Only one country in Asia, the Philippines, is a predominantly Christian land, where nearly 90 percent of the population professes the Christian faiths (of which 83 percent are Roman Catholics), resulting from a long and strenuous missionary activity during the three hundred years of the Spanish rule.
Elsewhere, Christianity had varying degrees of success. Christian missionary activity in general, followed the imperial road of the European colonial conquests of South and Southeast Asia between the 17th century and the WWII.
Today Christians account for 37.6 percent of Lebanon’s and 26.5 percent of South Korea’s populations. In the rest of the continent their share to the population in various countries is much smaller, from locally or regionally important to insignificant levels. The predominantly Muslim nations contain a smaller number of Christians, often less than 5 percent of their populations, with the exception of Indonesia where they account for nearly 10 percent of the population.
From its origins in the Middle East, the faith spread rapidly first throughout nearly all of Europe during the first few centuries A.D. and much later, essentially after the 16th century, to Asia through the persistent missionary activity that followed the European rules. The powerful appeal of a pragmatic and optimistic religion of the colonial masters made inroads into the lower strata of Asian societies, especially when the evangelical preaching was accompanied by the medical missionary, the agricultural experimenter, and the teacher in democracy.
The greatest success was achieved in tribal and backward areas where animistic faiths prevailed or in cities where government patronage in jobs was too alluring for the underprivileged castes and classes, or competition with the existing powerful, resistant and time-honored religions was at the minimum.
Despite relatively small numerical gains, Christianity left visible imprints on the Asian landscapes and societies in the form of religious buildings, churches, and cathedrals, parochial schools, and Christian libraries in urban areas. In the Philippines, churches and cathedrals were the focal points around which cities developed, and became the centers of the communities. In numerous other ways, Christianity affected the culture and economy of nearly every Asian country.