Why is China only 2.3% Christian?


#21

For 30 years it was only one child policy. Now it is two children maximum.


#22

That IS very good numbers ! As many as french population ! Yet, risn’t that grow IS coming from more evangelicals than catholicism ?


#23

Yes, I think it’s ultimately God’s timing and the Holy Spirit’s control. I think of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s influence on the mass conversions in Mexico.


#24

India has about 20 million Catholics, mostly in the south.


#25

Yeah, I need to study up on India, in general.

I tend to be a doubter, so I decided to go to India like St. Thomas. :slight_smile: hehe


#26

And I will find out more for you,Jamal.
In a few months I will be in China for a couple of weeks
Glad you are back, Jamal!:smiley:


#27

Thankyou Gracie! :slight_smile:


#28

I didn’t realize that Christianity only accounts for 2.3% of the population in India. In some locations, the percentage is much higher. In Goa, about 25% of the population are Christian, and Kerala is about 18% Christian. That’s not a lot compared to places like the United States, and the difference can be noticeable, but I never felt threatened about being openly Christian. I even went to a church once or twice when I was there, and the city we were in was overwhelmingly Hindu. With that said, though, there are some horror stories about how Christians are treated there. I was in a relatively peaceful, albeit still-developing, area, so it might have been easier to be openly Christian there, even if being Christian was a bit weird for the area.


#29

It doesn’t. Nearly everyone in India, including the uneducated and illiterate, speak at least 2 languages natively, often 3. The chances of there being no competent preachers or evangelizers around that one can easily converse with, are therefore close to zero. But perhaps you assume that what India needs is evangelization by foreigners. Honestly, there is hardly a need for that, seeing as how Christianity has been present in India for a long time (see below) and is well represented by tens of millions of Indians including many clergy and preachers.

Christianity has been present in India for about 1,400 years, RC for over 400 years. Attend Mass anywhere in India and you’ll find an all-Indian congregation and Indian priests, the vast majority of whom are cradle Catholics. To speak of Christianity in India as a religion that still needs to “get over” its “white-people” image, is a mis-assessment of the situation. The only people who inadvertently give the impression that Christianity is a religon of whites, are white missionaries. Really, Christianity in India is not a religion experiencing “start-up problems”, nor one in need of a cultural image-makeover.

That’s true as far as the Hindu part of the population (80%) is concerned. Like Judaism (or even more so), Hinduism is strongly tied up with ethnicity. But of course the adherents of India’s many other non-Christian religions don’t exactly subscribe to the idea that being Hindu is an essential part of being Indian, yet they too aren’t interested in converting to Christianity – or to any religion other than the one they were born in.

No. Throughout North, Central, West, and North-East India, Hindi will get you much farther than English, especially with the vast majority of people who are not highly educated. The people in these areas typically understand Hindi perfectly and speak it fairly well too. As for the South, Hindi is less effective there, but English doesn’t work well there either.

The South has a few Catholic hotspots, mostly due to the Portuguese influence there. But there are Catholics all over India. It’s hard to find a major town in India without a Catholic church.


#30

Okay. Why are there relatively few Christians in India? Well, India is a place where tremendous religious diversity has been the norm for millennia. The unwritten rule is: “We let you practice your religion, you let us practice ours.” In other words: don’t try pulling some of ours away from our community – whoever “we” are. Break this rule in India and you’re in for a world of trouble.

Furthermore, Indians are typically quite content to be who they are, as they are. In this respect they are comparable to Arabs, and perhaps to Russians too. Non-Indians might even consider Indians to suffer from a “superiority complex”, which isn’t altogether inaccurate, except that it doesn’t involve any ambition for world-domination. In any case, where religion is concerned this contentment with their identity leads to to a disinterest in “what’s on offer elsewhere”.

Do I think the numbers of Christians will change substantially in the coming century? No. Christianity will remain a minority religion because, as I wrote, nearly all Indians are simply quite content with the religion they grew up with and take no interest in switching. Hindus stay Hindus, Muslims stay Muslims, Sikhs stay Sikhs, etc. The idea of conversion strikes most adherents of these religions as odd, and as irrelevant to them personally.

In closing, note that India has many other “small” religions such as Sikhism and Jainism and Buddhism, who are comparable (somewhat) in size to Christianity (in India), yet none of these religions ask themselves “Hey, howcome we haven’t converted the rest of this nation yet?” – even though they too have been around for a very long time. It is really only Christianity that is characterized by an unusual (as compared to other religions) missionary impulse. In India though, the Christian community knows, just like all the other religious communities in India, that aggressive evangelization is unacceptable and will lead to violent responses when attempted. Therefore it isn’t done.


#31

I’m going to be in Calcutta. Do you think I should learn some Bengali, so I can speak to people with less education, or they will be able to speak English.?

Are you Indian, just curious. You seem to know a lot about India.


#32

Well, that would definitely put a damper on things for St. Paul back in the day and people interested in spreading Catholicism today. I think from watching Mother Theresa films, Hindus, the vast majority in Calcutta, were initially hostile to her because they thought she just wanted to make converts to Christianity.

Your post has been extremely helpful. Thank you for taking the time.

You sound as though you are Indian, or have lived there for some time at one point, or are an academic.


#33

It took Europe over 1000 years to be thoroughly evangelized from southern Europe to northern Europe. There hasn’t been a significant missionary presence in India or the Far East until the 19th century, and it took until the later 20th century to actually pick up steam.

Asia is currently more receptive to the Gospel than Europe or North America, due to brainwashing and alternative history in the media and at university. I guarantee those numbers in Asia will continue to climb fast. South Korea is already more actively Christian than traditionally Christian countries. China is harder to penetrate because of the government but then again I’m positive the real number is higher than 2.3%.

India has a privileged subgroup of people in select areas who speak English and are highly educated, and then large swathes of the population being relatively uneducated and isolated in their home province. Christianity is concentrated in the privileged areas.


#34

If you’re going to be in Calcutta for a long time, it is definitely worth learning Bengali, which will win over the locals much more than Hindi will. The Bengalis understand Hindi fine also, and will appreciate skill in that too, but by learning Bengali you’ll be able to follow the conversations that locals have among themselves too. Besides, Bengali is a major language in its own right, associated with a very strong culture, literary tradition, etc.

Of course learning either Hindi or Bengali takes time. These aren’t the hardest languages in the world, but pronunciation is a little difficult for foreigners at first, and you’ll have to learn the script (different for Bengali than Hindi) if you’re serious about it. (The scripts aren’t as hard at they seem though. They can typically be learned in a few weeks.)

As to my background: that’s a category-1 secret, so I can’t reveal that on a public forum. :wink: But yes, I know India well.

Yes, India isn’t fruitful missionary territory. That’s just the way it is. Generally speaking Indians are too settled in their own ways and too confident about their own culture (including religion) to make for good potential converts. So if missionary work is your particular reason for going, the experience might turn out different from what you expect. On the other hand, there is a lot to be learned from practicing Catholicism in India, and generally from being embedded in an environment where religion is still thoroughly mixed up with daily life for everyone, and pervades all public space and the general atmosphere.

P.S. Make sure you get the right visa if you’re going to proselytize openly. Evangelizing while you’re in India on a tourist visa can get you into legal trouble.


#35

Super interesting,Roguish.
Thank you .


#36

Oh, I"m not an “evangelist” per se at all. I’m an introvert and a people watcher, among a few other things. I’d like to spend some time with the Missionaries of Charity and from there who knows…


#37

Because they only 37,420,000 Catholics?

Because they, like some other Asian countries, tend to be a bit (or more than a bit) xenophobic?

Because Mao beat Chian Kai Shek and instituted a rule of mass murder to anyone who did not roll over and embrace their form of Marxism?

Because my great uncle, a Jesuit, was only one person and only did all he was able - which from your question maybe was not enough?

Because even today the government considers the Catholic Church to be a foreign power and has an issue about perceived hegemony?


#38

Should I take it that is a hint you may have been employed by one of those 3 letter government groups? Or was closely associated with one?


#39

Oppression and killing of Christians, including Western missionaries who were trying to spread the faith there, has a lot to do with it. This has happened under a number of different governmental regimes, most recently the Communists.

Same as how the Church in Japan, what there was left of it after all the mass killings, went underground for a few centuries and no one knew it was there.


#40

Historically speaking, this is one of the rare Jesuit failures.

They had the emperor of China on the verge of conversion, but ancestor “worship” was an issue.

The Jesuits were not able to successfully explain to the Pope that this “worship” was actually a reverence, not actual worship, and did not receive the permissions they needed–and the emperor did not convert.

In China, even mores than Europe, conversion the emperor would have meant wholesale conversion of the empire (and there is precedent from prior conversions of emperors).

hawk


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.