Thursday, January 08, 2009

When a culture overcomes a visitor

I was reading my Powell's newsletter and found this fascinating essay by a former missionary in the Amazon. In it he speaks about his experiences as a linguist and Christian, and how he lost his belief in Christianity.
When I used to teach international students in an intensive program we would do a lot of cultural awareness activities. I was interested in how some students could be immersed in a new culture but not influenced by it, and how other students would be completely knocked off their foundation. It sounds like the latter happened to this guy.


Beth said...

Interesting article. I wonder why/how the Pirahas got the idea that accepting Jesus meant they had "to live like Americans"? 'Cause--no.

Lomagirl said...

Some religions do cause a cultural conversion as well, but Christianity isn't set up that way (though some people- missionaries sometimes included- think it is.)
I'm intrigued by why he felt the Piraha have no need for God and were complete as they are.