This article arose out of my observation of a spike in missionary activities in my home town. This includes heavily funded Christian missionary preachers, faith healers, and charlatans. Within a span of just a few years, more than 10 Christian churches have been setup within in a stretch of just 4 km. I found this to be not just limited to my home town, but the likes of which are happening across my home state. What I discovered was stuff you don’t find in your regular news media.
As a warning: if you are religious, then before reading any further, please read Disclaimer.
The 10/40 Window
The 10/40 Window is a wide belt of countries that fundamentalist Christians see as “unfinished business” (see Wikipedia and links to Christian missionary sites below for more details). These are countries which failed to be Christianized despite several centuries of missionary work. As of this year, 2007, there are 100,000 missionaries active in the 10/40 window. Given their business model (resembling a pyramid scheme: every one church is expected to spawn at least 2-3 new churches in surrounding districts), their growth and spread is exponential – like a virus multiplying unchecked, amounting to over ten thousand new churches in just the past two decades.
Before examining their agenda, let’s define who these fundamentalist Christians are. Let’s start by examining the Christian denominations in the USA (as almost all of the fundamentalist Christian denominations have their bases in the USA): 38% Catholic, 25% Baptist, 11% Methodist, 7% Lutheran, 4% Presbyterian, 3% Pentecostal, 3% Episcopalian, and the rest under 1-2% each.
Of these, the relatively tolerant (and less missionary) Christians are: Unitarians, Quakers, Eastern Orthodox, most Episcopalians, some Catholics in the USA, some Presbyterians, some Mormons. Of these, the only denomination that is pluralistic (i.e. go beyond just secularism and tolerance) are Unitarians.
Those that are fundamentalist, with very aggressive missionary policies are: Baptists, Adventists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Jehovah’s Witnesses, some Methodists, and most Catholics outside the USA (like in South America). In the USA these are primarily distributed within and around the “Bible Belt” (the large red area in the map below; almost looks like a spreading virus; not to mention the virus has made a jump across the globe to Asia, where it is growing at an alarming rate compared with in the USA, where it has been pretty much “contained” within the Bible Belt):
Missionaries are multi-billion dollar industries with enormous sophistication, in a rat-race with each other (and even a more aggressive rat-race within the different denominations within each). See list of Christian missionary websites below to get an idea of the level sophistication, funding, and scale of aggression they have in store for the 10/40 belt.
Global Christian missionary funding is estimated to be around $177 billion. Saudi Arabia is estimated to spend $70 billion for its aggressive missionary breed of Islam (see the PBS special documentary on Wahhabism).
The biggest target of Christian/Islamic missionaries are the more unsuspecting and open cultures: Hindus and Buddhists across Asia, and indigenous cultures in Africa. If Christian missionaries want to do charitable work, they can do so, but should cease any form of cultural terrorism: forced conversion (conversion based on extortion or coercion — where peoples faiths and spiritual traditions are bought out using money).
Christian missionaries operate under the paradigm of considering their targets as “fields”. If you want to plant something new in a field (like Christianity) what do you do? You first remove the existing vegetation which may have grown there natively for thousands of years (i.e. the Hindu culture). When the field has been stripped of its native vegetation (the native culture uprooted, weakened, and ready to be converted), it is ready to be “harvested“. This is a Christian term for “ready to be converted” that most Christian missionaries are very familiar with.
These aggressive tactics used in preparation for harvesting amounts to cultural terrorism: intimidation, coercion, and even genocide of indigenous cultures. The local missionaries may seem small, but being an extension of multi-billion dollar business with enormous sophistication in planning, marketing, strategy, unified vision, clear objectives, and cash flow (from 2,000 years of experience, sharpening their swords, on converting entire continents, not just as missionaries, but as business analysts and strategic thinkers).
Those converted are even more zealous in evangelizing and even more aggressively target the native people, since they are driven by an expansionist agenda, which is driven by a business model similar to that of a pyramid scheme that needs to meet its quota of conversion and expansion, to be rewarded by more funding. It becomes a toxic but well controlled mixture of churches, money laundering, mafia, and politics.
They pose a threat to the stability of nation (and hence should be considered a national security risk) as the missionary converts place their loyalty to the Church (a foreign power) first. They can influence political decisions of a country in the favor of the masters sitting abroad, the in favor of the West. This the new face of colonialism.
This is the reason why China in 2008 expelled over 100 missionaries in one sweep, over a period of few months (see Missionary Effect).
The Media and Leftists
Given that Christians hold a significant stake in almost all major media, any attempt to stop missionary activity, or point out cultural terrorism, or even for a Hindu to rightfully claim what is theirs (let alone say it is “Hindu”, even in a country where 80% population is Hindu), the media will blast them as “Hindu fundamentalists” or “Hindutva”, etc.
If Hindus are fundamentalist about anything, it is in protecting the freedom of expression of their faiths and traditions. The Hindu says, if you are an Indian, you have the freedom to practice whatever faith you want, Hindus could care less about what faith you practice (which is why India has thousands of faiths), but you must reciprocate and grant that very freedom to others instead of trying to suppress it in the name of your fundamentalist belief system (i.e. religion).
The Christian agenda (aligned with Western corporate interests) and its missionary activities are heavily protected and shielded by the media. In Christian terminology, they are the “shepherds“, protecting fellow Christian missionaries (and their co-opted leftists, feminists, environmentalists, animal rights, Dalits, etc…) to carry on with their work. This is again another Christian term that most Christian missionaries are very familiar with.
Religionization and Polarization
India has several thousand faiths and spiritual traditions. With the exception of fundamentalist religions, for centuries Hindus have celebrated and continue to celebrate each others differences creating enormous synergy: go to each others temples, celebrate festivals together, participate in each others spiritual plays, enjoy each others spiritual literature (just as you would read any other book in the bookstore, with no inhibition whatsoever, but with desire), and use each others philosophies with complete fluidity (for those who are more spiritually inclined).
As knee jerk reaction to countering the encroaching fundamentalist/intolerant/non-pluralist religions, is that the indigenous spiritual traditions and faiths which were fluid, become less fluid, more rigid, and religionized. Next the society is no longer heterogeneous or pluralistic, and instead becomes polarized, like droplets of different colors separating out of a solution into different corners.
One sees this pattern of polarization across the globe wherever Christian missionaries have meddled. Often times resulting in centuries of internal conflict on a scale that never existed before.