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Discussion on why Christianity failed to gain popularity in modern Japan?

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Introduction

PART 2(b) : Discussion on why Christianity failed to gain popularity in modern Japan? As stated in the part 2a, the number of christians in Japan is only around 1% today. It led us to wonder why Christianity which is gaining increasing influence in many parts of the world has failed to gain a strong foothold in Japanese culture. A research on this topic was hence carried out and the reasons could be grouped into two categories, the push factors and the lack of pull factors. * PUSH FACTORS Lack of unity among the churches. The church is no longer as nationalistic as it once was, but the repercussions of the nationalistic influence are still visible today in the broad polarization of the church. Most hard feelings between liberal, pro-war, pro-peace, pro-America groups, pro-communism and conservative may have subsided. However, the sectarian nature of the church remains. Churches literally within shouting distance often do not know of each other much less relate to each other The reason for the lack of unity among Japanese churches could be due to the insider-outsider mentality inherent to Japanese culture. ...read more.

Middle

This may make some churches apprehensive at least at the sub-conscious level about receiving new members. However, those congregations that are eager to receive new comers are often too eager. "To visit a Japanese church is tantamount to requesting membership. Many churches have visitors fill out a name card in the entry way and even introduce them in the middle of the worship service. Of course this is meant to be welcoming, but for a new comer it can seem overwhelming. Furthermore, a typical Sunday at a Japanese church does not convey the notion of a day of rest. Rather, it is often a day long affair that includes worship, corporate lunch and meetings. In this sense, the church is missing the opportunity to model of living differently, from the workaholism so typical in contemporary Japan * LACK OF PULL FACTORS. Out of step with the modern generation. Through the economic recession of the 1990s the church continued to focus much of its energy on maintenance overwhelmed by the vast pluralistic free market of spirituality. This contributed to a continuing reactionary stance over against the culture at large. ...read more.

Conclusion

Part of the reason for this is the church's tendency to look inward. "Its concerns are for theological purity, Bible study, local church administration to people outside the church, these matters are of no interest and appear merely as ingrown self-interest. This makes the church irrelevant to outsiders from the earliest stages of inquiry. "Japanese pastors are characteristically orthodox in theology, faithful to the traditional Christian doctrines and capable and earnest in teaching the Bible However, the over-emphasis on intellectualism and purity has contributed to the general failure to connect the meaning of the gospel with daily living. Summing up, the broader church in Japan at the end of the millennium is experiencing negative growth, is profoundly lacking in zeal, and seems to be digging in its heels further in a mode of survival. To revive Christianly, a new church needs to be formed. A church which can embrace religious pluralism without violating the authenticity of Christ, which is willing to discard many of the attributes of established religion in the process of developing authentic communities of faith that can embrace their multiplicity in the spirit of unifying Christian love, a love that heals spiritually, emotionally and physically and changes the society around them. ...read more.

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