Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Christians in Japan

Although I haven't started to actually read Rodney Stark's The Triumph of Faith (2015), I had flipped through the pages, quickly reading some of the charts.  He was so far off on his figure of Christianity in Nigeria (he reported zero percent and it's about 50.1%), I decided to check Japan, which he listed as 2%. After checking several on-line sources, I figured 2% is a little high.
"Christian missionaries find Japan a tough nut to crack. They always have, ever since the first of them, St. Francis Xavier, landed in Kyushu in 1549. His first impression, based on an initially friendly reception, was, “In my opinion no people superior to the Japanese will be found among the unbelievers.” Two years later, he left disheartened, calling Japanese Buddhism “an invention of the devil.”

Missionaries today use different language but express similar frustration. The Japanese have so eagerly embraced everything Western — from fads to philosophies, baseball to scientific method. Why not Christianity? Even China, officially atheist and repressive of anything outside state control, counts 52 million Christians. In South Korea, 30 percent of a population of 50 million professes Christianity. In Japan? Less than 1 percent."
It's always interesting to read the comments about on-line articles (often one or two completely ignorant of history) and then everyone else chimes in. The internet is full of anti-Christian trolls and haters. Unfortunately, they love to see themselves in cyber-print.

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