Category Archives: religion

Religiosity in Asian America: Spiritual Vitality, Secularism, and Racialization

Sat in parts of the Symposium on Religion in Los Angeles, a 2-day event jointly hosted by Cal State University Los Angeles and Claremont School of Theology. Fascinating conversations and presentations that exemplified the growing interest in the sociology of religion, and most of the presentations explored the inter-relationship of religions and ethnicities.

Russell JeungRussell Jeung, Associate Professor of Asian Studies at San Francisco State University, made an insightful presentation titled “Religiosity in Asian America: Spiritual Vitality, Secularism, and Racialization.”

With permission from Russell Jeung, we are grateful for being able to post yesterday’s talk online. Here’s the audio (mp3 – run time = 42:17) and slides from his March 6th presentation about Asian American religious affiliation >>


I thought slides #3 and #4 were most interesting, charting out the religious affiliation of Asian Americans, with respondents identifying as Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, other, none, or refused. These charts are very timely, as the major survey results by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life was just released last week, and has been highlighted in 300+ news articles. Several other conversations at the symposium responded and interacted with these Pew Forum’s extensive survey results. (also, see video overview about the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey)

Russell would very much like to get your feedback and thoughts about this presentation — please add a comment below.

Talks on Asian American Religiosity and Christianity

Just got word of this lecture series from Russell Jeung, Associate Professor of Asian Studies at San Francisco State University. Via the Yahoo Group for Asian American Christians for Justice::

Hi all:

If you’re in Los Angeles, I’m speaking at CSU LA and at Bread of Life Church in Torrance this week. You’re welcome to come.

CSU LA is hosting a symposium, “Religion in Los Angeles, in the Americas, in the Era of Globalization” on Thursday 3/6. I’ll present a paper on the latest poll data on Asian American religious affiliation and changes in the last two decades.

Bread of Life is hosting me to present a series, “Asian Americans in the Lions’ Den: A Study of Daniel” in which I compare the Jews in exile to Asian American Christians. The series discusses how being Asian American relates to our faith. The titles are:

Fri 3/7 @ 7:30pm: “Exam of Death: Daniel 2 and Asian American Values of Wisdom, Community and Humility
Sat 3/8 @ 9:00am: “Saving Face and Asian American Achievement: Daniel 4 and 5”
Sun 3/9 @ 9:00am: “Confessions of a Boba-Bobo: Daniel 1, Asian Americans and Culinary Resolve”
Sun 3/9 @ 11:15am: “Resident Aliens: Asian Americans in Bobo-land Daniel 3 and 6”

I’d be happy to share the paper or the talks if you’re interested.

Peace,
Russell Jeung

[update 3/6] times for talks at Bread of Life added – hope to see you there!

[update 3/7] view and hear Russell Jeung’s presentation here >>

Christianity and the Chinese people

Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review (Volume 67, Number 2; Summer 2006) had a special issue on the topic of: CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY AMONG THE CHINESE, edited by Fenggang Yang and Joseph B. Tamney. A number of interesting topics were explored:

  • Exploring Mass Conversion to Christianity among the Chinese: An Introduction
  • Social and Cultural Contexts in Conversion to Christianity among Chinese American College Students
  • How Religious Organizations Influence Chinese Conversion to Evangelical Protestantism in the United States
  • Favor Fishing and Punch-Bowl Christians: Ritual and Conversion in a Chinese Protestant Church
  • More Than Evangelical and Ethnic: The Ecological Factor in Chinese Conversion to Christianity in the United States
  • Conversion to Protestantism among Urban Immigrants in Taiwan

Its content are not readily available online, so you’ll probably need to visit an academic library to read these articles.

[ht: Cyrusco]

greater religious interest on college campus

New York Times article, “Matters of Faith Find a New Prominence on Campus“, excerpted below::

Across the country, on secular campuses as varied as Colgate University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley, chaplains, professors and administrators say students are drawn to religion and spirituality with more fervor than at any time they can remember.

More students are enrolling in religion courses, even majoring in religion; more are living in dormitories or houses where matters of faith and spirituality are a part of daily conversation; and discussion groups are being created for students to grapple with questions like what happens after death, dozens of university officials said in interviews.

A survey on the spiritual lives of college students, the first of its kind, showed in 2004 that more than two-thirds of 112,000 freshmen surveyed said they prayed, and that almost 80 percent believed in God. Nearly half of the freshmen said they were seeking opportunities to grow spiritually, according to the survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.

growing impact on college campuses

Amidst this collection of essays about the religious engagement among undergraduates, hosted by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is this article by Rebecca Y. Kim, Asian Americans for Jesus: Changing the Face of Campus Evangelicalism, which re-explores the growth and impact of college campus ministries and the active participation of many by Asian Americans. Rebecca Y. Kim is assistant professor of sociology at Pepperdine University, and is the author of God’s New Whiz Kids? Korean American Evangelicals on Campus (New York University Press, 2006).

The article‘s introduction is excerpted below:

One out of four Evangelical college students at New York City colleges and universities are Asian American. At Harvard, Asian Americans constitute 70 percent of the Harvard Radcliffe Christian Fellowship, and given the popularity of Evangelical Christian fellowships, one can easily spot students who proudly don t-shirts with phrases like “the Asian Awakening”. At Yale, Campus Crusade for Christ is 90 percent Asian, whereas twenty years ago it was 100 percent white. On the West Coast, the Asian American membership at Stanford’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) from 1989 to 1999, increased by 84 percent, compared to a 31 percent increase in its overall membership. Meanwhile, UC Berkeley and UCLA have more than fifty Asian Christian fellowships and most of their members are Asian American. UCLA alone has more than ten Korean Christian related fellowships.

Read the full article online and comment below.

300 million religious Chinese

From page A7 of the printed edition of the New York Times, February 8, 2007:

China: Survey Suggests Greater Religious Belief (by Jim Yardley)

The number of religious believers in China could be far higher than previously reported, according to a new survey. Nearly a third of the 4,500 people surveyed described themselves as religious in the poll, by two professors at East China Normal University in Shanghai. The proportion suggests that 300 million people in China could be religious, three times the official figure of 100 million. China Daily, the official English-language newspaper, said two-thirds of the respondents followed traditional religions like Taoism or Buddhism. The survey also suggested that China might have 40 million or more Christians; the latest official estimate, in 2005, put the figure at 16 million.

Also reported in the BBC News. See the original China Daily article, Religious believers thrice the estimate.