It is commonly repeated that only 1% of the Japanese are Christian, but apparently that is wrong. Here is a reported religious breakdown of the religious inclinations of Japan’s 126 million people:
55.2% Buddhists (69,931,454)
25.9% New-Religionists (32,827,640)
10.2% Nonreligious (12,905,945)
3.6% Christians (4,559,573)
2.9% Atheists (3,642,371)
2.1% Shintoists (2,669,167)
So there are actually more Christians than Shintoists in Japan!
Of course, some of those 3.6% ‘Christians’ are foreigners living in Japan and some are Japanese who have joined cults like Catholicism and Mormonism. But nevertheless it is still encouraging to see such a large number of reported Christians in Japan.
Evidently most Japanese who visit the Shinto shrines do so culturally, but are actually Buddhists, or have no religion. In fact, since it is reported elsewhere that polls show two-thirds of the Japanese profess no religion, many nominal Buddhists don’t even take that religion seriously either. And yet it is reported that half the homes in Japan have a Bible.
So there has been a significant erosion of the old religions, the Christians now out-numbers Shintoists, and half the Japanese have the word of God already in their house … what will happen next?
There has also been a recent up-tick in missionary activity to Japan after the 2011 Fukishima earthquake and tsunami disaster. This all combines at this time to create a very interesting situation. Support overseas missions and please pray that we will one day see a harvest for Jesus Christ in Japan.
Just thought I’d jot down a few notes here about religion in Japan, a country that desperately needs Jesus Christ.
In Joshua chapter 17 a certain Levite was hired by a man named Michah to be his personal priest over the graven image he had made. Later, in chapter 18, the priest got recruited by the tribe of Dan to be their priest and father – and he took the graven image along with him.
Another instance is found in 2 Kings 17:26 where the Samaritans where transplanted into northern Israel and the LORD sent mountain lions to attack them. The Assyrians sent a Jewish priest to teach them the manner of the God of the land to stop the attacks. The priest taught them that they should fear the LORD, but they then had an ad-hoc religious jumble, serving both their old gods and the LORD:
“Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. … So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. … So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.” 2 Kings 17:29~41.
Someone has compiled research (Rev. Arimasa Kubo, author of “Lost Tribes of Japan“) showing interesting similarities between “Shinto” – the native folk religion of Japan – and the worship of the true God as found in the Bible. This lead the researcher to conjuncture that the Japanese may be a “lost tribe” of Jews. Read the rest of this entry »
Audio #3 in the Book review series looking at “The Teaching of the Buddha” – Today we look at Buddhism’s illogical nonsense that dares to call common sense and reality “absurd.”
Direct link page.
Update: links corrected.