The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses Why Christian mission trips don’t actually help:
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!
Coming into this discussion as a Christian, and having spent my academic career studying both missions and development, I would have to say that I agree with this video, having participated in some of these practices myself. Regardless of one’s ideology, (Peace Corps and the UN are just as guilty of proselytizing, just usually on different subjects, such as neo-liberal finance, or the benefits of growing cash crops) traveling overseas with the intention of helping people will generally not help unless it is done in a way that takes them more seriously than anyone else you have ever dealt with before. I would recommend reading When Helping Hurts for what is currently changing the Christian understanding of missions and mission trips. For what I believe, you should try Ivan Illich, albeit with the understanding that just about everyone accused him of being a heretic. (read: Person who is uncomfortably close to the truth who we should shut up). Here is his speech “To Hell with Good Intentions” http://www.swaraj.org/illich_hell.htm