From the Empire of Christ to the Third World: Religion and the Experience of Empire in the Twentieth Century
In the early twentieth century the people of Britain were engaged with the non‐western world primarily through missionary societies, which reached their peak influence in the 1920s. Far from being an intrepid hero like David Livingstone, the typical missionary was a woman employed in a Christian school, hospital, or clinic, hoping to promote a diffuse Christian influence in a non‐Christian land. In the twentieth century Christian activists founded non‐ecclesiastical NGO's such as Save the Children, Oxfam, and Voluntary Service Overseas. Despite the liberal Protestant religious convictions of their founders, these NGO's fostered a class of Third World development experts for whom professionalism dictated a complete separation from religious ideals.
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