LIVING OUR FAITH IN ASIA'S SOCIAL CONTEXT
Sherman Kuek OSL delivered an excellent paper on living a Christian faith in Asia. Here is the complete text of his lecture.
I. Suffering - the Most Distinct Social Attribute of Asia
Asia is probably the most difficult area of the world to make generalisations about. It is fraught with a series of diverse realities which the Christian church has to constantly grapple with.
1) Asia experiences economic diversity. The polarity of this economic diversity is incredibly broad, ranging from the poverty of Bangladesh (one of the poorest nations in the world) to the wealth of Japan (one of the economically most affluent nations in the world). The majority of the economies are linked to those of the developed world, particularly the West, in a relationship of dependence.
2) Asia experiences political diversity, for within it we find socialist regimes, monarchies and liberal parliamentary democracies. One important trait of Asian politics (which frequently remains little understood by Western political entities) is that the masses of Asia are generally excluded from the decision-making process of society.
3) Asia experiences cultural and religious diversity. Religion is indelibly entrenched within the life and history of Asia. Asia constitutes the homeland of the great religions of the world - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Other religions such as Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism and various less prominent religions also find their birth in Asia.