22 January, 2006

The End of the Spear

The local newspaper recently published a story on an upcoming movie called The End of the Spear. The story is based on true events: some Christian missionaries, sent to convert the violent Waodani tribe of Ecuador, were martyred. Their families followed them to continue their work; their loving witness moved the natives so much that they (slowly) converted to Christianity and put their violent ways aside.

Similar movies have appeared in the past; I recall the films The Mission, which showed the natives being converted to a truer Christianity than that observed by their Spanish masters, and being massacred as a result, and Black Robe, which described a complex interplay of practical, native superstition and naïve Jesuit faith, but with the conclusion; conversion to the non-violent faith taught by the Jesuits led to the tribe's extermination at the hands of non-Christian tribes.

History is full of such episodes, and it is true that the blood of martyrs becomes often enough the seed of Christians. It's nice to see for once a film suggesting that conversion to Christ does not lead inexorably to a culture's extinction.

I suppose that before too long the Waodani will have developed their presently Christian culture to the point that the intelligent ones will reject Christianity as too repressive of their natural instincts. Yes, that's one of the fundamental teachings of the doctrine of Original Sin; following our "natural" instincts leads to our destruction; as this story suggests, offering these instincts in sacrifice to God is not an enslavement, but a liberation.

3 comments:

qkl said...

If I am not mistaken Black Robe is a french canadian movie.

Well maybe the Waodani will keep Christian values but they could be eleminated by other nations that don't care about those values.

jack perry said...

If I am not mistaken Black Robe is a french canadian movie.

If so, the French Canadians should be proud. It was a beautiful movie, even with the subtle suggestion that conversion to Christianity led to the Mohicans' (or Hurons'?) extermination.

qkl said...

I think I have mistaken this movie with another one made here. Black Robe is an australian/canadian partnership filmed in Quebec but not by quebecers... my bad.