Buddhism - Lesson 16


Guest lecturer, Todd Johnson, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, founder of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

Lesson 16
Watching Now

Penetrating the Buddhist Heart

Part 6

IV. globalchristianity.org

Guest lecturer: Todd Johnson

Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary


In this course, you will gain an in-depth understanding of Buddhism, including its historical background, key concepts, and major branches. You will explore the life and teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, and learn about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Additionally, you will examine the differences between the major branches of Buddhism, such as Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, and learn about various Buddhist practices and beliefs, including meditation, karma, rebirth, and the role of the Sangha. Lastly, you will study how Christians can bring hope to Buddhists by sharing the truths of God's character and the salvation of His Son. 


Dr. Timothy Tennent
Lesson Transcript


We're not going to have time for the last lecture on Buddhism in America. So what I want to do is just kind of introduce you to the outline real brief. If you could just give me a minute to introduce that and then we're going to, of course, turn over to you. But I do want to say a word about this lecture, which we would have had. Can I just could you help me to pass these out just for a second? Tom, Thank you. Buddhism is all over the web, and I would encourage you to take some time to go over this. This right here, this picture sent me roaring, because I think this is very typical of what the image is being produced. You have here on a major website, a obviously Western woman trying to present a very appealing conception of Buddhism. You don't have the Himalaya mountains in the background. You have a big US city. But notice carefully, she's not in the lotus position, all right? Her leg would have this would have to be all the way through here. On top of that and this foot over here that she's just sitting cross-legged. And notice also carefully, look at the numbers, Kara Woodrow there. You know, isn't it strange about it, huh? Well, the two hands is appropriate. It's off center. There's no no Buddhist teacher that would allow for this. This is not Buddhism. This is a woman and a cross like position. That's it. All right. In a way, it shows the whole Americanization. And that picture, to me, symbolizes what's happened as Buddhism's come west. It's been re articulated. It's made light. The whole posturing, centering, kind of careful mega analysis of exact breath, posture and all that is out the window.


And some of this And essentially what I do in the website is to and then when I have time to look at it. But to show you that in the West you have basically two huge streams of Buddhism that are out there as a general rule. One is the whole so-called gawky thing we discuss, which is mainly around Amitava. And so you have the invocation of Strand is very strong and some incredible website. We don't have time to look at this, but just if I can find some of the these are people on pilgrimage right in the US. This is an example of this. My website about our essential practice is the voice of the name of Amida Buddha, not the name Bootsy. We discuss very, very popular in the websites we don't trust in ourselves we trust in and salvation of another. The other is the meditator Buddhism, mainly arising from the writings of D.T. Suzuki, who promoted Zen in the West and the meditative is a very different feel toward this is all based on compassion of another, the whole conception of vicarious ness. Prayer is the word. Prayer is used. The Buddhist churches of America, even though they clearly define prayer and these websites, if I can give you some example, the purpose of protest prayers to awaken our inherent inner capacities. Da da da da da. This is not any kind of we're not petitioning external forces. There's no question. This is not prayers. We would define it. This is something else going on, but relying upon the inner forces to work this. So this whole in vocational and meditative streams are very strong. I have some websites you can look at to see on the Zen side, where you can see what's been put out there on the behalf of Zen.


So it's pretty dominant, prevalent. And I want you to take that outline and kind of get a feel for that. But I want to take the rest of our time. Maybe if you could leave us a cup into the end to say a few words about the exam, but the remainder of our lecture time be given over to my good colleague, who has Todd Johnson, who has done so much empirical research about Christianity around the world with the World Course encyclopedia and also studying how this has worked. This would be Buddhism empirically, and he himself has spent a lot of time in Singapore and other parts of the world to study this. So I thought would be appropriate if we took some time and invite Todd Johnson in to talk about kind of global Buddhism, what he's seeing empirically around the world today. So please, our great, great Dr. Johnson, please come and share with us. So ladies and gentlemen, here is Todd Johnson. You know what we're going to add about I'm here partly because I'm working on a presentation that I'm giving in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to a network of Christians who are interested in reaching Buddhists. And they asked me last year I was there and they asked me if I would come this next year and do something on global Buddhism. Because it's important. Obviously, if you're going to reach Buddhist as a Christian, you first have to understand where they live and who they are and all that sort of thing. Actually, Bobby and I, we're going to be writing a paper. This is the first half of the paper which has all the empirical side, and then together we're going to try to figure out exactly what it means.


We have a couple of more weeks to do that. And anything that you say today can and will be used in our paper. So we appreciate any input you might have. I'll pass out these tables for you. This is something that you can keep. You can't publish these. I don't imagine you have any designs for that, but I thought I'd at least put that on the front because we haven't yet finished this and we're going to be publishing it pretty soon. So maybe you can get a hold of the article when it comes out in a book later. But maybe a couple of things to say about Buddhism as a global religion. I enjoyed this little book here. I don't know if you've seen this is a new book by Oxford University Press called None Other than Global Religions. And there's a chapter on each of the major world religions in here. It's actually pretty good. It gives a rationale for why you would even talk about something such as global Buddhism. And basically the rationale is quite simple. Buddhism, of course, started in one place, but within a few hundred years was in many different places through the largely through the efforts of certain individuals who studied the history of Buddhism. So, you know what I'm talking about here. So even relatively early on in world history, you might say that Buddhism was at least trans national. All right. Then later on you have the appropriation of what you're just talking about a minute ago, appropriation of Buddhism outside the heartlands of Buddhism, you know, in Europe and America, Australia, places like that. That's another way in which Buddhism is global and probably one of the most significant today, although the other most significant way that Buddhism is global is that Buddhists themselves from the heartlands have been moving in large numbers to the United States, to Australia, Europe.


So there's really several kinds of Buddhism that one can find in a place like the United States of America, which you were just talking about again. So in those three ways and it's it's sort of it's growth from the center, it's appropriation later on by Westerners, and then the fact that Buddhists themselves have moved in large numbers outside of the heartlands of Buddhism. So you have those three things going on. One thing that I found interesting in this book is that the author on Buddhism talks about something that's quite parallel with Christianity, and that is that Buddhism has an identity as a local religion of a particular people or ethnic group, but it also has a unity as a global religion. And that's a very Christian idea too, for us. That's Andrew Walls concept of the indigenization principle of Christianity, so that Christianity is unique to each ethnic group and the way that it grows up within ethnic and linguistic boundaries. But he also talks about a pilgrim principle, which is the fact that all Christians are unified by the fact that none of us are really at home here on the Earth. So we're very, very much local and we're very global at the same time. And the author in this book brings out that fact about Buddhists as well, that they have that dynamic is in Buddhist cosmology, I guess, or the way of the Buddhist worldview allows for a heavily indigenous and global approach, which is one interesting area of commonality. Now I'll use these tables. Yeah, we've got I'm going to have to keep one. I guess you can pass those out. These are printed on paper, obviously, but you see some of these tables you could actually investigate for yourself.


And that's because most of you know perhaps that our world Christian database went online about four or five weeks ago and all you have to do is go to global Christianity dot org or world Christian database dot org, and you'll find yourself in a place where you can look at Buddhism from many different points of view by country, by people, by language, all sorts of ways. So and in fact, I'm hoping if you find something on here that interests you, that you can go and investigate, because I have given you the most minimal information here. But in any of these countries or peoples, you can click on them and there's a whole bunch of additional information for you. So you can link this to the web if you'd like. A quick way to get to a particular people group, by the way, would be to just simply go to the website and type that. Name in our Google type search that we have on the front, and it will go straight to that people as one of the possibilities. So that might be of interest to you. Okay, let's start out in the first page or I should say table one. This is something that I'm developing. I don't know that there's a literature on this. There certainly is literature supporting the idea, but the terminology I'm going to use in Chiang Mai, I'm borrowing from an article we just wrote for the Encyclopedia of Protestantism, which is the idea that there is a core Protestant community and a wider Protestant community. The core being, you know, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc., and the wider community being like the Chinese House churches, which are not really Protestant, but actually a lot of people call them Protestant. They're independent in our taxonomy, but they're really part of wide the wider Protestant community, if you want to put the net out wider.


And I thought really Buddhism, when you talk about only 300 and what is it? Here, let's see if I can, if it's on here. Yeah. 363 million Buddhists in the world that really is not representative of the impact that Buddhism has had as a religion on the whole world. So what I did here, I added in to the core Buddhists. I've added in Chinese folk, religion is the popular religion in China, which consists of Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. Depending on what part of your life, if you're getting married or dying or being born, you know that it depends on where you're at in your life as to which religion is is utilized. But Buddhism has no doubt had an overwhelming impact on the Chinese worldview. So in one sense, even popular religionists could be called Buddhists, at least in that wider sense. And that got me to thinking something that I had heard from someone that most of the non-religious, you know, the people who have embraced communism in one sense are now they're not party members and they're not atheists, but they've at least been brought up in that worldview that there is no God. I think there's good evidence that even in their lives, the Chinese worldview has had an impact, and that brings in a whole lot of other people. If you say that even the non-religious are Buddhists to a certain degree, and I received confirmation of this actually from a fellow who studies Chinese religion at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I just met him a few days ago at the American Academy of Religion in Atlanta, and he said this is definitely the case, maybe not so much with atheists now who have really gone deliberately over. And that's about 100 million in China.


But there's 500 million non-religious who say we're following basically the communist line here. But their lives are also very heavily impacted by Buddhism. And they will show up at temples from time to time and that sort of thing. So that's an explanation of what you see here. And you can see that the result of saying that there is such a thing is wider Buddhism, is that suddenly you're talking about 1.27, 8 billion people. All right. That's under wider Buddhism in Taiwan in the year 2000. All right. So that's a lot of people. And that's just behind Islam that so Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, it kind of knocks Hinduism out. And Hinduism is a little more difficult to think of in terms in these in similar terms. I don't think it would be that many people, even if you took the Hindu impact in the West. And I really haven't built into this particular table what you saw up on the screen there of Americans, let's say, or Europeans who are practicing Buddhism in some shape or form, which include actually in this country, the the community that has gone the farthest and that is Jews. I don't know if you realize there's there's a lot of literature out on Buddhist Jews and Jewish Buddhists and so on. So that's one area that I could add into it, but I don't think the numbers are all that significant. There's not really many cross legged women with their hands slightly to one side like that. I mean, there's not a lot of those people. It'd be similar then with Hinduism to talk about yoga and so on and so forth, but that's something I probably need to do. I'm going to include it in the paper, but it's not really in these figures here.


So here you have kind of an outline of what's happening. You'll notice that core Buddhism has been shrinking from almost 8% of the world's population in 1900 and projected to be just about a little over 5% 50 years from now. I'm not sure about that, actually. There's some things that have been happening recently. I'm about to go back and do a whole bunch. Of the revisions in the next eight weeks. And I'm wondering about this because when I was in Singapore, one of the things that has happened is that from the 1980 to the 1990 to the 2000 census, there's been an enormous jump in the number of people who identify themselves as Buddhists. Wish I had the figures in front of me. It's startling, and it's partly the result of Buddhist missions, but it's it's sort of almost like a Buddhist renaissance of a type. If that sort of thing hits China, for example, then these numbers are all going to change because it's really the impact of folk religion and of atheism and non religion that is squelching the numbers of Buddhists. It's the whole thing of children, like even in Singapore, of the children of Buddhist parents who are learning to speak English and who are becoming Christians in large numbers. And so both Buddhism, at least up until recently, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion, were thought to be disappearing in a place like Singapore and really a national crisis and talked a lot about in the press and that sort of thing. So this gives you an idea. And of course, even here, even wider Buddhism, which surprisingly would have included almost a third of the world's population in 1900, which was also the percentage of Christians. So in a sense, the world in 1900 with this wider definition, because there are so many Chinese folk, religion is essentially would have been a third Buddhist and a third Christian, and I think only about 12 and a half percent Muslim.


So the world we live in today, now Muslims are approaching 20%. So you have or over 20%, you have quite a change. The world is much more Muslim today than it was 100 years ago and less Buddhist. But again, that what you're seeing here is what I felt last year. And it may change next year if there's evidence for a Buddhist renaissance. I'm still looking into that. And it may be a little early to even detect it in a place like China. Some of you know, there's a book that was just published I just finished a review of called Jesus in Beijing How Christianity is Transforming China. And one of the things I wrote in my review, this is David Ackerman's new book. One of the things I wrote in the review is that what's not pointed out in the book is how the same thing that's impacting Christianity could impact the other religions. Do you know the changes in China might cause Buddhism or Islam or popular religion to rise? And that's something I'm going to be watching closely in the coming years. So that's just for your own. Just so you have a lot of context as you look at this. This is not final in stone. It's just where we are at right now. So there's lots of caveats. But I think the most interesting thing about this would be how enormous Buddhism is. If you widen the definition a little bit. That's the main point to make because it always comes out quite small in a list with all the other religions. Okay, next table two. Now, going back to core Buddhism, here's the top 20 Buddhist countries, and you'll notice that most of that 363 million are in those 20 countries.


So anything, you know, you're getting down to under a half a million in size here. Not too surprising that China is a country with the most Buddhists, even on the core definition. But of course, you add in non-religious and Chinese folk religionists, and that's a billion people. So that would make China even larger and it wouldn't do much with the other countries, really in Japan, Thailand. One thing that might be a little surprising here is how far up the list the US is. And this number of 2.5 million is under constant revision. It's almost always going up every time that I revisit the question, and it's largely the immigrant communities in the United States, the Cambodians, the Vietnamese, Japanese, so forth. So that's something to consider there. And I guess Russia would be the next. And that's actually not immigration. That's a few groups of people that have been Buddhist for at least a couple of hundred years. All right. You can look those up if you're interested in who they are. Next in table three. Now, let's talk about countries that are the most the highest percentage, Buddhists, not just the most Buddhist. And then you find that Cambodia is right up there in the top with Thailand. And in fact, this is Southeast Asia, South Asia, pretty much in the first part of the list there with another surprise would be Australia coming within the top 20. But that's because it's over 2% Buddhists, that's the highest percentage, Buddhist one. Western country. Okay. So you've got a sense of what's going on there. All right. Any questions about these two or comments? Yeah, these are the percentages on table two and three are just corporate people when it comes to the wider. That's right.


It's a little harder to do the other. It's not impossible. But you could almost do it yourself. Actually, you could. You could do it yourself. It's just a little tricky. I mean, I'm talking about on our website because I just did this myself on the website, went there and sorted them, you know, either by raw numbers or by percentages. So this is just the beginning of the whole bunch of things you could do. And you can add all sorts of other criteria if you wanted to filter out places like Christmas Island, for example, which is tiny, you know, 419 Buddhists, you know, might be that you want to go there. It's interesting place, but it's just off of Australia, quite a ways off of Australia. Okay, Table four. Now let's move from countries to peoples ethno linguistic peoples and talk about the largest Buddhist peoples, or these are peoples with the largest number of Buddhists. Because again, it depends on what you're sorting by. This is sorted by Buddhists and this is core Buddhists, which now puts the Japanese on the top and then the Chinese next Han Chinese and then Vietnamese, Burmese, Thai. So this is core Buddhism here. You can see it just looking down the list here, I don't believe there are too many surprises in this list. Well, one thing is, of course, that the way that I did this is just looking at the raw number of Buddhists. It doesn't matter what percentage of the overall people is Buddhist, but you can see even on the second one, the Chinese, which is this is the big Han Chinese block, there's 26 other Han Chinese groups in China, but this is only 7% Buddhist and yet comes out number two on the list.


It's because the group itself is so large. All right. Now, if we slightly alter that and we take the top Buddhist peoples that are over 5% Buddhists and we consider all of the people that are in the group as the way that we're going to sort it. You can now see it's sorted by the population in 2000 and the Chinese come out on top in this way and it just changes the order a little bit. Now we're saying what are the largest peoples in the world who are at least over 5% Buddhists? That's a different kind of list. And you again, you can change the criteria if you wanted those that are over 30% or majority Buddhists, that's another possibility. You can see there's no end to the way that you can utilize something like this. I'm just trying to point out, you know, well, what is Buddhism? Who are the Buddhists of the world? And if we look at countries, peoples, this is the way we begin to see it. Now, table six takes us into a whole nother area. And this is maybe more interesting to you, and this is one of many variables that are in our analysis because again, we study Christianity first and we study evangelism tools that Christians use in evangelizing the world. And we study how do these tools impact the peoples of the world, which then, of course, enables us to talk about what are Christians doing related to Buddhists? All right. In one sense, this table six jumps ahead a couple of other stages, because now we've got a composite index that we've designed, which is called evangelism responsiveness, which is nothing more than the number of baptisms in a particular year, divided by the number of hours of evangelism.


Not quite that straightforward, but essentially that's what it is. So for a certain number of hours of evangelism, you get a certain number of baptisms. And this is useful in a comparative sense, because then you can start to see, well, who is responding more quickly to evangelism? And it turns out these numbers actually you have to sort of know the range. That first number, 2803, is very, very high indeed. I think the highest number in the world is 3000 something. And just as for comparison, you know, Russians or USA, White or whatever would be around 20. So what we're saying here would be that the can people of Bhutan who probably weren't in the newspaper today, are actually 100 times more responsive to the gospel than anybody in Hamilton. Now, that's counterintuitive, you see, because the Buddhist and Muslim and Hindu peoples have always been considered in the last century, let's say, as resistant to the gospel. We're hoping to overturn that based on the evidence that these people are actually more responsive. It's just that no one ever ends up going there or doing anything. You know, the only people that have been to Bhutan recently went for short trips, especially Westerners. Of course, there's Nepalis living there and working there, although they've had great difficulty in the last six months. But the point being that this might be a little bit surprising as to where you might want to go if you're looking for responsive Buddhist peoples based on the evidence so far less equivocal. Yeah, obviously really important point you're making, and I think it's helpful. But I want to ask in terms of personal research, a person, Hamilton, statistically speaking, has been overcome by thousands of potential gospel presentations because of radio and literature and on and on and on.


But the actual people in Hamilton may not have been exposed to any of that. So how do you, empirically speaking, talk about Hamilton meaningfully as opposed to the hon. The can people who may have only had one person talk, one or two people talk to them, but because one of them responded without being, empirically speaking, very significant. Yeah. How do you actually practically address that? Well, first of all, I'm all for talking to people in Hamilton, so I'm not really saying anything about what should or shouldn't be done in Hamilton. I'm mainly saying look at what is happening in Britain so that maybe what is one clarification and the other is something that we haven't studied as carefully. But we did note in our work. By the way, this is explained in great detail, more than you'd ever want to see in world Christian trends. So, you know, it's hard to just throw this concept out and then try to make sense of it when it's described. Page after page after page of what? How we developed that, what we do mean and don't mean and all that. But this is actually one important point because what tends to happen as you get to the lower responsiveness is that you're getting oversaturation and an oversaturated situation. Things become difficult and people don't respond because what they have heard is conflicting, you know, between televangelists and and what's in the newspaper and and what colleagues they happen to meet. Some good, some not Christian colleagues, some good, not good. So what I'm saying is that there's so much it's almost like, well, it's the post-Christian idea to you know, the people in Bhutan are in a pre-Christian situation. People in Hamilton are in a post-Christian situation.


So it kind of makes it difficult, I think, and this is discussed, by the way, and none other than the Boston Globe yesterday. I don't know if you saw that the magazine there's the cover of The Boston Globe magazine was God Squad, talking about evangelical groups at Harvard and MIT Northeastern. And it talks in this term that used to be they're saying it's it's starting to become fashionable to be an evangelical in New England, but it hasn't been for a long time for the following reasons. So it's an interesting article and it it's part of the discussion about what to expect from a person in Hamilton or Cambridge. Cambridge is more complicated because there's probably people from Bhutan and Cambridge, so not so many in Hamilton, but I don't know if that's helpful except yeah, to say that I'm an advocate for reaching people in Hamilton and I wouldn't, you know, go into CVS and say, I'm not going to talk to you because you're not from Bhutan. You know, I wouldn't do so. So so I think there's an openness there. How do you go about picturing powers of evangelism? It's an approximation, of course, and it's not nearly as difficult as it sounds because so much information is collected on radio broadcasting. We've come up with some formulas of how you would translate, you know, the presence of the New Testament into ours, and that's probably the more difficult part. But a lot of evangelism is actually measured in terms of hours because of the nature of what's done. So enumerate 45 different kinds of evangelism. And for every language group, it actually makes it easy because most of this evangelistic outreach is measured by language. Therefore, it matches quite well to an ethno linguistic classification.


That's the reason it's possible, is because the data is so, so much based on language. So that's the short answer. The long answer, it takes up more pages, but that's basically what we do. Okay, now let's turn the page to table seven. Now, if we say another thing that's important is that this be a lot of people because you noticed a lot of those other groups in table six were quite small. Now they have to be more than a million in size as a whole. There might be less than a million Buddhists, as you can see, but these peoples are all mega peoples, which is peoples over a million in size and the list changes slightly. And then you get things like Vietnamese in the United States showing up on this list. I don't have the percent Christian of all these groups on this chart, but it's certainly in the database. Vietnamese in this country, I believe. Oh dear. I think they're well over 15% Christian or something like that. They're more like seven or eight or nine back in Vietnam. But and they're mostly Catholic Vietnam. But here they're it's different. There's there's been a lot of church planting and whatnot. And that has shown these people to be quite responsive to the gospel. All right. That's what we're getting at there. Again, just a little different way of looking at it now if we move. The table. Yeah, go ahead. Now, when you're talking about the the combo people, for example, I interpreted this to me, the combo of people as they're only found in China. That's correct. Any combo there? Any way that diaspora. That's right. So what? Yeah. Responsiveness or lack of it, of a combo. Living anywhere else out of China is not reflected here.


Not precisely. But if there's a combo New Testament, for example, then we would. It doesn't matter if they live in Nepal or Hong Kong or Japan or USA, they would still get credit for having a New Testament. See, this is where the approximation comes in because distribution patterns differ, but the data doesn't. There isn't that detailed of information on distribution. So we're a little bit dependent, but we're conservative in every case. We're saying can't have the New Testament and not have an impact. Let me just express the point. I'm sure that someone who had a radio, just hypothetically, a radio ministry to central central Tibetan people who lived in the Bronx. Mm hmm. And that was their ministry. They had a radio block blasting them all day long. Now, that would not be reflected at all in this chart, because that's only directed to people outside of the high control, the Chinese context. That's correct. But if there's enough Kamba or Central Tibetans in the Bronx, then they would show up in our USA table. And if our information is that detail, which it is, in some cases, they would get credit. They'd get evangelism hours for radio broadcasting, which the combat back in China would not get, and that would change the formula. And in fact, it the obviously, the less evangelism and the more baptisms, the more responsive. Right. I mean, so getting more this is part of the reason that Western people in Christian countries don't aren't considered very responsive. It's just the sheer amount of evangelism that goes on in these places means that it's not even mathematically possible for them to be this responsive. So it is partly a mathematical construct which has, you know, you get a tiny little group, like you say, with one person who responses responds and they get a high response rate.


That's math. That's maybe not reality, although. Well, it is reality. You know, one out of ten people becomes a Christian. You know, 10% of the people group is Christian. You can't get around that kind of thing. You just have to be careful at that level. But you're right. In fact, you could see this if we took a single group like the Uzbeks or Kazak, somebody that you'd find in 30, 40, 50 countries and you printed them out, you'd see their response rates are different in every country because the data is different in every country. So that's a good insight. And you might find, hey, they're really responsive in Turkey, but not as responsive somewhere else. And you might say to yourself, if you really were serious and you're trying to decide between two places, maybe I had to go to Turkey, not based on that alone, but, you know, as part of your the information that you're utilized. All right. Yes. Well, with this data, we look up his chart and see that he said Bhutan is probably. Respond to that. The Americans are less responsive. And that's something I guess actually you can grab a hold to and say. This is, I guess, a very good idea to hear the president saying go in America by ship, are you? He's not. It needs in American culture that people are under the is there's nothing in Bhutan with you saying that there's something about the absolute perfect culture in good times is making people hungrier more for the gospel their. Both. I mean, both. Both things are happening. If you're trying to understand the United States and its responsiveness to the gospel, this analysis is part of the picture. But you'd need a lot more information to really understand what's going on.


And like I said earlier, it doesn't say don't work in the United States. It's really saying don't call the people on the other side of the world. We're resistant. But that's what we're saying. Okay. So we have particular problems in the United States related to saturation and and that kind of a thing, which means that a lot of new things need to be tried, probably. Well, it does mean that. And in fact, the article yesterday in The Boston Globe was talking about how different church looks in these young outreaches than it does in New England as a whole. Now, there's some of that's good and some of it's not, but it would give you some clues as to what needs to happen in this country. So, again, I think we're trying to say with this more about the neglected response of groups than we are about the saturated groups. If that's helpful, I don't know. Okay. Let's see. Tables eight and nine. We just have a couple more minutes. Now we can do things like saying, well, what about Buddhists who don't have the Jesus felt and I probably ought to email this to Paul Eshelman, who I know in in Campus Crusade, because if you want to do something about Buddhists, this would be one area where trance translation should take place among these particular peoples. And in fact, I'm going to work with him on a way in which you can look at responsiveness and lack of Jesus film, the correlations where they might want to be doing more work rather than just following the donor base, for example. And here's an example of this. Someone gave a whole bunch of money so that every home in Alabama would have a Jesus film.


Okay, well, good, good, good for them. But that was a lot of money used for everybody in Alabama. Could have a Jesus film. In the meantime, these people got no Jesus film. It is a limited resource. It isn't as though you can have your cake and eat it too. You got to have BTG going on. But it right now it doesn't. It's just whoever happens to give, you know, then things move in that direction. That in a nutshell is our mission problem. Okay? That's where things just go, where people think they should go without reference to the data. I'm not saying the date. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm not saying that. That you should, you know, look at this chart and decide what to do with your life. I'm just saying somebody ought to look at these charts and somebody had to decide something. I don't. Can't tell you who it is or what, but it isn't meaningless. You know, that's. Anyway, that's what I'm trying to get to in our next semester in the contemporaneous theology class. This is one of the issues that will be discussed because missions is often driven by money, by donors who do not know a thing about missions. And that that's a great example right there. I mean, I think that's a great question and it needs a lot more reflection. So thank you for writing it. All right. And in the context of our Buddhists here that we're studying, okay, then how about no scriptures? And that's table nine. And these are hard to determine ahead of time. But actually, this is the first what you're seeing is the first time that this has ever been able to be done. In other words, we, you know, our office and our team put together this encyclopedia.


We put Christian resources and Christians in relation to Buddhists and others. But even I didn't see until very recently all that could be done with this as far as strategic planning goes. So no one has ever produced a list of Buddhist peoples without the Scriptures until the one that you're looking at right now, because that data was not complete until and not accessible until five weeks ago. So so this is a brand new way of looking at the world. Yes. This is this just as a whole talking about scriptures and spiritual. It excludes the same people that has lost a translating. Yeah, good point. I probably need to make that point here. This is nothing. See, they always measure by portions, which is like the gospel of John and then New Testament, which you all know, and then the whole Bible. And this means no portions. Good point. Yes. I have idea. People on Capitol Hill may never be all excited about freedom. And just yet again, what I'll be doing is going back, making lots of changes, correct? Well, it's also quite complicated again, because, like you say, governments not in this case, of course, but governments tend to tell people what they are and not let them say who they are, which is why we have very different figures than the government of India or Nepal. For Christians, for example, especially India, which I'm having defend Yale later this week. That's very helpful. That's that's the what we try to do. We try to let people identify themselves rather than let others identify them. But what happens is it's a continual process of unearthing facts like you're talking about here. So that's very helpful. One of the one of the difficulties, I'll just say in passing is that a lot of it has to do with defining what is core Buddhism, because as I say, in the class, core core Buddhism shades and to folk religion in Southeast Asia and therefore it's not.


And it wouldn't be unusual for someone in Nepal, for example, to be viewed by outsiders as animistic maybe state but actually if you were to interview them, they would think they're practicing Buddhism. From our point of view, from a class point of view, they're not Buddhist, but maybe they might identify themselves as Buddhist. And so it's difficult to actually it would depend on how you define Buddhism and how you define self-expression and whether or not it's measured by any kind of core. In India, you go to northeast, where you're from, you have a huge percentage of, say, they're Christians. But in what way do we statistically say they're Christians? I mean, you might have 99% of the people who say they're Christian in certain tribal areas of northeast India. But whether we would say that's Christian. Those are all very difficult questions. I think sometimes you don't get well. First of all, it's an approximation. Obviously, the whole process is an approximation of what's going on and it requires constant revisions like you're talking about. But you see, I mean, you understand someone else might come into my office tomorrow and give me a completely different picture of the limbo. And it gets complicated really quick. There's no such thing as the agreed upon situation. Just like in this country, there's different interpretations of what's going on with Medicare right now, for example, which is the truth depends on whether you're where you're from. But so it is it's not possible for anyone to know exactly what's going on, but it can be approximated. And I think that's where we're we're trying to. But, I mean, I wrote down what you said. I'll look into it because I'm in another round of revision, as I said.


And actually, see, the encyclopedia was published before any census material in the year 2021 22. I have hundreds and hundreds of documents that have come out in the last two and a half years that have never been looked at. So including things like you're talking about. So everything that we're dealing with like that is a constant process. That's why we're here at Gordon Conwell, because we need a place in which to settle and try to do this. So thank you. Okay, just real quick, I'll finish. What about where Christians are in the majority? But there are at least a half a percent Buddhists. And this is just I'm trying to get at where where is Christian Buddhist interaction likely to happen? And the surprising one is the first one, you know, the closer which you wouldn't think of a place where you'd want to see or would be likely to see that kind of thing. Of course, only 32,000 Buddhists there. I don't have the number of Christians, but you could work it out here. This just gives you some of the groups that have both of these elements in them. And then how about the table 11? Table 11 is where there's at least a half a million Buddhists and a half a million Christians together. And that's a whole different kind of a list. And then you have the Chinese again, the Japanese on the top Vietnamese, even the Javanese show up on this list. So this might be even a more serious list of where you would want to put some effort if you're trying to Christian Buddhist dialog interaction. Okay. And I left out table 12, which is page after page after page. It's 274 varieties of Buddhism that we're trying to measure.


So if you're interested in that, it's in World Christian transits and it will be it's not on the database yet, but we'll be early next year. So thanks very much. Drop by any time. Well, almost any time. So if you follow that, I don't know anybody. I've been able to push forward the empirical data in the way that has been done by the. To study global Christianity. And I'm very happy that they're now part of our Wilson Center and part of the Gordon Conwell community. And it's a real blessing to have his not only his expertise in this particular area of empirical research is very different than the research that we do. We're doing a very different kind of research on our side, but also to have students involved and being trained and mentored in this whole field is a great blessing. So thank you. All of this, of course, represents snapshots. Life is a moving picture. These are snapshots, but snapshots are very helpful. The situation is constantly changing all over the world, but having these snapshots, especially snapshots over time, can give some very helpful trends. And I think that that's why I wanted us to have this opportunity today. So, Todd, thank you very much. It's been very helpful. Okay. Let me just say in conclusion, it's been a delight to have you in the class. You do know that you are the guinea pigs because this course has never been taught in the history of Gordon Conwell. To my knowledge, we never had Buddhism taught as any part of a course, with the exception of the world religions course in my own Hinduism, Buddhism, more recently. But I'm saying it's not been something that we've actually taken seriously as a part of our preparation for ministerial service and mission work.


And this to me was a huge mistake. And I do hope that we've been able to explore how Christian reflection can be applied differently to this area and hopefully just the importance of our own thinking in ministry. And I'm happy if you're interested, because we had, you know, if you don't have seven or eight students interested in the class dies. And so I think it's important. And so the fact that we had 25, 30 people that were interested in this topic makes my heart grow strangely warm.