First, whether or not you believe in the Bible and what it says, I will preface this by saying that millions (probably more like over a billion) of people believe that it is the Word of God (all varities on how literally you take it). My explanation uses Bible passages, not to convince you to believe them, but to illustrate what motivates Christians.
Actually, the Bible instructs Christians to make believers of all nations; The Great Commission states as follows:
<div class=”heading passage-class-0″>
New International Version (NIV)
<div class=”passage version-NIV result-text-style-normal text-html “>
<h3>The Great Commission</h3>
<sup class=”versenum”>16 </sup>Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. <sup class=”versenum”>17 </sup>When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. <sup class=”versenum”>18 </sup>Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. <sup class=”versenum”>19 </sup>Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, <sup class=”versenum”>20 </sup>and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Christians on mission trips believe that they are COMMANDED to spread the love of God and the word of God. To merely bring aid would be to fail to fulfill what they believe is an important part of their duty to God, to teach others about Christ. It is part and parcel of your duty. To love and to bring others to God. You are basically telling people they should abandon deeply held beliefs in order to give aid in the way YOU feel it should be given. Did you ever think that belief in a higher being might give people hope? Regardless of whether you believe in God or not, for over a billion people (estimates are there are 1.2 billion catholic alone)in the world, belief in God offers hope. The bible offers a guide to living a good life. Why shouldn’t that be shared…because you don’t believe?
Matthew 25:40 also states:
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’<br /><br />By providing humanitarian aide as well as offering testimony, the Christian missionary believes that he or she is fulfilling the Great Commission and the command to love others.
I have met a number of missionaries, and it is my thought that they serve everyone (I’ve met one who runs a hospital). They aid provided to the hospital is given to all. A Christian believes that people need the love of God and Jesus as well as help. I can’t figure out why you are so bitter or care what motivates people to help each other. The basic commands of the New Testament are:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’<sup class=”footnote”>[a]</sup> <sup class=”versenum”>31 </sup>The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’<sup class=”footnote”>[b]</sup> There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31.
If we all followed these basic commands and loved our neighbor as ourselves, the world would be a pretty good place. I am not sure why you care what motivates people to do good, as long as they ARE doing good. In any event, because of the Great Commission, Christians consider it a duty to spread the love of Christ. I personally think the best way to do that is with your actions. And certainly serving others on the most basic and humble level demonstrates the love of Christ as it is presented in the NT.
I probably cannot convince you otherwise, but you will never convince a Christian missionary that it is approriate to leave Christ out of the picture. Serving a loving God is basic to Christianity.
In summary, spreading the love of God and helping people are two sides to the same coin for Christians. You cannot separate them out!