East Asia and global desecularization

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Map of East Asia.

East Asia contains about 25 percent of the world’s population. China’s population represents 20 percent of the people on earth.[1]

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[2] See: Asian atheism and Global atheism

Desecularization is the process by which religion reasserts its societal influence though religious values, institutions, sectors of society and symbols in reaction to previous and/or co-occurring secularization processes.[3]

As can be seen below, East Asia will play a leading role in global desecularization in the 21st century.

Growth of Christianity in China

See also: Growth of Christianity in China

With its large population, China has the largest population of atheists.[4] Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world.[5]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[6][7]

On November 1, 2014, an article in The Economist entitled Cracks in the atheist edifice declared:

Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism...

Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr. Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.[8]

Chinese Christians and plans for evangelism outside of China

Professor Fenggang Yang indicates:

One sign of the advancing state of Christianity in China is that it is reaching out to the larger world. Nine hundred Chinese pastors gathered in Hong Kong this fall for the Mission 2030 Conference. Their goal: To send out 20,000 missionaries from mainland China by 2030.[9]

Ethnic Chinese and a rapid rise of charismatic Christainity in Asian countries

See also: Ethnic Chinese and the rise of Christianity in Southeast Asia

Ethnic Chinese migration has caused a rise of Christianity in Southeast Asia - especially charismatic Christianity.[10][11]

Singapore Management University reports:

...more and more people in Southeast Asia are converting to Christianity. But these new converts – mostly ethnic Chinese – are drawn particularly to charismatic Christianity.

This new wave of religious fervour accounts for the rise of “mega churches” in this part of the world. Juliette Koning and her colleague, Heidi Dahles of VU University Amsterdam, had been studying Indonesia and Malaysia respectively when they first took notice of how many ethnic Chinese business managers were embracing charismatic Christianity. They decided to study this phenomenon through an anthropological lens and presented their findings in their paper, 'Spiritual Power: Ethnic Chinese Managers and the Rise of Charismatic Christianity in Southeast Asia'...

Koning noted that there was a rapid expansion of charismatic Christianity from the 1980s onwards. Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia are said to have the fastest-growing Christian communities and the majority of the new believers are “upwardly mobile, urban, middle-class Chinese”. Asia has the second largest Pentecostal-charismatic Christians of any continent, with the number growing from 10 million to 135 million between 1970 and 2000.[12]

Eurasia Review reports:

The independent Pentecostal movement has been growing rapidly in Southeast Asia in recent decades, benefitting from the broader expansion of charismatic Christianity from the 1980s onwards in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as further afield in Taiwan and South Korea.

There are several reasons why the growth of this movement in this region is important. Firstly, to a large extent the Pentecostal movement has an ethnic face. The majority of Pentecostals in urban centres like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Surabaya, Jakarta and Manila are, with some notable exceptions, upwardly mobile, middle-class ethnic Chinese. In countries where the ethnic Chinese are in the minority, Pentecostal churches and cell groups are crucial spaces for social networking, business contacts and identity-making.

Secondly, it has a wide economic appeal suggesting an ability to tap into different concerns and aspirations. For while the megachurch, the most popular incarnation of independent Pentecostalism, is often associated with the middle classes, it has great attraction for the poor and the working class in urban centres like Manila.

Thirdly, the central figure of the charismatic leader in Pentecostal churches means that senior pastors enjoy great deference and sway over large congregations.[13]

South Korea and global desecularization

South Korean churches have embraced the cause of international missions, and they have sent more than 20,000 missionaries throughout the world.[14]

In 2005, according to figures compiled by the South Korean National Statistical Office, 46.5% of the population were classified as irreligious, compared to 22.8% Buddhists, 18.3% Protestants, 10.9% Catholics, and 1.7% Other religions.[15]

John Mark Terry writes in his paper The Growth of Christianity in East Asia:

South Korea represents one of international missions’s great successes. Flying into Seoul at night is a blessing for a Christian. One can see florescent crosses on top of church buildings all over the city. During the 1970s and 80s Christianity grew tremendously in Korea. That explosive growth has slowed now, but Christians comprise 31 percent of the population. The Korean churches have embraced the cause of international missions, and they have sent more than 20,000 missionaries throughout the world. At first these missionaries primarily ministered to Koreans living abroad, but improved missionary training has brought a greater emphasis on crosscultural mission.[16]

Like most atheists, the atheists of South Korea are not sending out atheist activists to other countries to spread atheism around the world (See: Atheism and apathy).

Mongolia and global desecularization

In 2006, the atheist Phil Zuckerman estimated that the irreligious population was 9% in Mongolia.[17]

In the early 1980s there were only a handful of known believers in Mongolia. In 2011, Mongolia per capita sent out more Christian missionaries than any country in the world.[18]

East Asia and aging atheist populations

See also: Global atheism and aging populations and Atheism and fertility rates

An elderly man in Beijing, China. CNBC reported in 2015: "36 percent of the world's population over 65 currently live in East Asia. That's 211 million people and it is projected to rise over time."[19]

CNBC reported in 2015:

If stock market volatility, slowing economies, and low commodity prices were not enough of a problem for East Asia, many countries in the region now have to worry about losing as much as 15 percent of their working-age population by 2040, according to the World Bank.

In a report released Wednesday, the World Bank said aging population and low fertility rates are to blame as 36 percent of the world's population over 65 currently live in East Asia. That's 211 million people and it is projected to rise over time.[20]

According to the global news website Quartz, Asia is going through a process of desecularization:

Atheists, agnostics, and other religious non-affiliates are a dying breed in Asia. According to a Pew Research Center study released last week, Asia’s shrinking pool of men and women who don’t identify with any religion are driving a drop in the proportion of “religious nones” in the world.

The percentage of the unaffiliated in Asia Pacific—home to about 76% of the world’s unaffiliated—will fall to 17% in 2050 from 21%, Pew estimates. ...this drop in Asia and the growth of religious communities elsewhere will mean the unaffiliated will make up only 13% of the world’s population in 2050, down from 16% in 2010.[21]

China's aging population

See also: Growth of Christianity in China

China has the largest atheists population in the world (see: Atheist population). The Chinese population is rapidly aging, due to a lower mortality rate and its former one child policy. This will lead to a pension problem for the Chinese government.[22] See: Asian atheism

Like most religious conservatives within Abrahamic religions, Evangelical Christians do have higher than replacement levels of births (see: Atheism and fertility rates). China's demographics in terms of the age of its population will likely change in the 21st century due to the rapid growth of evangelical Christianity in China (see: Growth of Christianity in China).

Christianity, Asian century and its implications

See: Christianity, Asian century and its implications

See also

Notes

  1. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  2. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
  3. Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival and Revival by Christopher Marsh, 2011, page 11 (Christopher Marsh cites the definitions of desecularization given by Peter L. Berger and Vyacheslav Karpov)
  4. "The largest atheist/agnostic populations". Chris & Terri Chapman. Countries with the largest atheist populations.
  5. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  6. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  7. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  8. Cracks in the atheist edifice, The Economist, November 1, 2014
  9. GlobalPlus: Religion in China By Fenggang Yang
  10. The State Of Pentecostalism In Southeast Asia: Ethnicity, Class And Leadership – Analysis, Eurasia Review
  11. UNDERSTANDING THE RAPID RISE OF CHARISMATIC CHRISTIANITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, Singapore Management University, 2010
  12. UNDERSTANDING THE RAPID RISE OF CHARISMATIC CHRISTIANITY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, Singapore Management University, 2010
  13. The State Of Pentecostalism In Southeast Asia: Ethnicity, Class And Leadership – Analysis, Eurasia Review
  14. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  15. According to figures compiled by the South Korean [[National Statistical Office (South Korea)|]]. 인구,가구/시도별 종교인구/시도별 종교인구 (2005년 인구총조사). NSO online KOSIS database. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.
  16. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  17. Zuckerman, Phil (2006). "Atheism: Contemporary Numbers and Patterns". In Martin, Michael. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 47–66.
  18. Phill Butler : The Mongolia Story
  19. Here's why East Asia could be in big trouble, CNBC
  20. Here's why East Asia could be in big trouble, CNBC
  21. Across the Asia Pacific, the population of atheists and agnostics is shrinking
  22. China's aging population