Saturday, December 16, 2017

Is Japan the missionaries' graveyard?

During my years in the cult in Japan, I spent the required hours out "witnessing," which is what we called distributing TFI produced publications, and audio and audio-visual materials. In its simplest, it consisted of handing a cartoonish poster to someone and requesting a donation. The pricier materials had an inflated "suggested donation." 

Over the course of doing this, in stark contrast to my experience in Christian countries, I was often met with blank, dubious faces. 

"What is your job?" I remember being asked. 

"I'm a full-time volunteer," I 
would try to explain in my fragmented Japanese 

"How can you do that? What about your children? How do you provide for them?" The incredulity was palpable. 

To answer the standard cult belief, "God supplies our needs," would sound like a crazy person. I would opt for, "People give us donations to support our work."

They would leave the question, "Why would anyone give you money when you could just get a job?" unspoken, yet hanging in the air as they walked on. 

As the years passed and I eventually learned the language, I came to know devout Buddhists. If what I believed was true, these good, kind, sincere people were going to burn in hell if they didn't accept Jesus. Were they the benighted heathen that I had come to save?

Something was inherently arrogant about the exclusiveness of Christianity. To the fanatical TFI member, these lost "Systemite" (members of society at large, as opposed to the "dropped out" cult members) servants of materialism were inferior to them, the "elite army of the Lord."

It was so obviously untrue. 

Japan became my personal missionary's graveyard.

To quote Christopher Hitchens, "...religion teaches people to be extremely self-centered and conceited. It assures them that god cares for them individually, and it claims that the cosmos was created with them specifically in mind. This explains the supercilious expression on the faces of those who practice religion ostentatiously: pray excuse my modesty and humility but I happen to be busy on an errand for god.” God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

1 comment:

  1. Christopher Hitchens quote mirrors why after I left TF and ditched religion, I cannot celebrate Christmas. Instead, I mark the day of the winter marvelling at the FACT that the earths' tilt reaches a maximum and starts to swing the other way. Interestingly when I share this or google solstice, I find mainly religious/pagan connotations rather than the marvels of nature/geography/science/maths of the phenomenon. No delusions there! That said wish you a happy new year!