When I first read the below Facebook post I wanted to respond, but I generally avoid Facebook discussions. With those kind of posts people tend to vent and express, rather than share and inform, or even enlighten. Replies can be unhelpful, or even rude if you disagree or try to post some kind of thoughtful response.

Just a thought…Man has always desired to conquer. Now in a modern world I see religion as the tool used to advance….when the Spaniards invaded CA and pillaged the native Americans…guess what their whole plight was…to convert all to Catholicism. I have read Christopher Columbus journal entries and he was a wicked man. I just do not understand the need to conform others…the native people were happy, intelligent, well spoken people…why the need to conquer and convert…? They did not have alcohol before the white man….Christopher Columbus even wrote in his journal, all they needed to pay the “savages” was a little drink.
I am saying all this because I have noticed an increased amount of judgement from Christians…I have noticed there is a “No Discussion” policy on so many of Christianity’s fundamental values. Why? If Christianity can pull apart every faith, religion, political party, social group they disagree with…why can’t the later do the same?

Like so many Facebook posts I come across, I save them so I can address them at a later date. Some I will never post to my blog because they are for my own personal benefit and growth.

Others, like this one, are worth sharing because they express not only what is taught in the universities, but where the Millennials are in their faith and I know you are not alone in your questioning of the Christian faith.

Just a thought…Man has always desired to conquer.

They sure have. Even my Jr. High students would agree with this and many could give examples of man’s thirst for power.

Now in a modern world I see religion as the tool used to advance….

By ‘advance’ I am assuming you mean to gain power or control? To advance someone’s position. I am not sure why you only see this in the modern world. Religion has always been used as a tool to advance a position of power. What is important to point out is religion is the tool that men use, and tools can be used properly, or improperly. For example, a hammer can be used to build a bird house or a fence; it can also be used to bash someone’s brains out.

All tools, and all religions, have a purpose. If you are not sure of their purpose, you should go to the founder of that religion or tool and ask what its purpose is. If that individual is no longer alive, then you will have to spend time researching what they wrote, or what others have written about their particular religion.

when the Spaniards invaded CA and pillaged the native Americans…guess what their whole plight was…to convert all to Catholicism.

When the Spaniards invaded California, there were some who used religion as a tool to ‘advance’ as you have put it. Others sincerely wanted to convert the Native Americans to their religion. The Spanish missions were not just missions, but also military outposts. No credible historian doubts Spain wanted to colonize California and gain control of that region.

I have read Christopher Columbus journal entries and he was a wicked man.

Just to be clear, before I quote Columbus, I make no claim to the character of Columbus. As I read his journal entries myself, I have found passages that speak to his obsession of gold, and his terrible treatment of natives. But I also found other entries that suggest a different character. For example, when speaking about some natives on the island of Tortuga he wrote, “They are so affectionate and have so little greed and are in all ways so amenable that I assure your Highnesses that there is in my opinion no better people and no better land in the world. They love their neighbours as themselves and their way of speaking is the sweetest in the world, always gentle and smiling. Both men and women go naked as their mothers bore them; but your Highnesses must believe me when I say that their behavior to one another is very good and their king keeps marvellous state, yet with a certain kind of modesty that is a pleasure to behold, as is everything else here.” 1 Men who are wicked don’t usually hold modesty and affection in high esteem.

He also wrote on his first voyage, “As soon as the inhabitants saw us they ran away, leaving their houses. They hid their clothing and all that they had in the undergrowth. I allowed nothing to be taken, not even to the value of a pin.” 2 Other entries tell of plundering and looting.

On his second voyage, he wrote this about some natives on the island of Hispaniola. “These people raid the other islands and carry off all the women they can take, especially the young and beautiful, whom they keep as servants and concubines. They had carried off so many that in fifty houses we found no males and more than twenty of the captives were girls. These women say that they are treated with cruelty that seems incredible. The Caribs eat the male children that they have by them, and only bring up only the children of their own women; and as for the men they are able to capture, they bring those who are alive home to be slaughtered and eat those who are dead on the spot. They say that human flesh is so good that there is nothing like it in the world…They castrate the boys that they capture and use them as servants until they are men. Then, when they want to make a feast, they kill and eat them…Three of these boys fled to us, and all three had been castrated.” 3

I am not attempting to paint a negative picture of all natives that Columbus encountered, nor do I want to claim they were all affectionate and modest in their behavior. I am pointing out that all cultures have wicked men who abuse and use those around them. European explorers are no exception, and some of the native tribes they encountered were no better than the Nazis at the Concentration Camps.

I just do not understand the need to conform others…the native people were happy, intelligent, well spoken people…why the need to conquer and convert…? They did not have alcohol before the white man….Christopher Columbus even wrote in his journal, all they needed to pay the “savages” was a little drink.

Columbus may have been a wicked man, but the behavior of Christopher Columbus has no bearing on the truth of Christianity. His encountering and experiencing wicked natives who eat the babies of their captured women have no bearing on the value of natives as a whole, any more than the behavior of Columbus some how invalidating the goal of some explorers to convert natives to their religion.

We could go back and forth, pulling out journal entries that demonstrate how wicked Columbus was, or journal entries that show he was a kind and generous man, (and I don’t necessarily think he was), but what that has to do with Spaniards or Catholics is unclear to me. He was born in Italy and financed by Spain. Should those countries be held accountable for his treatment of natives?

How do we know they were all happy, intelligent, and well spoken? As you can see from one of Columbus’ journal entries, some were very unhappy because of how they were treated by other natives who were wicked. Other were kind, generous, and loving toward one another. Those who may suggest to you that the Europeans invaded and destroyed an idyllic Native American culture, or the native cultures in and around the Bahamas and Jamaica, who were all were blissfully living out their lives in peaceful harmony, are ill informed, or lying to you.

The need to conquer is inherent in man. Since before man’s ability to control fire, he has desired to control his environment. Centuries ago, that meant having more warriors with spears than the neighboring village. Now it is positions of authority, usually within a government entity, or having enough money to influence those in positions of authority.

You question the need to convert. If we can assume for a moment the desire to convert was completely altruistic and without selfish motives, then you need to look at why some of the Europeans wanted to convert the natives of the America’s. Obviously, it was because they saw a need to give the natives something they did not have. The Gospel. Some missionaries led the natives to the Good News by example, loving the newly discovered people as if they were their own children. Other missionaries were harsh and ignorant in their attempts to convert natives to Christianity.

Even Wikipedia, known for its liberal slant, says of the Spanish Missionaries. “The missionaries of California were by-and-large well-meaning, devoted men…[whose] attitudes toward the Indians ranged from genuine (if paternalistic) affection to wrathful disgust. They were ill-equipped—nor did most truly desire—to understand complex and radically different Native American customs.” 4

So why convert a people to Christianity if they are happy, intelligent, and well spoken? If someone asks that, it is obvious they don’t see a need for a savior, and are completely ignorant of the fallen nature of man. Paul made it quite clear in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our focus should be what is eternal.

If you were walking down the street and saw a burning house with a family inside, calmly eating dinner, would you try to warn them? Would you do all you could to convince them of the danger? Missionaries may not be perfect, but they are like the person trying to convince the family of the danger of their burning house. The rest of us, myself included, are much too relaxed about the plight of those without Christ in their life.

If you are not a Christian, then it is perfectly understandable why you don’t see a need to convert a people who are happy, intelligent, and well spoken. If you do consider yourself a Christian, then why would you even begin to question the need to convert?

I am saying all this because I have noticed an increased amount of judgement from Christians…

Is it wrong to judge? If so, then why are you judging Christians by saying they are increasing their amount of judgment of others? When I hear others tell me it is wrong to judge, I ask them, “You mean the way you are judging me?” So many people quote Matthew 7:1, but it is often misunderstood. Greg Koukl puts it this way, “A closer look at the facts of the context shows that Jesus did not condemn all judgments, only hypocritical ones – arrogant condemnations characterized by disdain and condescension. Not all judgments are of this sort, so not all judgments are condemned.” 5

We judge every day. We judge when to pull out onto the street from our driveway. We judge the first sip of coffee every morning, unless your name is Jordan Anderson. We judge how we look in the mirror, and how others look in the mirror. We judge the behavior of our children against the behavior of other children. We judge our pastors, our pastors’ wives, our youth leaders, worship leaders and their teams, and the driver at the stop light next to us. And if you are a member of ISIS, your judgment will determine who gets to keep their head, as opposed to forming an opinion.

Christians are allowed to judge, just as any atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, or Hindu is allowed to. If you are noticing an increased amount of judgment from Christians, I would venture a guess it is due to some personal beliefs on your part that no longer line up with the beliefs of family or friends who have a Christian world view. A view that may have been yours at one time.

I have noticed there is a “No Discussion” policy on so many of Christianity’s fundamental values. Why? If Christianity can pull apart every faith, religion, political party, social group they disagree with…why can’t the later do the same?

I have not noticed that, and as a Christian I welcome those kinds of discussions. I don’t see that Christians are any more active at pulling apart other faiths, religions, political parties or social groups than members of other religions. Nor have I met any Christians who cut off the heads of people who don’t convert to Christianity.

If you think I am making light of the Muslim terrorists, I’m not. I am just pointing out what should be obvious. Paul also said in Ephesians 5:11 that we should unmask ideas that are dark in nature, and expose them to the light, so thoughtful questions, reasoned responses to other religions or political beliefs is sensible. John Lennox wrote in God’s Undertaker, “…intelligent people are entitled to bleat when they do not find the ideas put to them satisfactory.” 6

I think Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” You had some questions in your post. I hope I have answered them and have given you something to think about. Go beyond what others are saying about Christianity and ask more thoughtful questions of some Christians you respect. Maybe ask a pastor, or those who are attending Church on a regular basis, reading Scripture on a regular basis, praying on a regular basis, and not saying they are a Christian by name only, but living it. I think you will find they will be happy to discuss Christian fundamental values and answer questions you may have.

Sources:
1. Trans. Cohen, J.M. Christopher Columbus The Four Voyages. London: Penguin Books, 1969. Print.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Wikipedia contributors. “Spanish missions in California.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
5. Koukl, Gregory. Tactics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. Print
6. Lennox, John. God’s Undertaker. Oxford: Lion Books, 2009. Print

 

 

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Wicked Columbus, and Judgemental Christians by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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