never turned anyone away hungry. If they came to her house begging for food, she would always give them something to take with them.

So I have no problem with what Nathan was trying to do if it was to aid a country in need of help, but I do have a problem with forcing his religion upon them. Like many of you, I agree religion is a personal thing. I just wanted to share that with you all.

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Ashley Tyndall


Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:17 pm
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