American Christians tend to view other faiths through the lenses of stereotypes. Islam is often deeply suspect, while Bud­dhism and Hinduism are usually viewed with respect, even affection. Little controversy arose when Lisa Simp­son converted to Bud­dhism—imagine the outcry if she had accepted Islam.

Such favorable attitudes mean that Western media treat Asian faiths quite generously in matters of scandal and religious conflict. Chris­tian believers on the ground in Asian countries, though, face issues of pressing concern, even of survival.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis made heroic efforts to reach out to the Buddhist majority of Sri Lanka, a land where Christians and Bud­dhists have long engaged in fruitful intellectual exchange. Still venerated is theologian Lynn de Silva, a great Meth­odist pioneer of dialogue.