Written by Sophan Seng
Tuesday, 09 September 2008
Your article “Proselytising amid poverty” (September 3) explicitly detailed the truth happening among Christian missionaries in Cambodia. Christian missionaries have been academically recognised as the coordinators of colonies.
Cambodia was first known to the world significantly by a Portugal priest San Antonio, who briefly described the beautiful cultural temples and peaceful people of Cambodia. In his memo written in 1604, regarded as a short essay reflecting the reality in Cambodia, he mentioned the greatness of the Angkor Wat ruins and speculated they were so amazing they were built by Roman architects.
Later in 1678, a French priest Chevre called Angkor Wat “Onco” for the first time, by which he meant that it was the sacred sanctuary of the nation to worship, like Roman Catholics worship Saint Peter’s Church in Rome.
We can well perceive the intent of those Christian missionaries.
During the Dark Ages of Europe, Catholics didn’t centralise their power solely in Europe, but also sent thousands of their well-trained missionaries to countries outside Europe with the intent of trying to “civilise” them.
Strangely, they civilised them in the name of their Lord. Besides trying to engage people in conversions about God, those missionaries looked for other opportunities such as natural resources, treasure and opening the door for total colonisation.
This tactic of planting Christian adherents around the world was politically oriented, and the Christian religion has tremendously increased its adherents in all those colonised countries.
Not only did they fully engage themselves in this religious war called a crusade, Christianity also affiliated itself with the problems of World War I and World War II.
Thomas Hobbes, as well as other scholars, were born to anti-Christianity. Hobbes insistently denied the existence of the kind of “state of nature” which Christians used to legitimise their power at that time through the Churches, the stories of the Creator or the tales of the Lord. Hobbes significantly shed light for the age of Enlightenment, which later welcomed the idea of liberal democracy, social contract and no authoritarianism influenced by the Church’s idea of the State of Nature.
Christianity has extensively adapted its strategies to limit the changes of the world with the intent of keeping the status quo, of continuing to spread the Christian doctrine as well as civilising others. In the modern age of capitalism, many giant investments are owned by Christian churches such as schools, hospitals and other enterprises. The Catholic Church is considered the largest group to be running both religious and material investments in the modern world. Proselytising has certainly existed from the Dark Ages to the present moment. In the past, Christianity used military and political power to expand its doctrine, but in the present beside proselytising, what else do you think they are going to use?
Ph.D student in political science
University of Hawaii at Manoa