Monday, September 18, 2006

Respect and disrespect for religious views

From Wendy
Though I try hard, sometimes I find it hard to show respect for some religious groups. Now I am polite about Hindu temples such as the Tabia temple west of Labasa shown here, Muslim mosques, and most Christian churches in Fiji, but I do find it difficult to be polite about the methods of some fundamentalist groups. Judgmental attitudes are not okay. Labasa is a real playing field for all kinds of religions. Are the people gullible or are they in turn taking advantage of the visitors? One American group, the Baptist Ledge church has set up in Labasa. I noticed in the missionary’s diary how he goes into Methodist villages, even Naseakula. Hmm.

He wrote ‘I pray that it encouraged the people of Labasa Bible Church, a small but faithful church that has faced persecution from tribal witchcraft, Islam, Hinduism, and liberal Methodism.’

Wow! Liberal Methodism in Fiji! That’s a new one on me. Well, I’m liberal so is he talkin’ about me!

Another quote from the missionary’s diary when he visited the Hindu temple near Matailabasa. This is his view, not mine!

‘We then went to visit a local Hindu temple known as "The Snake Temple." It is a temple built around a giant rock that juts up out of the ground and looks somewhat like a coiled cobra. The locals believe the rock is "growing" and thus in some way responding to the prayers of the people. (Which it isn't according to the local Christians, but even if it was jutting more, like a lot that accomplishes and helps!) Families paraded around the rock burning incense and offering fruit and milk to the rock. As they made their offerings and deposited their money in a box they rang a bell to get the attention of the gods to make sure they would notice their offering. Can't have any god falling asleep while making your offering! How sad that they serve gods of bondage, who are not real gods at all. Two different gentlemen approached us when leaving the temple and wanted to talk to us and thanked us for coming to visit their "god." We talked with them about the One True God who made everything and done not seek to be appeased with the works of our hands. One shared how he comes regularly and prays to the rock and gets what he wants. He believes the rock hears and answers. I didn't sense the Spirit's leading to pull a prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on him, but we know who would win and who the True Living God is. Tomorrow I will be teaching Romans 1 and how people have exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worship the creation rather than the Creator, thus experiencing the rightful wrath of God. ‘

Hmmm. The photo here is taken from flickr from Russdogg who described the Growing Rock Temple as awesome!
Unfortunately some temples are broken into, money and items stolen or damaged. This kind of disrespect is very unpleasant indeed. Three breakins in the past week occurred in the Suva area. Why? Searching for money perhaps, but an appalling lack of respect.


tooners said...

this is an interesting story. they have probs w/ ppl stealing stuff at mosques here. i can't imagine going to worship but picking up someone's belongings on the way out. but many believe that if you go to hajj then all of your sins are washed away. many ppl do this yearly. personally, i don't agree w/ it.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

You were quick to comment! I had to reverse the pics - I had them in the wrong order.
I think that in Fiji they need a kind of Neighbourhood Watch, not just to get police to walk around and maybe check the temples. Decent people ought to look out for the opportunists. It's young guys usually.
About respect - I've had to take more care lately as I've joined an Interfaith women's group so I pull up sometimes and keep silent when I might want to tell a funny story about the Mormons who were given marijuana cookies and rode off gleefully on their bikes! Happened in Queensland. See, I can't resist being disrespectful to them can I!

Anonymous said...

If you Christians want to pray to the one true god then pray to God only not to Jesus. And the only TRUE RELIGION that believes in the one true god is Islam.And muslims revere Jesus as well if u did not know that but as a prophet not as god

aabegs cabalde said...

It is likely that more than one felt secretly relieved to see the pope, it's what others believe in.

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