Sometimes we are a little hard on contemporary Christian fundamentalists. We don’t like their aggressive evangelism – their attempts to force their culture on us. That is a statement of perspective – their perspective might be that they are trying to save us from going to hell.
Christianity has as rich history of abusing conquered cultures, all in the name of HeyZeus. The Sillary Experiment by Jesuit Priests in Quebec is a dramatically documented example. Those European folks came here to teach the Native Americans about Christianity. They failed. They unwittingly tried to teach European Culture – because the culture of the time defined their faith – rather than their faith defining their culture.
The Jesuits of the Sillary Experiment did not distinguish faith and lifestyle. The Jesuits tried to teach the nomadic natives that they should live in a village, work six days a week, and attend church on Sunday. It worked in the winter. Then the spring came and the herds of wildlife began their migration. The Natives packed their bags and followed the nutrition of life – as had been their custom for centuries.
The Jesuits were aghast. The ‘savages’ could not grasp civilization – civilization as defined by the Jesuits. The Jesuits could not grasp the idea that one could be a Christian and a Nomad at the same time. The pretext of evangelizing for Christ was overshadowed by the need for others to adopt the cultural values of Europe.
The evangelicals of today insist that all convert to their cultured value system. The presumption is that their values are based on Christianity – thus the loss of the central message of faith.
It seems that in the Mid East the Islamic Fundamentalists would interpret their faith in the context of culture. Women are not educated, women wear parkas or do-dads or whatever those things are called. Kill infidels. Their culture is ancient and does not serve their faith. Imagine the Jesuits attempting to kill any Native who chose to be a nomad – I don’t think it would have gone over very well.
One might think that if the modern day evangelicals, both Christian and Islamic, would study some history they might be able to distinguish the idea of teaching faith rather than teaching culture. Their cause is not served by misguided efforts to force ludicrous change.