Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2014 Volume 10 :: Article 2
2014 Volume 10, Article 2
Christian Conversion and Cultural Incongruity in Asia

Author: Rodney Stark (Baylor University) and Xiuhua Wang (Baylor University)

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Data from a large national survey of China confirm that it is the best-educated Chinese who are most likely to have converted to Christianity. We argue that this is the result of spiritual deprivation generated by the cultural incongruity that was produced when the rapid industrial and technological modernization of China was juxtaposed against traditional Chinese religious and philosophical perspectives. The best-educated Chinese are the ones who are most apt to perceive this incongruity and respond accordingly - some by converting to Christianity and many by abandoning Buddhism and other traditional faiths. We then examine five other rapidly industrializing Asian nations and find support in each for the cultural incongruity explanation.

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