<<original inhabitants>>

This relates to the people who originally lived in a place, rather than people who moved there from somewhere else.

Throughout world history there has been a constant movement of people from various regions to those occupied by others. Seldom has this resulted in a mutual assimilation of the two cultures into a harmonious new blend. Mostly there has been the domination of the invading colonialism or imperialism extending its dominion over and imposing their values on the local native people groups. Raw materials were plundered and while there has been some remuneration and ‘civilised’ material exchanged the impact impinged on the rights of indigenous people who were exploited. Missionary activity was generally an interwoven part of such expansionism. Unfortunately, in the past most aspects of the indigenous culture (deemed backward and wicked) were insensitively eradicated or replaced by the imported values.  

Today, evangelical missionaries are much more careful to study the culture they are entering, respecting and allowing for indigenous expressions of faith, without changing the essential message provided the cultural beliefs and practices are compatible with the Bibles teaching. The bottom line is God loves all people, of whatever ethnicity and Jesus offers them salvation if they will accept but it is at the exclusion of all other belief systems. We are to love our neighbour (those different to us) as ourselves and do only to them what we would like done to us (Mk 12:31; Lk 6:31).

Indigenous peoples generally have a finely attuned awareness of the spiritual realm, having a close affinity to the earth and worship physical features of their environment along with worship of their dead ancestors, yet this evil spirit dimension is opposed to Gods.

See also: ancestor worship, animism, critical race theory, culture, ethical relativism, evil spirits, false religions, race/racism, social justice, spirit realm, spiritualism.

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