John Chau, an adventurer and Christian missionary, was killed by members of an isolated tribe who he wished to convert to Christianity.
“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people,” John had written just days before he died. He had attempted preaching to the tribe but they shot him with an arrow, forcing him to withdraw.
A few days later, armed with fish, small gifts and his good news, John returned to the Sentinelese tribe, only to get killed.
The Bible, as any Christian knows, commands evangelism. So it isn’t completely ridiculous that he visited. But should he have?
There have been arguments in favor of his visit: The tribe is a primitive one, his visit could have brought modernity to them, the wonders of daily living. But his journal doesn’t suggest he was there to do anything but preach something he wholly believed was true. Besides, if contentment and happiness really are the secret to a good life, of what use are the tools of modern living when people in cities still are dissatisfied and unhappy.
The arguments against him are a lot harsher. They say he is just like the colonizers, that he was there to wipe out their existing culture. But, again, the rebuttal for this remains the same: there is no evidence that suggests he was there to do anything but preach something he wholly believed was true. Are we really going to equate colonization, a process of establishing control and ownership by large and powerful governments, to the genuine however, misplaced intentions of a lone man?
What do you think though? Should John Chau have let the Sentinelese tribe be? Was he right to attempt to reach them? Is this a general message to people who evangelize in public transport? Or even people who show up at our doorstep, uninvited. Share your views in the comment section.
Photo Credit: johnachau