I came from a country where the number of Christians is estimated to be fewer than one percent of its total population. There are a couple of major reasons why Christianity has not taken root in Japan. The fundamental reason is that Shintoism, Japan’s native religion, is considered to have been in existence since the dawn of the nation, long before any other religion came to exist, including Christianity. It has deep roots in Japan’s culture. For instance, to celebrate New Year’s Day each year, many people visit Shinto shrines, although most do not visit them for the rest of the year. It is akin to those Christians who visit churches only during Christmas.
There is also a series of events that took place in Asia during the 16th and 17th centuries that explains “the nail in the coffin” resistance against Christianity. I explained it in my two-part review of Martin Scorsese’s movie, “Silence.”
Despite my deep-rooted cultural background from Japan, for the last few decades, I have been finding myself increasingly drawn to Christianity. We live in a time in history when many are finding it easier to go with the flow and join the crowd who persecute Christians. If you are one of them, stop and think about what you are doing. Transport yourself back in history. Imagine what you would do if you were living in Germany when Nazis were starting to establish power.
Here is a sobering statistic. According to Michael Youssef, in his 2016 book, “End Times and the Secret of the Mahdi,” more Christians have been persecuted in the last 100 years than in the previous 1900 years combined. I have been noticing the trend right here in the U.S.A. Are you one of those who are guilty as charged, persecuting them? If so, STOP, before having to regret your subsequent actions against another human being.
Throughout history, in many parts of the world, Christians have not only been persecuted but murdered by those who think nothing of taking out the lives of their fellow human beings. Yet, Christianity has survived for centuries. There must be a good reason for it. What could it be? I believe it is the Bible itself and its teachings.
Clue #1: “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” Mark 12:31
During the time in history when prejudice was the norm in society, who were those instrumental in abolishing slavery? Christians, such as William Wilberforce, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, just to name a few.
Clue #2: “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…,” Declaration of Independence
Who signed the Declaration of Independence? Fifty-six Founding Fathers, many of whom were Christians.
Clue #3: “Love thy enemy,” Matthew 5:44
Among the many valuable life lessons in the Bible, to me, “love thy enemy” is the most profound teaching of Christianity. For most of us mere mortals, it is extremely difficult to reach the point of loving our enemy.
One such example of historical significance is that, after winning World War II, the U.S.A. did not colonize Japan. On the contrary, America helped feed and rebuild its former enemy. Having suffered heavy casualties of its own during the war, who chose to forgive the former enemy and do what America did? Christians of the Allied Forces, such as President Harry S. Truman and General Douglas MacArthur, just to name a few.
By the way, have you noticed that in every single clue, noted above, those who did the right thing for future generations of humanity happened to be white males? Those who lump together all white males as a group and demonize them as racists should research and verify, for themselves, these irrefutable historical facts. Obviously, there are bad white males, just as there are among any racial categories of people. Lumping together and labeling all white males as racists, instead of looking at each as a unique and independent soul, is the very definition of racism. Let that sink in if you truly care about abolishing racism.
The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States of America (1787) helped improve the lives of all humans from all walks of life, not just the select few. They are the reasons most first-generation immigrants of all racial backgrounds are eternally grateful to this country.
As a teenager, when I used to dream of someday coming to America, the striking image I had of America was that people of all ages seemed happy with genuine smiles that, in my home country, could be seen only among innocent children. Ever since arriving in the U.S.A. in 1972, the image of the happiness level that I had observed from halfway around the world turned out to be real. This was true up to 9/11/2001, at least.
In an ironic twist, the perpetrators of 9/11 – Islamists – helped crystalize in my mind what was so magical about America. The high level of happiness quotient in this country results from the fact that early settlers, recent settlers (including myself), and all the way to the most recent immigrants have something in common. We all escaped from the old world’s class-consciousness and often oppressive environment. Of our own free will, each of us came to the new world to do whatever it takes to enjoy freedom. This has been the energy source of the American society. Its snowball effect is what became the American Dream. The early settlers’ reason for risking their lives to come here was to practice and enjoy religious freedom. Their primary religion was Christianity. It is based on this historical backdrop that the Constitution guarantees religious freedom for all.
It has been my observation, as an outsider looking in for nearly half a century, that American Christians and churches have been bending over backward to the point of enabling other religious sects, most notably Islamists, to take advantage of the original intent of the Founding Fathers. It is time for Christian churches and the rest of us who believe in the Constitution to say, “Enough is enough.”
Any public schools that teach Islam but ban Christianity must be stopped immediately. Any schools and universities that do not enforce the First Amendment rights of students and faculty must be levied heavy financial penalties, including complete defunding.
I came to America to fulfill my childhood dreams. I did not come here to be influenced by a religion – about which I knew nothing until 9/11 – whose ultimate objective is to kill off all infidels and conquer the world. If you find yourself dismissing what you just read, you have not studied enough about Islam. Do not let anyone fool you; Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam and Western philosophy are not compatible with each other. Just ask any Muslim; they will be the first to agree with that statement. Again, you need not take my word for it; research world history yourself to verify.
I take solace in the knowledge that the majority of Americans are Christians (roughly 70%). America has the capacity to tolerate all religions so long as (1) they respect and uphold the Constitution of the United States, (2) they abide by American laws, (3) they respect the American flag for which it stands, and (4) last but not least, they do not abuse and/or kill those who disagree with their beliefs. The penalty for those who commit murder based on religious beliefs must be severe and swift.
As an adult immigrant, I am on the side of Christians who helped create the greatest experiment for humanity the mankind has ever known – the United States of America – which was built solidly on Christian philosophy.