So one of my students today said that another foreign teacher has been trying to get him to visit the teacher's home for "Bible study." This sort of irks me. Trying to convert Chinese is illegal in China, and although it has been winked at recently, it can still have serious consequences. Is it fair for Christians to come to China and pretend to "teach" while secretly trying to illegally convert their students? Doesn't that increase the chances that China will have a problem with all foreigners, or will make some laws stricter, like visa laws?
And, if so, does that give us the right to talk to these deceptive missionaries about what they are doing?
These are just questions: I do not know the answers, but thought maybe a civil discussion might help. Thank you.
I've met Protestant ones who approached me and they didn't force it on me at all. They simply asked to see if there was a possibility, and never talked about it again. The kind of foreigner that caused more worries were those who came as students and illegally made money by tutoring languages.
And I never hear people criticising Muslim missionaries who try to convert other people. That would be a much more delicate topic to say negative things about. Christians are a much more trouble-free target.
yankee, I guess my problem is that they are deceptive: they pretend to be interested in teaching English, but they subtly work the Bible into their lessons, and end up trying to convert all their students. Do Muslims do that?
Weren't foreign students a lot more deceptive? They enrolled as students and then illegally earned tutoring money.
It's no more harmful to foreigners' image than rowdy drinking at sal's, pissing in DJ booths at Kundu or shouting abuse at Chinese.
LOL, that's funny you mention foreign students.
There was something in the news in the USA and Europe a couple years ago about a ton of corporate espionage and much more happening. They claimed, and even kicked some students out of what I heard who were "interning" at various companies. Apparently some were bringing back / sending back information to their true employers back home (mostly in Asian countries). That made a lot of companies tighten their application process and screenings a lot and restrict a lot of access to anything and everything that could be used by other companies.
yankee, yes, that is also deceptive. I am focusing on missionaries in this thread, but yes, I agree with you.
bluppfisk, I wholeheartedly agree. However, I wanted to specifically discuss missionary work in this thread.
many of them give free english corners and then chinese kids wonder why not everyone else is so generous with their time. obviously totally oblivious to the proverb "there's no free lunch."
I just met a chinese guy recently. He starting waxing philosophical about how many chinese people are unhappy with their lives and only worship money,only to find that it doesn't bring happiness. And then he proceeded to state enviously that westerners have the Bible.
Of course if one is religious it may pop up in a conversation or if teaching subjects like sociology, American studies, History, Religion, Politics and Public Policy.
I think there is a thin line they should not cross and should be especially considerate of free will.
Inviting students who are interested, I think is fine if it's already part of their class. Don't teach PE and ask students if they feel like reading your book after class.
Teaching your religion without authorization / informing students prior is definitely wrong. It could even spark heated arguments and fights. (I remember very well pulling an old lady off a guy as she was trying to bash his head in with a beer glass, simply because he laughed at her preaching in a pub full of drunk people. At which point she started to curse everyone like an old witch).
Think of it like this: when someone wants to go to Church he'll go in himself. You don't have to drag him through the gate or put the Church over his head.
Unfortunately "free will" is very subjective in many people (especially hardened or extremists' minds). I wouldn't be surprised if people who traveled in Pakistan would have been harassed to enter or learn once they raise the topic of religion. A simple question out of interest there can put you in a true predicament.
Another thing that I think should be kept in mind is: level of interest / like-mindedness. Someone might already have questions, but I think they should all be addressed at school. Not at someone's home. If after a while someone wants to really focus on it and learn it, then why not? Better to ask your teacher in my opinion as he can probably answer your questions better.
My concern always is: what's the missionary's background. How fanatic is he/she. Some are like wolves in sheep clothes, others are awesome teachers and truly only focus on the language.