In spite of the facts to the contrary, the favorable treatment of indigenous religions, the dishonest cover-up of the evil inherent in their societies, and the libelous opposition to Christianity persist. The Bible is carefully examined by critics in an attempt to find any flaw; and it has withstood that test, as we document in In Defense of the Faith. When it comes to native/nature religions, however, any myth will do, no matter how absurd. Truth and verifiability are irrelevant. That a religion of cultural practice is indigenous answers all questions. Bill Moyers’ television series have done much to promote this propaganda and anti-Christian bias. He allowed Joseph Campbell to pitch the lie that our salvation comes from returning to nature, and to misrepresent Christianity.
Some Christian missionaries have mistakenly identified Christianity with their own Western way of life and have imposed that lifestyle upon other cultures. On the other hand, paganism has brought fear and death, while true Christianity has brought freedom and life. A missionary to the Philippines writes:
“Prior to our coming to these people they…were animistic, and the spirits that they worshiped had warned them that they were never to allow any other religion to come into their area. If they did, their children would die, crops fail, and other tribal people would war against them and overcome them.
“Their [religion]…involved the worship of trees, rocks, and their dead ancestors, which acted as mediators between the living and the spirits that ruled over them. Needless to say, they lived in great darkness and continually tried to maintain their relationship with the spirits through offering blood sacrifices, which included chickens, pigs, and the ultimate sacrifice for the whole village was human sacrifice…their own children.
“Praise God, much has changed for the Higaonon people since the Lord opened a door…for us to minister His Word to these people…. When the time came that we understood their language well enough we began to teach them from God’s Word, beginning in Genesis…[and] it was exciting to see the people realize their sinfulness and their inability to deal with their own sin….
“Over the next few days and weeks most of the people…told us that they understood…that Jesus died for their sin and they were trusting in His blood for their salvation…. The first believers have a vision to reach all of the Higaonon people and have sent out their own…missionaries and have established believers in seven other villages….
In Natural History, Shoefoot (Koshiroteri), who had spent his life as a shaman among the Yanomami Indians of Venezuela, reveals the evil behind indigenous religions: “Shamans often tell their people that the cause of a relative’s illness or death is a malevolent spirit sent [from] a neighboring village. Wars of retaliation are commonly carried out with clubs and bows and arrows…people are afraid to venture out of their villages, even to hunt or draw water from the river.” The former shaman writes:
“As the years went on, the responsibilities of a shaman weighed heavier and heavier upon me. I was tired. So many sick and dying. I could not cure them, no matter how hard I tried. So many threats to my village. People were raiding and killing one another. I could not protect them. Often there were food crises.
“I took more ebene [hallucinatory drug used by the Yanomami shamans] to get assistance from the spirits, but…my spirits left me with nothing but worry and fear…. Some men [shamans] got lost in the spirit world when they took the drug; many ran into the jungle and were never heard from again. Now and then, one of them was found dead…. I wasn’t strong enough to go on like this.
“A visitor from another village told me about foreign people, nabas, who had come to live on the river…[and knew] a big spirit which could help us. This spirit was different from the big super-spirit [yai pata] of the Yanomami; it was friendly and not desiring death and destruction. I went to these naba, and they told me of their spirit and his peaceful ways…soon my spirits…said [if]…I would abandon them…they would kill me….
“I stopped taking ebene and turned to the spirit of the naba…it was stronger than my forest spirits. They became afraid and went away… [Instead of telling me to kill people or lead raids…the new spirit told me to stop fights whenever I could.
“I became calm in my mind and my fear went away. I no longer hated anyone or wanted to cause their death. My old spirits were happy whenever someone died and they kept telling the shamans to stir up more violence. We thought we had power over these spirits, but they really had the power over us…. Even when we shamans were chanting and taking ebene, and we looked content, there was turmoil inside, for our spirits kept telling us to kill. Some men [shamans] lost all control and sense when they took the drug, sometimes even killing their own wives and children.
“Today I no longer live in fear and…I have talked with people in the neighboring villages; we have ended our feuds and stopped the killing…we are able to devote ourselves to growing more food and we have better homes to protect ourselves from the mosquitos. The nabas told us that malaria comes from mosquitos, not from evil shamans, and we have changed our belief….
“Our population at Honey Village is growing while many others are decreasing in number. The new spirit has made me free from the fear I had all the time of so many wars. Today my people are better off and at peace.”