Is Spirituality on the Rise in Japan?

Is Spirituality on the Rise in Japan?

An interesting editorial was published on the Japan Times online over the weekend – Spirituality is on the rise in Japan.  According to the national livelihood survey done by the Cabinet Office, 64% of Japan are now looking to the spiritual sphere of their lives for fulfillment instead of the material.  The article corroborates what many missiologists and missionaries are saying about Japan in the wake of 3/11, that it is bringing about a new concern for spirituality.

You can read the full article here.

I am afraid that this particular question on the survey may be presenting a bit of a false dichotomy.  In my experience living in Japan, most Japanese do not see spirituality and materialism as incompatible with one another.  I imagine it is hard then for anyone to have to choose one over the other.  Even in the Christian worldview, this issue is not as straightforward as it would seem.  Sure, Christians look to Christ alone for acceptance, joy and salvation, but we also believe that God’s good creation is full of integrity and worth.  So, it is hard to say that I choose Jesus and not his world.  As one of my professors always says,

“God loves stuff, he made his son to be it!”

While this survey may be doomed from birth to say nothing much, I do believe some encouragement can be found here.  It is certainly interesting too see sources like the Japan Times and the Cabinet Office make obserservations similar to what missiologists and missionaries have been saying about Japan this past year – that many Japanese are more open to spiritual avenues in the wake of the economic depression and the disasters of 3/11.

Please pray for the day when more in Japan (and in the US, we are no better here in this regard) would have a biblical view of The Lord and the stuff he has made.  This is a great reminder to not look to material possessions for our satisfaction but also not to see them as utter garbage.  God made good things, and he gives them to us in his kindness and mercy.  It is incumbent upon us as Christians to have a right view of God’s” stuff” for the watching world.  If we do this well, I believe more in all of the nations of the world will be challenged to view the Creator and his creation with a proper distinction.

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