Their Word against Mine: Proselytizing in Cuba

By Jorge Milanes

Photo: lahabana.com

HAVANA TIMES – “Good morning my brother, we here are here to bring you God’s word. Do you have time for us?” A man says to me, accompanied by another, who approach me outside my home when I’m on my way to work. They were holding some leaflets in their hands.

“I’m sorry, but I’m in a bit of a hurry, my time is gold as the famous song goes, Time is money…”

“Anyhow, you can enter the Lord’s kingdom,” they continued. “Let us show you what the Lord says in this leaflet about what you just said.”

“I don’t think I have the time you guys need but I can tell you that I am already in the Lord’s kingdom, I believe in being a good person to everyone and to not impose myself,” I explained.

“It also talks about that. Can we have a chat?” they insist, and I found myself forced to take a few steps in order to show them my haste, but they followed behind me, while I tell them about my religious beliefs, that I have an African-Spanish family tradition, members of the diaspora community who found themselves forced to adopt some things from Cuba’s Catholic Church back then, in order to survive. “Can I carry on my way please?” We’ll have a better opportunity to talk about all of this another day.

I thought that they had understood, but they hadn’t.

“My brother, we would still like you to read these verses and when we meet again, you can tell us what you think. God bless you.” “Uffff, they finally left. Now, I’m in even more of a hurry than I was before.”

Persistence is acceptable when you are trying to achieve something in life, but it doesn’t apply in these cases. I was very kind this time, but I have beared witness to heated scenes with people who have different ideologies and end up saying things like: I don’t care about your religion, I’m a santero, don’t even think about coming back, etc…

Some religious groups in my neighborhood regularly take part in invasive procedures but they don’t always bring in good results. I believe they would have greater success if they were to have a bit more prudence and perspective.

Jorge Milanes

Jorge Milanes: My name is Jorge Milanes Despaigne, and I’m a tourism promoter and public relations specialist. Forty-five years ago I was born in Cojimar, a small coastal town to the east of Havana. I very much enjoy trips and adventure; and now that I know a good bit about my own country, I’d like to learn more about other nations. I enjoy reading, singing, dancing, haute cuisine and talking with interesting people who offer wisdom and happiness.



23 thoughts on “Their Word against Mine: Proselytizing in Cuba

  • Peace to you Jorge,
    I too am Tourism consultant in the u.s., who is curious about your country. Unfortunately, the present political climate has made it more complicated to visit Cuba. However, i do plan to visit under the new restrictions.

    I agree, persistence is not the best in every situation. Inviting to a religion is a sensitive matter. It helps if the recipient as least has time to listen. The best invitation is done by example, before speech.

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  • Each of the dozens of religious groupings claims to be the correct interpreters of “God’s” word. Is it even possible that any one of them is right when there is no substantive scientific evidence of a deity. but merely opinion and belief?
    Each unto his own!

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    • There is much scientific evidence for God’s existence depending of how “God” and “scientific evidence” are defined.

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      • I have observed lots of belief, but no scientific evidence. Please if you have any do share.
        I remain satisfied that those of any of those dozens of beliefs are in consequence happier and will defend their own ingrained opinions, but never any scientific proof.
        Be happy with your own Michelle.

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        • God is in a hurry to save you too,but we are so busy with our lives,not knowing that the only meaningful thing in the few days we live in the land is to please the Lord, the rest is chasing after the wind.Ecclesiastes 1:14.

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        • “Scientific proof” in itself is relative, & known to change with the times. (See middle ages) So i will only offer this to consider…In our mother’s wombs, “scientists” will agree we were alive with a consciousness & our senses intact. That was our world, & as far as we knew it was all that existed. Then we came here to find we were wrong. Logically, once you realize you were wrong about something, you have to leave room for the possibility that you could be wrong again. Perhaps again there is another reality once we leave this one. Then, once you are open to that, you have to also at least recognize this could not be happen chance. Just saying..

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  • The biggest stupidness in the history..is that a a institution called “Church, Cathedral, Temple, House of God, etc” make people believe that is a “God” in some part of the sky watching every person and everything in the earth. And for that, you need to “provide charity” to keep going all this business, and people don’t even care and give lot of money to “all administrative personal on duty” of this institution because is the only way to keep them alive and follow the word of that “God” in the sky.

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  • Amazing how powerful the simple word “no” is when used by itself with no modifiers, qualifications, or justifications. Just say “no”! That word quickly but politely dismisses all religious missionaries when used repeatedly.

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  • Personally,Everday I see people in a hurry no time.
    Stop and think for just 5 min. tommorow how rushed your life is.
    Please slow down. Life is short.These people feel they wanted to spread what they believe in. Wrong or right,they are trying to be good citizens.
    I know you don’t want anything pushed on your person.
    I’m just hoping some will take the time to enjoy one simple thing in your life everyday.

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  • Me encantaria conoserte Jorge, me das muy buena vibra. Soy Dominicano/Cubano y le escribo desde Nueva York. No conosco Cuba mucho, solo visite casi 2 años atras para conocer el pais de mi padre. Me quede con mucho deseo de hacer mas y conoser mas. Hay manera de como contactarme con ustd?

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  • It’s pleasant to read that people are more free thinking than I guessed.?

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  • Jorge, first and foremost I would like to thank you for sharing your story. Although I do not agree about your title “Proselytizing”, because in your story nobody tried to pursue/convince you to become part of any group.
    Also, they never mentioned the word “religion”, however some people when they hear the word “God” they automatically assume that we are talking about religion. In fact, you may be a religious person although you may not think so… I’ll probe it to you that you are a religious person… you religiously work, you religiously publish some articles in this website, etc. LOL.
    They offered you something even better than religion and totally FREE: The Lord’s kingdom. Which you rejected based on your own definition of “good” …You said: “… I believe in being a good person to everyone and to not impose myself”.
    There is an interesting story in the Bible in the book of Luke chapter 18 (verses 18-30) about a person that was thinking, exactly like you, that he was a good person, until… he came to Jesus (the son of God), and for this man’s surprise Jesus told him “…give everything to the poor and follow me..”. Then he found out that he was not as good as he thought. I encourage you to read that story.
    And for those that mentioned on their comments that they need scientific evidence that God is real, I encourage all of you to watch this movie “The Case for Christ” based on a real story, with interviews to scientists written by the journalist Lee Strobel. Also, there is another book that can help you, “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell.
    PEACE, AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!
    He is still calling people out as Jorge’s story tells us. Are you next?

    Reply
    • Excellent point, I agree

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  • Over 15 years I have visited small and large cuban towns and cities by bus and by bike. Spanish is my first language and i never stay in resorts or hotels because i prefer to remain close to the cuban people. I entered churches and listened to people like Jorge and they all sound to me hipocrital, false. After 60 years of dictatorial regime the suffering and misery has broken the social and human structure os society. Corruption ,betrayal and lying is part of life and things are never what they appear to be. To me Jorge is selling more ideology like the castros did and he even could be promoting cuba as a religious destination to bring religious tourist and mantain the misery even longer. Cuba is a prison and a spyder web and it is full of “Proselytizers”

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  • Hi,Jorge ,I’m Jorge too from Cuba,l live in USA more than 20 years and the only that i want tell you is,God is good,human being without HIM,in some point of view is loss,no matter how smart you are,God love HE’S creation,but all together in LOVE.God is impartial about humanity, everyone have the right, to know HIM.

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  • Religion, what is Religion? who coined the word Religion? All I do know for certain that Religion has caused countless deaths over the years, people have died for their religion, fought countless crusades in the name of religion, divided whole communities as in Ireland and countless other countries. When quite a few people are in dire staits regarding their health(Heart attacks for example) they turn to religion and ask God to help them recover, even though before their present health concerns, they never had time for any God and now they are calling on him/her to help them?
    So we have different types of believers and non believers, we have the type who wish to ram their religious views/beliefs down your throat, whilst we have others who will ask you if you wish to discuss certain aspects of religion, these wish to impose their one sided view upon you regardless if you wish to talk with them or not, they are only interested in their own views. If I am approached by anyone and I do not wish to enter into a conversation I just offer my apologies and say as politely as I can that I am sorry but i am in a hurry and do not wish to be late for my appointment. Is it not obvious to these people that I do not wish to enter into a conversation with them> I have shown you respect so please show me some respect in return!

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  • Manny Rosales, you are so right! And Jorge is one of the many Cubans that because they grew up in the Castro Cuba have no concept of what Jesus Christ our savior is. He needs to read and educate himself. The religious Cuba is so complex! I was born in Cuba during Fidel’s time and I was and still are A Catholic, but I can understand his confusion.

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  • To those who have written here supporting their views with quotes from the Bible as if it is the word of God, – who wrote it and when?
    I understand the enthusiasm of believers, but for Cuba and other Latin-American countries, the history of the Catholic Church is one of torture, slaughter, repression, genocide and theft.
    Believers in the various religions have usually become so as a consequence of parental and community instruction as infants and children.

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  • Please use this one. I made a couple of very important typing mistakes in the first one.

    True Christianity is a saving faith in Jesus Christ. No one has ever, or can be, argued into saving faith; true faith is a work of the Holy Spirit, an awakening by the revelation of Jesus Christ through the power of the Word, by the grace of God. It is a gift given; not a thing decided, or a thing generated by man. The Bible itself cannot be understood without the Spirit’s enlightenment. Think of it this way: we’ve all seen a flower at night, with its petals closed up; but when the sun rises, and shines upon it, that flower opens up, and you can distinctly see each individual petal, and the whole flower all in its beauty. The Bible is like that. When the Spirit shines His light into a man’s understanding, what it is written there opens up. And suddenly, like the petals, verses show forth their individual beauty and truth; but yet, all in the unity of a single flower, and you begin to see how they are all interconnected. And with absolute certainty, you know that this book, though it was written through the hand of many men over countless centuries, is no work of fiction, or tradition, but exactly what it says of itself: that indeed, it is the Word of God, truly inspired by the Holy Spirit. The proud self-satisfied critics neither know the Bible, nor understand it; nor can they. They limit God to the feeble capacity of their own human minds, and sit in judgment of the Bible; whereas, in truth, the Bible judges them. And they hate that. Because they refuse to see themselves as God sees them. Think of God as absolute perfection, in every attribute. His perfect holiness is like an incandescent white light, far too bright for human eyes to gaze upon. Pass it through a prism, and it breaks up into all the colours of spectrum, which are all His perfect attributes: perfect justice, perfect mercy, perfect grace, perfect wisdom, and so on. But man thinks himself perfect enough; oh, not absolutely perfect, but I’m a “good” person, good enough anyway. But God, in His Book, says no, you’re not, because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And man hates that, too. And they hate His Book, and anyone who tells them that, and the Book says that: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” Seek God in His Book, and you will find Him. And that book, in the light of the Spirit, will lead you to Jesus Christ. Believe, and you will understand.

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    • I note the opinion that although written by many men (note no women) over centuries, the Bible is not a work of fiction, so it certainly wasn’t written by “Him”.
      John Dalton trots out that old familiar stuff about non-believers human minds being of “feeble capacity”, in the firm conviction of his own self-righteousness, but without himself thinking deeply enough about the lack of any scientific proof of his own belief.
      As for “perfection”, as different forms of art illustrate, perfection lies in the eye of the beholder – but only those who accept John Holder’s view will be bathed in “an incandescent white light”.
      Are the Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Confusions, Jews et al all mislead?
      Be happy in your own belief John Dalton, but don’t proselytize, for as I for example as one of those having a mind of “feeble capacity” prefer to remain informed by logic and reality.

      Reply
  • As Noah and his family were entering into tge ark….many laughed. They certainly were not laughing when the rain increased, when it flooded…when they were drowning. I can imagine at that point, most likely they were begging to get into that ark, but it was too late. In fact they were a day late, and a dollar short if you will.

    Proselitizing the good word is helping our neighbors, get out of the muck of the fast sinking ship. Come on folks, any inteligent human being can look around, see, hear and experience that there is an ominous cloud that travels at quick speed towards all of mankind. You don’t need to be phi beta cappeta to know this.

    Maybe next time just take a quick two or three minutes to listen to what a kind soul wants to share with you. You may be surprised at what you can learn, you may even want to understand more.

    Just sayin.

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    • Where did you discover that as “Noah and his family were entering into the ark – many laughed.”? Was that in the New York Times or reported by Fox News?
      Proselytizing is a nuisance imposed upon the recipients by those who consider that they are favored by “God”. Why should folks have to tolerate it?

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