Of all continents Asia offers the greatest challenge, yet it poses the deepest enigma. The land in which Jesus Christ was born is at the heart of the “population explosion.” It threatens to engulf the world with sheer numbers. According to a United Nations study, The Future Growth of World Population (1958), “With the present rate of increase, it can be calculated that in 600 years the number of human beings on earth will be such that there will be only one square metre for each to live on.” Nobody expects such a development to take place; but if it did, most of the people would be Asians.
Between now and the end of the century the population of Asia is expected to triple. From this fact alone a revival of the non-Christian religions of Asia (Hinduism, Buddhism, Mohammedanism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and others) would appear inevitable. That revival is in fact already taking place; under the pressure of nationalism the old gods are being renovated and the discarded writings are being re-translated. What is the Christian mission doing to meet this new world development? What strategic steps are being taken to evangelize the Asian world in the next generation?
Because of Asia’s size, our Index is divided into seven sections to present a clear statistical picture of the present religious situation. The Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, Australasia, China and Japan are natural groupings. Korea is considered separately because it fits into none of these bounds, and has a significant sacred history of its own. Japan’s population is not expected to grow as rapidly as other Asian nations. UN reports indicate that Japan’s rate of growth has been radically cut in post-war years by many factors, including government legalizing of abortions.
THE MIDDLE EAST
From the Hellespont to Afghanistan, including Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq and other nations.
Pakistan to the Philippines and Formosa
including Indonesia, New Guinea, Oceania, Australia, New Zealand
North and South
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