Kevin Rafferty’s Jan. 7 article, “Christianity vs. secularism,” is a disjointed and mostly aimless sermon in disguise. He laments the absence of Christ in Christmas, but unfairly points to holiday festivities in Hong Kong as an example. Why should the Nativity story be taken seriously in a historically non-Christian society?
Rafferty seems to equate secularism with selfish materialism and unchecked inequality, even warning that Hong Kong and Japan are going too far in this direction. He implies that Christianity mitigates these tendencies, and cites Pope Benedict XVI’s recent argument that Christians are dedicated to fighting poverty and working to share the world’s resources. For evidence he turns to China, a “godless society” that foments inequality, as indicated by China’s recently estimated high “Gini coefficient” of 0.61.
For comparison, I checked Gini coefficient rankings published online by the CIA. According to this list, 18 of the top 20 countries are predominantly Christian (10 in the Americas and seven in Africa). Apparently inequality thrives under Christianity.
Europeans, who have “succumbed to the secular disease” in Rafferty’s eyes, dominate the bottom of the Gini coefficient list, notably those from secular Scandinavia.
Rafferty should explain such data before patronizing Asians about the importance of foreign gods.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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