This news had been out for a while but I read about it again today in Andy's brushed blog. Contrary to the one-percent figure that has been thrown about for years, four percent of Japanese claim to be Christians according to a recent Gallup poll. (Note the correction from six to four percent.) These numbers are in line with what I would guess from my own experience (the church I attend has gone from 15 to over 300 weekly attendees in six years) and with anecdotal evidence I've heard. A web search will uncover many perspectives on the poll's findings. I'll just share briefly what jumped out at me from Gallup's comments on the poll.
"[H]alf of teens say they do not know enough about the teachings of Jesus in order to give an evaluation." Yet, of the two in ten teenagers who claim they have a religion, one-third describe themselves as Christians. This means that about seven percent of Japanese teenagers call themselves Christians! It also leads me to think that if more young people knew the teachings of Jesus, the teenage Christian population would pass ten percent. Gallup says, "Clearly, all-out efforts should be made to increase the awareness and knowledge of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ---through schools . . ." I'm excited to be part of telling young people about the teachings of Jesus. What they choose to do with these teachings is up to them, but I'm glad that my students won't be among those who don't have a basis for evaluation.