Christianity is not making a great impact upon the vast numbers who inhabit the Asian countries, and the cause is as much the influence of the West on Asia as the basic resistance to the Gospel of Asians.

In the first place, the West has persistently regarded Asia as a unity, often in the face of contradictory evidence. This has propelled the Asian countries into seeking their own collective identity vis-à-vis the West. It was once remarked of India’s late President Nehru that his strongly anti-American streak was simply the British side of him. And it would be more than a half-truth to say that his pan-Asian feelings were a product of his British education rather than of his actual experience. Today Asians look for common ground with other Asians, and the Western view of Asia is fed back to the West by Japan, India, Formosa, the Philippines, and other Eastern countries.

There has also been a nationalist aftermath, centered in an attempt to keep pan-Asianism alive in order to deal with outside powers. The fact of the cold war has brought tensions into Asia that it might have escaped but for Western fears. And most countries have passed through successive phases of pro-Western, pro-Communist, or neutralist attitudes before gradually rejecting all of these for balanced considerations of national interest.

In this climate Christianity has suffered.

Christianity, seen against the antiquity of the Eastern cultures, is very much a newcomer. And relative to the population, Christians are few. Christianity in Asia largely descends from the work of Roman Catholic missionaries, who began in various places around the year 1500 but did not carry their work forward on a large scale until the nineteenth century; or of Protestant missionaries, ...

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