Like mining, we witness a religious boom in Mongolia. Like many post-socialist countries where religion experienced state repression, Mongolia has seen the revival and diversity of religion since 1990. The expansion of Buddhism and Shamanism, Mongolian “traditional” religions, has been particularly prevalent. As such, much scholarly and media attention has been attached to the history and contemporary development of Buddhism and Shamanism. Though the expansion of “non-traditional” religions, Christianity in particular, has caught media attention, little has been done by scholars to examine the social background and broader implications of these religions.
As part of the collaborative research project on religious cultures in East Asia, which is led by Professor Sakurai Yoshihide (Hokkaido University), I spent two months in Mongolia early this year conducting research on the spread of Christianity since 1990 and the socio-economic and cultural background of Mongolian Christians. With the help from my friend Dr. Oyun-Erdene Bolduukhai (Mongol-Ulaanbaatar University), I was able to receive about 350 self-administered questionnaires filled in by Christians representing more than 20 different Christian churches in Ulaanbaatar city, Selenge, and Tuv aimag. We also conducted interviews with a number of pastors and participant observations during various church events.
The following PowerPoint presentation was presented at the International Workshop on Social Change and Religious Transformation in East Asia held at Hokkaido University on March 2-3, 2013. Though this presentation does not include the results of the survey research, it presents some preliminary observations on the expansion of Christianity in Mongolia.
I am writing a book chapter based mainly on this fieldwork and survey research. I welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions.