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John Chau and North Sentinel Island

Postby Xi 2018 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:36 pm

Why do some Christians think it was okay for John Chau to break Indian laws and go to North Sentinel Island?

Dr. MLK wrote about just laws and unjust laws in his Letter from Birmingham Jail. Question: are the laws put in place by the Indian Government to protect the Sentinelese people and to respect their wishes to be left alone Just or Unjust?

Do missionaries have the right to contact the Sentinelese knowing the Sentinelese do not have immunity to modern diseases? If they do, then do Muslims or Jews have the right to disregard hospital quarantines and proselytize to cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy? Radiation therapy destroys cancer and and immune systems leaving patients vulnerable to infection, hence the hospital quarantines.
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Re: John Chau and North Sentinel Island

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:44 pm

The mandate from God to share the gospel (Mt. 28.19-20) with the whole world supersedes the laws of governments not to share the gospel (Acts 5.29). It is the price of being an obedient Christian that one must be prepared to obey and bear the cost of doing so.

We all know how this works in real life in our places of business, in our government, and even in our homes. The highest authority trumps other authorities. Whatever your brother may coax you to do, you do what your mother tells you to, higher courts can overturn decisions of lower courts, and your boss’s boss is the one whose signature you need to proceed. Doing what is good and what is right, regardless of the context or the cost, is the ultimate act of truth, for it shows that we place our lives in the hands of the righteous and good God.

> Do missionaries have the right to contact the Sentinelese knowing the Sentinelese do not have immunity to modern diseases?

If Chau knew that (and I can't say whether he did or not), he should have/could have taken precautions. But if no westerners are on the island, how do we know about their immunities (or is it only guessing)?
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Re: John Chau and North Sentinel Island

Postby Reborn » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:38 am

> But if no westerners are on the island, how do we know about their immunities (or is it only guessing)?

We don't know that based on having them tested, no. We can however conclude it based on two general sources.

1. Historical records - while the Sentinelese are considered uncontacted for the most part, it is not that they haven't come into contact at least a handful of times throughout history. On one occasion, during the colonial times a group of them was captured. Two adults and four children that were brought inland. Nearly immediately they all became ill and the adults died. The children were then promptly returned to the island. Whether they were accepted back is unknown. If they did, perhaps the Sentinelese went through some sort of pandemic and the survivors gained immunity for that particular disease, but that's only my speculation.

2. Knowledge and common sense on how disease spreads. You can't have a disease unless you managed to come in contact with it. While there are some vectors of transmission through animals that could reach the island, others can't. Think historically. Even within a country or a continent diseases spread gradually like the bubonic plague as an extreme example. While we didn't have immunity for that, things like cold spread similarly. They also evolve. When we reached the colonial times in Europe, we already had large towns and with the lack of proper hygiene and more contact between each other diseases spread and mutated quicker, had more opportunities to form. That also meant for some we developed immunity.

When we went to the Americas, we also brought diseases the native people had never experienced and therefore never developed an immunity for. Even something as simple as common cold could have had strains more mutated and aggressive than what they had. Since their living conditions were different than ours, they didn't have as many diseases that would pose threat to the Old World colonists. Same goes for uncontacted tribes that humans have met in other parts of the world afterwards. The story repeated itself over and over. The outside world meets uncontacted people and people got sick. Some even recently to have been able to study and figure it out.

Other than a handful of contacts, these people had been pretty secluded for roughly 60K years. It is reasonable and nearly certain they have no immunity to modern diseases.
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Re: John Chau and North Sentinel Island

Postby jimwalton » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:29 am

Sure, I agree with these possibilities. They makes sense. It was just as aside. The rest of my answer was my response to the question at hand.


Last bumped by Anonymous on Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:29 am.
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