I was talking to a friend about Akrypti’s article “A Comment on Asian Christians earlier this evening.
“I’m surprised that all of the comments so far are supportive of the article. I expected a strong backlash.”
“Why?” asked my friend. “What she says is entirely true. It is an utter fact that Christianity has been a tool of Western imperialism. Just look at any history book.”
I nodded. “True enough. I guess I figured there’d be at least one Asian Christian reading that article and writing a counter-argument.”
“This is probably un-PC to say, but one ironic example of this is the incident with the Korean Christian missionaries in Afghanistan. That was where a group of them were taken hostage by the Taliban. The Taliban has since agreed to release the hostages, but have killed two of them already.”
My friend sat back in his seat and shook his head. He continued, “This is an ironic case because here you have an imperialistic religion that has so successfully penetrated a culture that it’s resulted in that culture sending out missionaries of its own. And into an openly hostile environment, no less.
“But that’s what Christian imperialism isthe extension of its beliefs and dominance, sometimes through force, and sometimes through more subtle methods like evangelism. In the case of these Korean missionaries, they unfortunately and tragically encountered a group who didn’t take kindly to their evangelism: the Taliban.”
After the conversation, I went online to research this incident. So far, two of the twenty-three hostages have been released. And like my friend said, two have been executed. The Taliban and South Korean negotiations have recently reached a deal to release the rest of the hostages.
According to the above link, the South Koreans were not there for evangelism; instead, “the group of volunteers was only offering free medical services to poor Afghans.”
Also, “South Korea is currently the world’s second largest missionary sending nation after the United States.”
I don’t mean to make light of this incident. My heart goes out to the hostages; I can’t even begin to imagine what they’ve been through and what they’ve sacrificed. But as an example of Christian imperialism, I can see my friend’s point.
What do you think?