Christianity's global reach: 9-22-09
September 22, 2009
It's no longer news that the growth of Christianity is occurring not in North America or Europe but in the Southern Hemisphere and Asia.
The books to read are The Next Christendom, by Philip Jenkins, and The New Shape of World Christianity, by Mark Knoll.
My interest in Christianity in other parts of the world probably began when I was a boy and had a chance to live in India for two years. But more recently, I read Pentecost in Asia, by my friend Tom Fox, which describes especially Catholic expressions of the religion.
I raise all this today because it's good to be reminded that Christianity's spread beyond the land of its founding is a long, long story. For instance, it was on this date in 1601 that the first priests of the newly established Christian Church (it was Roman Catholic) in Japan were ordained in their hometown of Nagasaki.
Today there are many Christian churches in Japan. Just as there are many in India and in many other Asian countries. Indeed, a few years ago I was in Uzbekistan in Central Asia doing some reporting on Islam when I ran across Korean Christian missionaries at work there.
Not all churches belong to the World Council of Churches, but 349 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 560 million Christians are within that council. That's about a majority of the non-Catholic Christians in the world. The Catholic Church is not a formal WCC member but participates in some ways.
The point is that Americans -- whether Christian or not -- tend not to think about the global spread of the church. Today's a good day to remind ourselves of exactly that.
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PEACE? OH, YEAH. EVENTUALLY, MAYBE
As President Obama prepares (without big expectations) to meet today with Middle East leaders, Pope Benedict XVI has called for a special synod of bishops to consider ways toward peace there. But that gathering won't take place until a year from next month. Well, what the heck. There really hasn't been peace there since Israel's founding in 1948, so why rush now? It's just loss of life we're talking about. Is it just me or do our leaders seem unbothered by much sense of urgency?
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P.S.: The Kansas City branch of Habitat for Humanity will be celebrating 30 years of work in our area with several events next month. Join in the anniversary events if you can. It's a great agency with faith roots.
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ANOTHER P.S.: My latest column for The Presbyterian Outlook now is online. To read it, click here. To read previous Outlook columns, look under the "Check this out" headline on the right side of this page for a page containing links to them.
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A FINAL P.S.: You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BillTammeus.
Bill, your remarks about Peace in the Middle East seem to ignore the fact that the destruction of Israel is still be called for.
The Iranian leadership, soon to have nuclear weapons provided by scientists without morality, is calling for wiping Israel off the map and Hamas, the freely elected ruling body of the Palestinians, has not changes its stance on the elimination of Israel.
Posted by: Will Graham | September 22, 2009 at 01:45 AM
"It's no longer news that the growth of Christianity is occurring not in North America or Europe but in the Southern Hemisphere and Asia. - ..in 1601 that the first priests of the newly established Christian Church (it was Roman Catholic) in Japan were ordained in their hometown of Nagasaki."
Protestantism began in the 1500s in Germany.
The Bible in some form, spread all over the Planet.
And today www. is in any location where there is Electricity, which began in the 1800s.
In 100 years our Home Planet has changed drastically. From a Knowledge Explosion to High Tech Nuclear Waste, and Nuclear Bomb Explosions.
Now that the Planet has the High Tech Information in Genesis of Colonization of a Planet and Reproduction of the Female from the Male Rib, what is happening to the Human Species, Religious or Atheist?
Have High Tech Religious and Atheist Humans today, used this High Tech Science from the Biblical Tree of Knowledge of Good or Evil, for the Good of our Planet and the Life on it, or for Evil and Death to our Home Planet?
"The point is that Americans -- whether Christian or not -- tend not to think about the global spread of the church. Today's a good day to remind ourselves of exactly that."
Genesis and Jesus are Known Worldwide today. Are Earth's High Tech Christians Involved in God's Work of Eternal Life After Birth, on Planets and in Spaceships?
Or, are Jesus Christians involved in Satan's Work of Nuclear Death to Humans, and All Life on our Planet?
Posted by: Dolores Lear | September 22, 2009 at 06:06 AM
Two million Xs in Japan. That is about 1% of the population.
As countries become more developed, the people more educated, there will be a decline in all religions. It always happens. Look for example what is happening in America. Why America, being so advanced, is hanging on longer than normal advanced countries is a puzzle to me. But it is still shrinking….
Normally, the poorer the country the easier it is to convince
them to believe in hocus pocus, drinking blood, eating dead flesh, smoke screens, bells, magical crosses, a spirit to care for your soul, pointy hats and glittery robes.
The less education, the more superstition you can put on them, especially when a ham sandwich is attached to it.
The X population is about 33% of the world population. It appears to me Xs are staying about the same. Most of the people in the world do not believe in jesus.
But because world population has grown at a somewhat faster pace than Christianity, Christianity's relative position has slipped a bit since 1900, when Christians represented some 34.5 percent of world population.
Christianity, by the numbers http://www.the-tidings.com/2005/0204/difference.htm
Bill said, “There really hasn't been peace there since Israel's
founding in 1948, so why rush now? It's just loss of life we're talking about. Is it just me or do our leaders seem unbothered by much sense of urgency?”
I totally agree with that. Most of the time it seems to move at a snails pace. Some day people will catch on to this
lack of caring and do something about it. If we stop voting the people into office who are given to us by the
people who control us, perhaps we can make a difference.
It’s the same with superstition. We will eventually see it for what it is, which is make believe.
Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | September 22, 2009 at 08:32 AM
"The Iranian leadership, soon to have nuclear weapons provided by scientists without morality,.."
Who provided Earth with High Tech nuclear weapons? God inspired Religious Humans, or God inspired Atheists?
When Atom and Nuclear weapons were reproduced since early 1900s, what was the Moral Majority that made them?
It was the Religious Human Majority, with Christian Scientists, and a few Atheists Scientists, that made the plans for the bombs. And many Religious Humans Reproduced them.
Will, you keep blaming the Few Atheists on Earth, for the Sins of the Moral Majority of Religious Humans. What does Trust in God mean?
Are you saying that Religious Humans listen to Atheists, and do their bidding, more than listening to God/Us in Genesis, saying 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'?
God/Us told the Humans they put In Charge to be the Caretaker Species, of the Life they Created on our Home Planet Earth.
When did God tell Humans to Buy and Sell Earth's Resources to Each Other, and Kill Each Other and their Home Planet?
It is Time to Search the Scriptures and Myth, with a High Tech Science Translation of Human Life on Earth, and in Spaceships.
It still may too late to Save Earth, from our Living Waste, Toxic Nuclear Pollution, and Nuclear Bombs on Land and Sea.
Will Humans Understand, what the next few Killing and Polluting years will do to our Home Planet, and the Life on it, without High Tech Spaceships to escape our Folly.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | September 22, 2009 at 08:38 AM
Cole Morgans predictions about the end of Christianity are woefully ingnorant of history.
Some of the men who tried to destroy Christianity:
and many lesser known minions of all of them.
And all failed.
Even little immigrants, who left a country that had been destroyed by 70 years of an officially atheistic government have failed.
Posted by: adam harrison | September 22, 2009 at 09:20 AM
To be fair, its not only men who have tried...O'Hair (Madylyn Murray O'Hair), Emman Goldman, and Margaret Sanger all tried the same thing.
All have passed on.
O'Hair was even murdered back in 1995, and an attempt to blame "fundies" was made...it turns out that fellow atheists did it for money.
Posted by: adam harrison | September 22, 2009 at 09:59 AM
Of course, there are more.
Remember, atheists want you to SHUT UP and DIE!
Posted by: adam harrison | September 22, 2009 at 12:09 PM
Vox day answers the atheists.
Posted by: adam harrison | September 22, 2009 at 12:16 PM
I did a quick Google on your boast about churches in Japan. Sure enough, there are christian churches there but "... findings from one of the most extensive surveys of the country ever taken showed a Christian population of six percent." (http://www.christianpost.com/article/20060319/more-people-claim-christian-faith-in-japan/index.html)
6% is a big, big number, is it Bill...
Posted by: twitter.com/Randall_Fleck | September 23, 2009 at 12:03 AM