Monday, September 18, 2006
Respect and disrespect for religious views
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.