My church once had as a guest speaker a missionary to Papua New Guinea. I’ll start by saying that none of what I am about to say is intended to suggest that we in any way cease or withdraw from foreign missions. Rather, it is to say that we are neglecting something else – which will in turn affect foreign missions…someday.
The missionaries had been dealing with this people group for quite some time now and had much success among them. Their center of operation was a small settlement and they had a congregation of about 45 people.
A blog entry for these missionaries reports that they’ve been on a speaking tour lately. They also report that members of their people group had been sent to medical seminars which would teach them some basic principles of hygiene that would save lives and health for the group in the long term.
All great and as it should be. But I have a question.
I know of many very bad YouTube videos by atheists, and many of them get hundreds of thousands of views. They are also filled with comments like these, from one such video that claimed that Jesus was just a copy of the pagan god Mithra, which has over 162,000 views as of this date:
Thank you for this video. This is just another step for me if finding a truth. I’ve been studying the Bible nor a while now and it’s own internal flaws have made it an abomination to me. If their is a God out there, the only way I can show him my love to to search for him. 🙂
How many of those 162,000 people – so far – also think that this awful piece of misinformation is helping them “find a truth”?
More to the point, why is it that we’re allotting so many resources to the evangelization and support of a congregation of 45 overseas , and doing nothing to inform and assist this invisible people group of 162,000 (and growing)?
Maybe it IS because they are invisible. And, because it is so much more gratifying to send aid to people overseas who send back pictures and what we call personal testimonies. But who will be sending missionaries to those people overseas when the people over here have all deconverted, or become more firm in deconversion – many thanks to nonsense like that video?
Not long ago, the North American Mission Board was laying people off – excuse me: I mean, giving them early retirement options — who worked in apologetics. Budget cuts were at the heart of that. Well, they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face. They should be increasing the budget for home missions, and in particular, for countering nonsense like that video. And mind you, it wouldn’t cost anything near as much as supplying an overseas people group with all these benefits. One or two people could be set to work countering some of the leading YouTube anti-Christians for a mere pittance, relatively speaking.
Is that asking too much to make sure that in 30 years, someone is still manning the helm?
When it comes to church people addicted to high drama rather than solid information, it probably is.