Fijian Cannibals

The Story

In 1867 Fijian cannibals murdered, cooked and ate an English missionary. A contemporary cannibal stated that "we ate everything but his boots". The descendants of these cannibals have now asked the descendants of the Rev Thomas Baker to forgive them.

This act of repentance and others like it have led to an amazing revival in Fiji. Communities have experienced transformation and the creation itself is being renewed and healed. Tremendous quantities of fish are returning to once barren waters. Fruit and vegetables are growing in abundance and unprecedented size. There are numerous eyewitness accounts of these 'nature miracles'.

Application of the story

All kinds of issues emerge from this story. How did cannibals cook their victims? Were the missionaries intolerant when they told the cannibals to love their enemies rather than eat them? What exactly is repentance? What was the worldview of the indigenous Fijians? And is God angry when we sin by having our neighbours (literally) for lunch? The gospel story of Jesus comes alive when we contrast it with the cannibal story. Here is a simple way of comparing the two stories:

Worldview and the story

Fijian Cannibal Worldview Christian Worldview of Former Fijian Cannibal

rbwhere-50.pngWhere am I?

I am living in a world created by the gods. I am surrounded by the spirits of my ancestors.

rbwhere-50.pngWhere am I?

I am living in a wonderful world created by a loving God. This creation is very good and Fiji has the best beaches and tropical fish in the world. Far better than Spain.

rbwho-50.pngWho am I?

I am a fierce Fijian warrior and I worship the fish-god Dakuwaqa. I must appease the gods and the spirits of the dead.

rbwho-50.pngWho am I?

I am a Fijian Christian made in God's image. I used to be a cannibal but now I am trying to love God, my neighbour and Fiji.

rbwrong-50.pngWhat's the problem?

Sometimes we are attacked by enemy tribes who want to eat us. Sometimes we do not offer enough human flesh to the gods. Sometimes we do things that are 'taboo'. These things are forbidden.

rbwrong-50.pngWhat's the problem?

Tragically many of us have rebelled against God. Violence and cannibalism have taken over. We are held captive by pagan gods, taboos and petty superstitions.

rbsolution-50.pngWhat's the solution?

We must worship our gods and ancestors faithfully. We must always be ready for battle and not allow our enemies to defeat us and then humiliate us by cooking and eating our flesh.

rbsolution-50.pngWhat's the solution?

We must turn away from false fish-gods and idols and follow Jesus, the true King and Saviour. He has died for all cannibals and sinners. He has taken away our sins. He is the Prince of Peace.

rbdie-50.pngWhat happens when I die?

When I die my soul will float away to the land of the spirits. This journey is dangerous because the evil god Ravuyalo will try to club me on the way. Help!

rbdie-50.pngWhat happens when I die?

When I die I will be with Jesus in paradise. At the resurrection I will receive a superb new body and live in a restored creation. Cannibalism and all evil will no longer exist.