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Conversion to ChristianityHistorical and Anthropological Perspectives on a Great Transformation$
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Robert Hefner

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520078352

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520078352.001.0001

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Why the Thai Are Not Christians: Buddhist and Christian Conversion in Thailand

Why the Thai Are Not Christians: Buddhist and Christian Conversion in Thailand

Chapter:
(p.259) Chapter Nine Why the Thai Are Not Christians: Buddhist and Christian Conversion in Thailand
Source:
Conversion to Christianity
Author(s):

Robert W. Hefner

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520078352.003.0009

This chapter tries to answer the question: “Why have Thai not converted to Christianity?” It confines to the confrontation between Christianity and Buddhism in Thailand and to the ways in which these two world religions approach conversion. It starts by introducing a Christian-Buddhist confrontation. It first considers how Buddhism gained acceptance in Thailand and then looks at the efforts of Christian missionaries. There were two major reasons for the early failure of Catholic missionaries in Thailand. The Indigenization of the Catholic church in Thailand prompted a reaction by some conservative Buddhists who perceived a threat from a Christianity that was no longer clearly “foreign.” Both Buddhism and Christianity have offered to adherents of animistic religions not only a more rationalized view of the world but also a more universalistic one.

Keywords:   Thai, Christianity, Buddhism, Thailand, Christian, Buddhist, Christian missionaries

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