Foreign Devils and Barbarians

While reading A World Too New by Edmund S. Morgan (Smithsonian Magazine, October 2009), an explanation was provided to explain the conquests and slaughters that were to take place for centuries between 1492 and modern times (and I’m not sure the crusades are over yet).

Morgan wrote that Columbus believed “Christ saved those who believed in him, and it was the duty of Christians to spread his gospel and thus rescue the heathens from the fate that would otherwise await them.” (pg 84)

“Slavery was an ancient instrument of civilization, and in the 15th century it had been revived as a way to deal with barbarians who refused to accept Christianity and the rule of civilized government.” (pg 86).

Although China was exposed to the world’s major religions centuries earlier than Columbus, none had a major influence in China by the 19th century. Even today, the majority of Chinese claim to have no religion.

Yet, the Chinese have a morality (honor and piety) that is equal (if not better) to Christianity and Islam without the need to convince others through wars to adopt the same behaviors and beliefs. There is no history that China went to war to change the beliefs of foreign devils and barbarians, as they saw the rest of the world for thousands of years well before Columbus.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.

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