Understanding Local Religion
- Ideas from KA, 2003
interview with Professor F:
- Visit the local worship sites
- As you get to know people, ask them about their religion
- Read books about the religion
- Never put down the native religion, only present a positive message of Jesus
From Video EE-taow
- Find aspects of the local religion that will help you explain Christianity. Example – The Mouk tribe really began to understand Christ when the missionary compared Jesus to the lamb God provided when Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac.
- The Mouk tribe had lived in fear until they heard about Jesus.
- The missionary to the Ee-taow people did not criticize the people’s spirit religion. He only in a positive way talked about Jesus.
- Read a lot of books about the local religion. Talk with the people about what they believe (Interview with Becky O)
- Sometimes the best way to learn is to observe (interview with Dr. C)
- In order to understand the people, you need to understand their religion. This is best done through observing and talking with the people. When you share about Christianity, ask them to share about their religion as well (interview with SL)
- In Liberia, to be Vai is to be Muslim. It is more of a tradition than a chosen religion. Yet, it is different than traditional Islam. It’s more “folk Islam.” The Vai people do not know Arabic very well. We learned about Islam from the people and from reading articles. David would go to mosque and sit with the men as they said their prayers. He participated in other Muslim activities as well. This was allowed with the Vai people, yet it would not be allowed with all forms of Islam. It is important to network with the people to find out what is appropriate and what is not. (interview with D’s)
Knowing the local religion is the most important knowledge one can have when talking about God to that specific culture/religion. The speakers expressed that without knowing the religion bridges cannot be built and one cannot make connections on a personal/friendship level. The missionary must know the perspective of the others to be able to build the relationship and finally then one can share what Christ means to themselves. NM
go to overseas work page