The history of contact in Brazil with the indigenous populations tells a convoluted story. One organization recently reported that two Amazon Indians decided to return to their forest homes after a time among so-called civilized folk.
As is true of such groups, a certain disdain can be detected in the headline: “Amazon Indians take one look at ‘us’ – and head back into the forest”. (Though sometimes I’d like to head to the forest and hide in the jungle—for about 30 seconds.)
Never mind that this group was in part responsible for removing the two Indians to a state capital for medical treatment. They sought to solve a problem caused by civilization with its advantages.
French philosophy proposed the idea of the “noble savage,” man who existed in a purer state in the depths of the jungle, than the European races in all their sophistication and development. In centuries past Brazil was heavily influenced by French thinkers. (Just look at Brazil’s flag.) Traces of that idea can still be felt in the country.
The gospel, however, proclaims that no place is better than another, for man is a fallen creature and spoils everything he touches, everywhere he goes. “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Rom 3.23.
So if the Indians decide to go back into the forest, let an evangelist follow them in and tell them the story of Jesus.
For we all need to hear the message of eternal life.