If Columbus Had Been a Christian…

If Columbus had been a Jesus follower rather than an Empire Christian, he would have respected that the lands he happened upon were inhabited and he would have engaged the indigenous persons as equal siblings in humanity rather than abuse, torture, murder, and enslave them. He and his shipmates would have conducted themselves as respectful guests in a home not their own rather than cutting off persons’ hands who did not provide them with enough gold and raping and murdering their children.

If Columbus had been a Jesus follower rather than an Empire Christian, upon his return to Europe, he would have made an impassioned plea to only have peaceful contact with his newly found friends rather than conquer them, displace them, and commit genocide against them. He would have argued that the indigenous persons’ land and freedom were not for the taking and their ways and lives should be respected and not molded into a European image.

Good people from good countries would have respected that people already lived in what we now call the Americas and would never have forcefully taken the land. They may have entered into trade agreements and some cross cultural exchange, but they would have gone back to Europe and said that the land they found is inhabited by people and that it was their sacred duty to respect these persons and not invade and destroy them.

If the European countries had been Jesus followers and not Empire Christians, loving rather than conquering the indigenous people would have been the only appropriate response to encountering new siblings on our planet. Imagine what a different world if might have been had Europeans followed the way of Jesus rather than the way of Empire! But they didn’t follow the way of Jesus and left the death and suffering of millions of persons in their wake, and Jesus wept…. uncontrollably and without consolation.

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About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. He is the Executive Director of the Leadership, Education, and Development (LEaD) Hub North America of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church and an Oklahoma Humanities State Scholar. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University or the United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to If Columbus Had Been a Christian…

  1. Robin Meyers says:

    Exactly. And into this toxic mix there looms a God of Empire, a white, European elder who has been created in the image of humans and can be co-opted into every white privilege conquest. Until our image of God changes, we will continue to do great harm to all the people we think don’t look like God, and need to get out of our way.
    Lord have mercy . . .

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