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Christian and Poor Countries

There is a popular notion among Christian missionaries that Christianity is a panacea for all the ills of the world, that it alone held the solution to all human problems, and therefore all should get converted to Christianity.  

Here are some examples that will help explode this notion:

In Africa, behind the missionaries came the European mining prospectors, merchants, and soldiers, whose mission - innocently described by Britain's Queen Victoria as "to protect the poor natives and advance civilization" was to plunder the continent for their own economic benefit

Christian Missionary-explorer, David Livingstone (1813 - 1873) put great emphasis on the commercial as well as the spiritual challenge of Africa. His message delivered to packed audiences in lecture hall throughout Britain, his gospel message was distinctly worldly: Missionary work in Africa could succeed only if it marched hand in hand with commercial enterprise. Together, he argued, Christianity and commerce produced civilization. By the end of the century, more than 90 % of the continent had been claimed by the imperial powers of Europe.  The whole African continent had become an exclusive poker game in which no player dared leave the table for fear that another might walk off with the pot. 

The first "scramble for Africa" began when Henry Stanley claimed the Congo River Valley for Belgium. France then invaded Algeria and built the Suez Canal. Britain invaded Egypt in order to have control of the canal, which was crucial to their shipping routes. Britain and Egypt then took control of Sudan. France began to colonize Tunisia and Morocco. Italy took Libya. Britain fought a war with and defeated the Boers in order to gain control of the resource rich Southern Africa. Cecil Rhodes became rich from the Kimberly diamond fields, which produced 90% of the world's diamonds at the time. By the early 1900's most of Africa was taken by European colonists.

"A sun of disaster has risen in the West," wrote an African poet. "The Christian calamity has come upon us like a dust cloud."

(source: Colonial Overlords: Time Frame Ad 1850-1900  - Time-Life Books.The Scramble for Africa ASIN 0809464667 p. 75 -77 and New Scramble for Africa - By Abdullah Dawood  Al-Jazeerah, July 21, 2005).

In South America - Brazil is said to be the largest Roman Catholic country in the world. In 1996 about 76 percent of the population, or about 122 million people, declared Roman Catholicism as their religion. A third of Brazilians live on $1. One-third of Brazil's population, or some 58 million people, live on less than a dollar a day, a report says. The "Map of Hunger" report, by the local Getulio Vargas Foundation, says poverty has increased greatly in cities over the past decade.

(source: Poverty in Brazil - BBCnews.com).  Refer to Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress - By Howard Zinn

Poverty in Christian dominated Peru

Christianity is the dominant religion of Peru. Roman Catholics are the major tradition, with 88.8% of the population . Currently 54% of Peruvian citizens live below the poverty line.

(source: Poverty in Christian dominated Peru - BBC and http://www.strategicnetwork.org/index.php?loc=ct&ct=PER).


Ethiopia,
the world's oldest Christian country, adhering to Christianity for more than a thousand years, is also the poorest country in the world. More than a thousand years of Christianity did not mitigate the awful poverty of its people and religion did not help raise their standard of living. Just a decade ago millions perished due to famine. The citizens of Ethiopia continue to remain ill-fed, ill-clothed and illiterate, steeped in poverty and disease. War and poverty still remain the dominant realities in Africa.

Christianity is understood in Africa to have come hand-in-hand with colonialism. Some missionaries ignored the message of God and grabbed resources including land from the people. Later, as black consciousness grew and African nationalists took arms against colonialists, some church leaders continued to support colonial rule.  

"When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible." 

Jomo Kenyatta 
(1897?-1978), first prime minister (1963-1964) and then first president (1964-1978) of Kenya. Kenyatta was Kenya's founding father, a nationalist who led the East African nation to independence from Britain in 1963.He changed the history of Kenya by freeing the African majority from the white-settler minority rule; he gave the Africans back their land and created a untied Kenya. 

In his analysis of the role of Christianity in southern Africa in a formal address to the WCC assembly late last, President Robert Mugabe said that churches had played midwife to colonialism, "succumbing or voluntarily surrendering God to the racism of colonial structures."

As Joshua Nkomo, now vice president of Zimbabwe, noted three decades ago when he was addressing a rally in the then Rhodesia:

"The Christian churches have failed. Ministers have preached to people that they are the same in the eyes of God, at the same time have supported a social system that divides these people into groups of unequals.

Zambia which according to CIA fact book has 50-75% Christians, yet millions of Zambians living on less than $2 a day.

(source: Zambia - Charity wipes out a nation's industry - hindu.com). Refer to Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress - By Howard Zinn and Refer to Take a look at Slavery - godisimaginary.com.

Philippines, named after King Philip of Spain, was another very old pre-dominantly Christian country, is no better in terms of social uplift. 

The Philippines, is perhaps the most staunch Christian (
today 83% of Philippinos are Christians) nation of Asia, remains among the most backward. Conversion to Christianity did not raise the country economically. Religion was imposed on the people by the Conquistadors who imposed the Catholic faith against the will of the Ilocanos in the pretext to grab their land and gold. The cross came in the form of sword.

" In the 16th century, friars (priests) marched with the soldiers (of Spain) and soon accomplished the nominal conversion to Roman Catholicism of all the natives. Native religion was vigorously suppressed." Military conquest by Christians won't happen today, but the Philippines provide an important economic message. Despite of centuries of Christian rule, they are poor. So are the Christian countries of Central and South America, and so too would likely be a Christian India -  contrary to the impression missionaries tend to create."  

(source: Hinduism Today June 1999). For more on conquest of Philippines refer to chapter on Glimpses XV.

Christianity breeds poverty?

Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa's next in command has remarked:

" The poor should remain poor ... Without them, we will lose our jobs."

(source: Famous quotes on Christianity - crusadewatch.org).  For more refer to chapter on Conversion Refer to Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress - By Howard Zinn and Refer to Take a look at Slavery - godisimaginary.com. Watch Sex crimes and the Vatican - videogoogle.com.  Refer to Amen - an autobiography of a nun and Mote and the beam - By Sandhya Jain.  Refer to Poverty in USA

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There is a popular notion among Christian missionaries that Christianity is a panacea for all the ills of the world, that it alone held the solution to all human problems, and therefore all should get converted to Christianity.  

There appears to be a clear correlation between Christian population and the level of poverty of a nation. It looks like that the Christianity is keeping the people poor in the developing world. It can be said that the higher the percentage of Christians, higher is the percentage of the population below poverty line. An army of priests, nuns and other religious personnel of Christianity are literally have to be fed by the working class. Following list gives the name of the nation, its Christian population and the percentage of population below the poverty line.

Countries Christians % Population below poverty line
Bolivia Christians 100 % Population below poverty line: 64%
Honduras Christians 100% Population below poverty line: 53%
Panama Christians 100% Population below poverty line: 37%
Venezuela Christians 98% Population below poverty line: 47%
Haiti Christians 96% Population below poverty line: 80%
Ecuador Christians 95% Population below poverty line: 45%
Mexico Christians 95% Population below poverty line: 40%
Argentina Christians 94% Population below poverty line: 44.3%
Rwanda Christians 93.5% Population below poverty line: 60%
East Timor Christians 93% Population below poverty line: 42%
Philippines Christians 92.5% Population below poverty line: 40%
Guatemala Christians 90% Population below poverty line: 75%
Namibia Christians 90% Population below poverty line: 50%
Columbia Christians 90% Population below poverty line: 55%
El Salvador Christians 83% Population below poverty line: 36.1%
Peru Christians 83% Population below poverty line: 54%
South Africa Christians 79.7% Population below poverty line: 50%
Zambia Christians 75% Population below poverty line: 86%
Zimbabwe Christians 75% Population below poverty line: 70%
Botswana Christian 71.6% Population below poverty line: 47%
Burundi Christian 67% Population below poverty line: 68%

Poverty level from CIA World Fact book, 28 July 2005. For USA the population below poverty line is 12% , but for African Americans this figure rises to around 26% and for Hispanics it is around 25.6%. One can compare these figures with Population below poverty line for India which is just 25% and the christian population is just 2.3%. 

In USA Christian belts are the poorest. Non-Christian & Liberal belts are the prosperous. EVen in a given race ex: (Whites) Fundamentalist Christian belts have the lowest education levels whereas the Liberals and non-Christians have the highest.

(source: Christianity breeds poverty? - haindavakeralam.org). Also refer to Christianity and Poverty: correlation or causation? - By S Menon. Watch Sex crimes and the Vatican - videogoogle.com.

Refer to Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress - By Howard Zinn and Refer to Take a look at Slavery - godisimaginary.com.

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Swami Vivekanada responded to a concerted attack on Hinduism by Christian Missionaries:

"We who had come from the east have sat here day after day and have been told in a patronizing way that we ought to accept Christianity because Christian nations are the most prosperous. We look about us and we see England the most prosperous Christian nation in the world, with her foot upon the neck of 250,000,000 Asiatics. We look back into history and see that the prosperity of Christian Europe begin with Spain. Spain's prosperity began with the invasion of Mexico. Christianity wins its prosperity by cutting the throats of its fellow men. At such a price the Hindoo will not have prosperity."

"When someone suggested to him that Christianity was a saving power, he opened his great dark eyes upon him and said: "If Christianity is a saving power in itself, why has it not saved the Ethiopians, the Abyssinians?" 

(source: Hinduism for Our Times - By Arvind Sharma Oxford Univ Pr  June 1996 ISBN 0195637496 p. 72-73). 

 

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