this missionary activity did at times strive to take a more
humanized form. After the colonial armies had pillaged a country,
the missionaries came in to comfort the people with Jesus.
Missionaries learned that conquered and humiliated native peoples
were more receptive to some otherworldly form of succor. Or the
missionaries came first with hospitals and orphanages, not just
bringing compassion but leading the way for the armies or the
merchants, who followed their lead, after the missionaries had
undermined the confidence of the people in their own ways.
After these outward forces of
colonialism came an intellectual form that was less overt but
perhaps more insidious. Native schools and educational systems were
eliminated in the place of progressive Western education, even in
areas where religion had failed to gain many converts, like India
and China. This gave colonialism the aura of a civilizing influence.
It was not exploitation that the Western powers were bringing but
progressive Western values, training the people in science, art and
technology and teaching them better and more equitable forms of
government. Native peoples were helped to learn the skills of
genuine civilization, by becoming modern and rational. This was true
not only of aboriginal cultures but of older advanced civilizations
like India and China, whose culture itself was often put on the
level of something primitive that required the ennobling influence
of the West.