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February 05, 2004

Praise Jesus!

The World Christian Database is an interactive site that allows you scan info on countries, religions and peoples around the world. Its raison d'Ítre is to help missionaries evangelize those in heathen darkness, but, in the process it offers us a lot of free data that we can sort and filter however we want. For instance, I used it to figure out that of the East African countries where Gujarati merchant clans dominate commerce, those in Uganda are most likely to be Hindu, while those in Madagascar are Muslim. Sometimes you get strange results, for instance, Russia is #11 in a list of nations sorted by absolute numbers of Hindus. It's ahead of Britain, Fiji or Mauritius, nations with large South Asian communities. It seems that the Russian results are fueled by conversions by aggressive Hindu sects like the Hare Krishna-so much so that Hinduism has surpassed Buddhism, though the latter is one of Russia's "traditional" religions (being the religion of the Mongolian peoples from the time of the Czars).

In any case, praise the Lord and pass the data!

Some of the data should be taken with a grain of salt, as it's obviously provided by missionaries in the field who make their own personal judgements. Nevertheless, a great resource if you know how to use it well.

On a similar note, check out The Unreached Peoples Profiles, lots of detailed ethnographic information on peoples who are about to recieve Christ and so of course will blot out 10,000 years of distinctive heathen darkness after baptism into the faith of the Great White God. But at least the missionaries are recording their pagan practices for posterity. Here you can find that in Vietnam, the Cham ethnic group, which is split between Islam and Hinduism, differs sharply in their attitude toward Christianity. The latter (the Hindus) have a large Christian convert community, while the Muslims are resistant and allow no converts. If Muslims & Christians worship the same god, why is that the children of Abraham have such a hard time converting each other, and must look to idolaters?

Posted by razib at 04:56 PM