As Christianity Booms, Is Religion Good for China?

Chinese Christians praying.

I want to preemptively acknowledge how broad the subject matter of this post will be, but it is the only subject that I’ve come across recently to somewhat pique my interest for discussion. Quite a few articles and blog posts concerning Christianity in China have caught my attention over the past week. Just as my younger brother started his missions/missionary trip to China exactly one week ago, Danwei posted a translation of an interesting essay by Hu Shi (1891-1962) written in 1928 that criticized foot-binding and praised Western missionaries for bringing different ideas to China. An excerpt:

“Turn women into beasts of burden.” This phrase doesn’t do enough to describe the cruel treatment of women in China. It isn’t enough for us to turn women into beasts of burden – we must chop off two of their hooves and force them to suffer hard manual labor!

Looking at the rest of humankind, one is unable to find a second country with such a barbaric system!

Our virtuous sages and ancient classics offer absolutely no help. Confucian scholars have spent every day of the last one thousand years discussing benevolence and justice, and yet never spoke up for the inhumane suffering of their grandmothers, mothers, and sisters.

Suddenly, missionaries arrived from the West. Besides religion, they brought over some new customs and points of view. They also gave us quite a few lessons on morality, the most important being that women should be treated as humans.

A few days later, Danwei published a translation of another essay, this time written in 1929, concerning children in China. Again, an excerpt:

The other day, a friend told me something rather profound: “to see how civilized a country is, you just have to examine three things: First, look at how its people treat children; Second, look at how they treat women; Third, look at how they spend their free time.”

These three standards are straightforward. It’s disappointing that China fails at all three. No matter which of the three we choose, we find that our country is the most barbaric. How do we treat children? How do we treat women? How do we spend our free time? The country is filled with fools boasting about our intellectual and ideological development, yet not one of them has reflected on these three issues.

Hu Shi goes on to criticize how children were delivered, reared, and educated (or instead of being educated, had their feet bound). Many of these criticisms are clearly outdated, warranted at the time for the practices that were norms at the time, contrasted by Hu Shi against what he admired in the West1. Of course, certain things like gender equality have persisted, albeit to a generally lesser degree.

Here’s the money quote:

We should deeply thank the imperialists for waking us up from this dark and evil dream. We should thank the Christian missionaries for bringing over a little bit of Western civilization and humanism. We should thank them for telling us that the way we treat children is inhumane and barbaric. With all our hearts, we should thank the so-called “cultural invaders” for promoting the “Natural Foot Society,” the “Anti Foot-Binding Society,” and for building new schools, hospitals, and maternity hospitals.

A lot of Westerners are experiencing a massive erection at this point, like most of the commenters at chinaSMACK. The Chinese fenqing at the nationalistic Chinese discussion forum Tiexue are probably convulsing in rage though.

A house church in China, as Chinese Christians read the Bible.

Unfortunately for both groups of people, C.W. Hayford of Frog in a Well responded to Danwei‘s first post by adding some perspective on Hu Shi’s views of Christianity in China:

Hu, a Columbia University PhD, won a poll in the early 1920s as the most admired “returned student” in China. But his surprising words of praise for the YWCA need to be balanced against his views on Christianity’s future in China. He elsewhere disdained the run of Christian missionaries as uneducated and narrow. They came to China because they could live well for little money, he said, and mission boards were far less careful in selecting China missionaries than Standard Oil was in selecting China salesmen and executives.

Published in a North American journal, The Forum, Hu Shi wrote:

The future of Christianity in China is a question which should be considered apart from the question of the past services rendered to China by the Christian missionaries. The part played by the missionaries in the modernization of China will long be remembered by the Chinese, even though no Christian church may be left there. They were the pioneers of the new China. They helped the Chinese to fight for the suppression of opium which the pirate-traders brought to us. They agitated against footbinding, which eight centuries of esoteric philosophizing in native China failed to recognize as an inhuman institution. And they brought to us the first rudiments of European science. The early Jesuits gave us the pre-Newtonian astronomy, and the later Protestant missionaries introduced modern hospitals and schools. They taught us to know that there was a new world and a new civilization behind the pirate-traders and gunboats.

Many of the Protestant missionaries worked hard to awaken China and bring about a modern nation. China is now awakened and determined to modernize herself. There is not the slightest doubt that a new and modem China is emerging out of chaos. But this new China does not seem to promise much bright future to the propagation of the Christian faith. On the contrary, Christianity is facing opposition everywhere. The dream of a “Christian occupation of China” seems to be fast vanishing, – probably forever. And the explanation is not far to seek.

So altogether, Hu Shi gave credit where credit was due, focusing less on the source of good things as he did the actual things he considered as “good” against those he thought as “bad”. Sounds like a good, practical man.

Excerpted from NPR:

Official Chinese surveys now show that nearly one in three Chinese describe themselves as religious, an astonishing figure for an officially atheist country, where religion was banned until three decades ago.

The last 30 years of economic reform have seen an explosion of religious belief. China’s government officially recognizes five religions: Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam and Daoism. The biggest boom of all has been in Christianity, which the government has struggled to control.

Marx would be pissed. Mao too, but for different reasons. Hu Shi was wrong, in a way.

Personally, I’m not sure what to make of this “one in three” claim regarding the prevalence of religion in China, especially as juxtaposed with China being officially atheist and religion having been “banned” only decades ago. I mean, how do we define religion or being religious? How do we describe a religious person? Someone who merely believes there is a higher power? Someone who adheres to certain religious practices? How strongly do they have to adhere to them for them to be designated as religious?

Has there been an explosion of religious belief in China? I’m not sure. Part of me believes many “religious” (and superstitious) beliefs or practices were merely keep quiet during times they were frowned upon by the powers that be, powers that could send you to be reeducated. Another part of me believes that organized religion naturally expands absent environmental restrictions and controls, adding to their ranks of believers and followers. This is because people in China are like people from anywhere else, with the same human insecurities and uncertainties about their place and purpose in the world. They’re just surviving and thus susceptible and amenable to beliefs in higher powers or organized ideologies that give them comfort in an often tough and unfair existence. Ideology, whether religious or atheistically socio-political, is ideology, a worldview to be proselytized and subscribed to for people to make sense of things. If communism isn’t working, and communism isn’t threatening you with a stint to a labor camp, its easy to be receptive to alternative and competing ideologies.

The question I have is: Is any increase in religion and religious belief in China good or bad?

God's Smuggler comic book.

Click the cover to read the comic. Communists and Chinese in the second half.

With China and Christianity, a religion or faith that openly seeks converts, we specifically have a volatile intersection of pre-consisting contentious views and values. You have the people who genuinely believe they are doing something good, that they are saving lives and souls. Then you have the people who doesn’t really believe that, seeing it more as cultural imperialism, a desire to “civilize” the uncivilized, to “enlighten” the unenlightened. Some think of Christianity, like any religion, as an opiate, something to lull adherents into acquiescing to and thus perpetuating the injustices of the present world for some promised reward in the next, to pray to God instead of petitioning their grievances. Others encourage religion to bring spiritual fulfillment to a world too obsessed with materialism and the competitive acquisition of wealth, as a way to be at peace with a world that we cannot always change. One person says these people do good works. Another says they do good works to buy an opportunity to proselytize.

But even if we replace Christianity with something else, like Tibetan Buddhism, is religion something that will help or hurt China, for itself, and for its interactions with the rest of the world? What’s your ideology for China?

A Chinese Christian woman singing.


  1. Anyone going to challenge me on using “the West” here? Or are you only supposed to challenge the usage when it is something negative? []


129 Comments

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Click here to cancel reply.

  • Some HTML can be used to format your comment.
  • Add a picture to your comments with Gravatar.
  • Please be civil. Comments may be moderated.
  1. Teacher in C

    Simply put: Fuck religion, in all its forms. For a more detailed and literate explanation, read “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins.

  2. Teacher in C

    Man, that comic was AWFUL. Just like the movie, “The Book of Eli” (which, by the way, had the saddest, most depressing ending ever), I was rooting AGAINST the protagonist the whole way through it….

    • King Tubby

      I suppose I am lucky. My pc has apparently taken an oath of secular alligience, since it refused to download the comic.

  3. Darryl Snow

    So sad to see a people struggling to find their new identity succumbing to this kind of evil brainwashing institution (e.g. the catholic church) despite all its obvious lies and misdeeds. The government has every right to try and protect its people… Just like all institutional religion, it will always prey on the vulnerable.

    • Zictor

      Intriguing that your description of “this kind of evil brain­wash­ing insti­tu­tion (e.g. the catholic church) despite all its obvi­ous lies and mis­deeds” applies perfectly to the CCP as well.

  4. Bin Wang

    There’s a legitimate question of, is Christianity gaining popularity in China because of a genuine opening to religion/spirituality by the Chinese people, or just another emulation of Western “coolness” akin to buying Prada or driving Buicks? Not all are wealthy enough to buy Prada or drive Buicks, but all can become Christians. I question whether all these Chinese Christians truly take Christ as their saviour, and understand what that means, and what faith implies, or whether it’s simply cool and in to be Christian in China these days.

    On a broader point, the Chinese have always had this sense of inferiority, that anything “Western” is better. That if you’re wealthy and you can afford to be Western, it made you better. Thus, the peasant revolts, the drive to be Chinese and Anti-Western/Foreign, from the boxer rebellion to the cultural revolution … derive from the poorer segments of society. Adopting the West was fine for the aristocrats, but for the common people, one doesn’t deny one’s Chineseness.

    Except that now, even the poor can catch the Christian craze. It’s simply in fashion. But I’ve wrestled with Christianity quite a bite myself. is religion opium for the masses, as has been abused by the likes of the Catholic Church for hundred of years in history to keep people down, ignorant, and power in the hands of a select few … or is there something to the notion of a divine being, a monodeity, an all knowing God, whose will be done? Even if you accept that something is there, what does it mean to accept that Jesus is God’s one and only son? That he died on the cross to absolve us of our sins?

    These are ideas that are not easy to comprehend and accept. Hence the mysteries of faith. I tend to think these Chinese Christians don’t tend to get beyond the superficial, and wrestle with the real questions of their own individual faith and degree of acceptance of Christ. It’s perhaps sad that possibly, to many of them, these questions don’t matter … it’s the cool Western thing to do.

    • Bin Wang

      Ok, well, before I get flamed. Let me add, maybe I just don’t understand the faith of others vs. my own personal wrestling with Christianity. I don’t want to give the impression that I think they’re all fakes or something … perhaps many/most are indeed on the path to faith … I’m just saying, I find it hard, I find it difficult, and I, naturally, I guess question those who act as if it were easy. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I guess I am just suspect …

      I believe it’s really all about one’s own personal relationship with God. Secular organization and institutionalizaton is what perverts it. Each person’s personal relationship with God is unique and each must find his/her own way. I just wonder where all these Chinese Christians are at, spiritually with regard to these difficult issues … or are some/many (who knows) only pursue this on a shallow level …

      • Song Laoshi

        Hi Bin,

        Enjoying your blog. I think you’re asking some great questions about Chinese Christians, but you’re asking the wrong people! Why not find some of these people who are calling themselves Christians and ask them directly how they’ve dealt with some of these questions you’ve wrestled with. Ask all across the demographic range. I’m sure the answers you get will be as varied as the number of people at Haidian church on any given Sunday, but at least you’ll be getting to the heart of what Chinese Christians are actually thinking themselves.

  5. King Tubby

    I’m treading very carefully here, following Kai’s brother remark and Bing Wang fessing up to a belief in the Holy Trinity christian cartel.
    Third attempt to post this , so am being thwarted by some deity with serious guanzi.

    But a couple of small points.

    Look, most average folk around the world experience insecurities and uncertainities, but that does not mean that they want to wrestle with the BIG existential questions offered by organised religion.

    In my neck of the woods, organised christianity will have all but disappeared in another two decades. Just too much secular competition.

    The upshot of this inexorable trend is that you can buy a very well-built country church at auction and move it onto you land. Renovate inside and you have a great house.

    Contrasting relgion to materialism and wealth acquisition is a false dichotomony. But since the piece was written from a China perspective, consider this.

    Most people in China lead highly circumscribed/narrow and routinised lives….eat, work, shopping, time on the net, sleep and repeat. You rarely meet people with all-consuming hobbies and passions; public spaces are ….; for the most part, the environment is totally degraded; public libraries are non-existent and participatory socio/cultural events are almost non-existent. (In contrast, I could list a 100 such events in my burg this weekend, and do it on my ear.)

    If people in China are joining churches, it is simply due to a lack of alternatives.

    Anyway, Chinese churches are mix of Amyway sales pep talk rally and New Guinea next-world cargo cult.

    I will censor my ideological prescription since it is nonharmonious.

    • Bin Wang

      Don’t get me wrong KT, I’m as against organized religion, esp. organized Christianity, as anyone. However, I do believe in a person’s individual relationship with “God,” whatever that person believes “God” to be. The wrestling with “God,” is precisely what you all have isolated, that so much bad has been done in this world in the name of “God.” Hence my point, religion is a one-on-one thing, and institutionalization/orgranization of it by man can only lead to bad things.
      My point was, are these Chinese Christians investigating their own personal one-on-one relationships with “God,” or is Christianity merely the latest Western fad which was once off limits and, therefore, now cool? I tend to be cyncial and trend toward the latter, and I guess most of you guys do too …

      • King Tubby

        Sure Bin Wang. I picked up on your distinctions. I went all satire in my posts. Couldn’t help myself. A couple of points.

        People in my neck of the woods could best be described as secular Christians. They couldn’t give you a New Testament reference if their life depended on it; don’t go to church and prefer sport on Sunday.

        Its the non-Anglos who fill the churches here, notably the Vietnamese, Chinese and Pacific Islanders (bigtime)….sort of family get togethers where everybody gets dressed up. If like Korea, its probably a matchmaking venue also….you find a non-drinking, non-fornicating partner. (I like the point by one poster that churches in China attract significant percentages of women…a point worth exploring.)

        I suppose I have even taken the line of least resistance, since when my mother passed away, she was a Buddhist, I felt the need to organise a Silent Quaker service for closure and her friends. Cheers.

        Hey. Whats with the voting system getting all active all of a sudden????

        Finally, I know for a fact that Stan tithes his Indian guru on a regular basis.

  6. “Organ­ised Chi­nese chris­tian­ity is a mix of an Amway sales pep talk and a New Guinea next-world cargo cult.”

    Look, if you’re going to give us choice bits like that, you force me to renew my call for you to write entire posts on C/D so we can enjoy more of this stuff. Stop holding out on us!

    • To 'Who'

      I’m still waiting for some religious tout to flame about God and condemn us non-believers. Then this thread will expand to a hundred comments in a matter of days.

      • David

        And if some “religious tout” did flame about it, would it change your thinking, or do any good? Highly doubtful. That’s why us “religious touts”(whatever that means) are trying the civilized, polite, rational approach – it might get us a little farther in this communal dialogue.

    • Seth

      I’m glad that an article on this has finally been written, I think that often there’s too stark a divide among religious and non-religious China-watchers. There is very little mixture between Christians and non-Christian expats in China, mostly to the detriment of non-Christians, because it is they who are getting paid to do analysis of China that is woefully inadequate if one is ignorant of what’s happening in the Chinese religious movements.

      David and Wang Bin both said all that was necessary about both the “search” and the positive “side effects” of religion. I’d just like to add that a inordinately large number of activists across Chinese civil society are Christian, who perhaps count on religion’s “irrationality” to allow them to take on repression and refuse a life of pragmatic, compromised dissipation. Just like David’s wife did. Just another reason to thank “the gods,” like Hugo did, when he said, “I consent to live. All is not over on earth because we can still be irrational.” To a large degree, the Chinese who are really fighting for China (both in big and small ways), and not just profiting off of it, are religious.

      One more thing on this “irrational” critique. The age of reason, to give a woefully short history, died with Nietzsche and the World Wars (ethics were not logically provable which was misinterpreted by a few very non-Christian (for those who see religion as the source of all tragedy) dictators to mean that humans should kill or be killed). Philosophy since then has been incredibly dishonest, duping many people into believing that there is some sort of logic behind a Western-centric understanding of human rights. Nearly all that’s good in the human rights movements stems from a world-view created by centuries of dialog between Judeo-Christian and Greek thought, to neglect one of those stilts makes our nonsense on stills even more non-sensical; I feel sorry for those who aren’t able to realize the composition of the wave they’re riding. But that’s neither here nor there, and is your own problem. You can just “smoke up” when your head hurts.

      I think David and Wang Bin reflect a bit of that reasoning in their thinking. Even if your country’s not going to be Christian (although a very, very good source tells me that the official numbers of Christians in China is now close to 300 million), or if it’s doomed to become secular once it’s wealthy enough to forget that it’s still a moral being, what is going to be the moral posture of your non-religious?

      Stan, did you happen to read the NYTimes article recently about how the dems are becoming more “Christian” -if that can be quantified- than the Republicans? The secular-humanist tent in the democratic party is far smaller than one might believe — between Catholics, Blacks and Hispanics, not to mention a large number of non-evangelical Protestants, you’ve got a pretty decent quorum of religion in the party of non-religion.

      • On the U.S. politics front, absolutely true and not a new thing. I would say that the Democrats never really got out of the religion biz, it just seemed that way for a while. Look back at the Civil Rights movement, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, etc. It’s all there. And since the Republicans have really screwed over the Evangelicals time and again, the Democrats are seeing this as an opportunity.

        It is historically true that progressive politics and religion have gone hand in hand. As a secular humanist (although I would rather be called a muscular atheist), I am untroubled by this. If people want to rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ to support anti-poverty programs, that’s great. If everyone was an atheist, though, that would be even better.

        It’s another thing entirely, though, to say that religion was a but/for cause in the implementation of these programs and policies. A lot of religious people are progressives, a lot of them are not.

        I’ve never had a problem falling back on a Rawlsian system of moral philosophy to help guide me through moral decision-making and ensure that I sleep well at night. It seems much more honest to base one’s worldview on the question “What kind of society do I want to live in?” as opposed to wondering what the Invisible Man in the Sky has ordered me to think, whether I like it or not.

      • King Tubby

        Seth So all non-christian expats in China lead lives of ** COMPROMISED PRAGMATIC DISSIPATION***

        No more non-faith – faith dialogue with you, old son.

        And a PhD in philosophy too. How come all these Christians are so well educated. cf David above, although it is beyond me what a PhD candidature in computer engineering has to do with ethics and civic responsibility.

        I’ve seen your kind all too often at HK airport: looks of smug vacant repose, when not talking loudly on the phone to the folks back home.

        Nothing like breathing in that rarified air of total righteousness and certainty. Nitwit.

        BTW. I have no objections, only positive thoughts, towards progressive christian social movements.

        • Jones

          “How come all these Christians are so well educated.”
          Because when you’re arguing against reason and logic, you need all the help you can get. Knowing a few philosophers so you can try to combat the more rational thoughts merely using semantics is helpful, if at least for a short moment. Otherwise you have absolutely nothing else to back up any claim you have. No proof, no evidence, nothing. That’s why.

          • kathy

            It is not that Christians need to be educated when arguing against logic and reason. Christianity (or religion) is not against logic and reason – only atheists think so.
            On the other hand have anybody noticed that logic and reason is as far away as possible from atheistic scientists arguing on some weather related matters black using false data. Or when some in-house non-religious historians disregard three years of never happened famine ?
            But perhaps it is just organized religion that some people are so against because it threatens …….

          • Jones

            I totally agree with the similarities between scientists arguing logic using false data and Christians arguing logic.

        • King Tubby

          Apologies for an extra post, but forgot this point.

          I would be interested in seeing how many of the christian soldiers above accept gay sex and marriage between consenting adults.

          Come guys, be honest and post your views.

          Is it acceptable or an abomination in the eyes of the lord???

          Simple yes or no answers will do. I’n not looking for a Vatican type number of angels on the head of a pin ruling.

          • Okay, time to toss some naplam on this flicker of flame – because my option on the matter is not exactly endorsed by many:

            I tend to view the question of “gay marriage” the same way I view polgamy and versions of “traditional marriage” – just another avenue for horny old goats to use religion/legal laws to bugger little kids.

            I know, I know – not exactly like we are seeing the Rainbow Coalition walking hand in hand with the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions – but when the trappings and slogans are stripped away…

          • King Tubby

            Matthew. An unholy host of issues in your post and I agree with the point that religious dikats and legal protections offer lustful opportunities for old goats.

            Myself. I would strip away any secular legal protections offered to this mangy trilogy of religions. (God, western democracies are so piss-weak on polyamy/burka issues….you would be aware of the recent stories coming out of England.)

            However, you are confusing the above (if I read you correctly) with my underlying point….you cant regulate human sexuality along purely hetero lines. One size just does not fit a 100% of any population. Im very liberal on this one, and I was also talking about legally consenting adults post 21 yrs.

            I note that the christian interlocutars above have ducked below the paparet on this one.

            And I wont rant on about the Vatican further illustrating your point.

          • Zictor

            Unfortunately, King Tubby, Jesus never spoke about homossexuality (at least not on the record). But the Torah does, and it says it is wrong not much arguement on that point.

            Does it mean you’re going to hell? Not necessarily.

            What people really seem to forget is that is impossible not to sin, and that’s why thousands of people risked (and lost) their lives to bring back the idea of grace.

            Grace is the only feature that is unique to Christianity, and the most scandalous one. It means that how bad you’ve been, all your crimes and sins can be forgiven (if you are sincere). This is hard, very hard to accept, especially when a monster like Jeffrey Dahmer claims repentance and conversion.

          • Yes, when Jesus spoke about homosexuality, it was not for the record, it was deep background.

          • Seth

            King Tubby,

            I’m sorry about the snarky bits of my post, I should have counted to ten and then erased them. I suppose though, in my defense, that I was just reacting to a lot of the anti-religious snarkiness on the board, even though, for the record, I’m not in a religious vocation, in fact, very far from it.

            It’s a worn-out argument that doesn’t get anywhere, but it’s striking to me that if you’d replace race, culture, gender or sexual orientation as the object of discourse, anyone coming at it with the level of ironic vitriol with which some of the posters here have berated religion, one would be labeled a bigot in no time. I suppose there’s no way to avoid that in some ways, as long as Christianity is part of the majority culture, it’s going to be open season on Bible bangers.
            Anyway, no need to reply to that — one, it’s not going to change, and two, fortunately for all of us, religious people get off on constant critique and ridicule for all the right and wrong reasons.

            I am, however, very interested in the statement below, because I feel like it’s at the heart of a lot of the discussion on this board.

            “Otherwise you have absolutely nothing else to back up any claim you have. No proof, no evidence, nothing. That’s why.”

            I totally agree with Jones. Religion is decidedly anti-empiricist. But in some ways that makes it very honest, because at the end of the day, when making moral decisions, we all must take irrational leaps. Some, like Kierkegaard, thought that it might be a good idea that that leap be towards some invisible man in the sky who had an idea of what was really right and wrong than towards the “belief” that there is nothing else out there — because, at the end of the day, empiricism can tell you that no one has been able to prove that God exists, but it also can’t rule out the possibility that she does, because reason and science are limited by experience. Now there’s a risk there, because if my invisible man tells me one thing and yours tells you another, things like the crusades happen.

            But on the other hand, if you, as an empiricist, deny the right of anyone to a monopoly on morality — a perfectly rational stance — it’s also very difficult to deny someone the right to see the world in purely social darwinian terms (perhaps the most rational way to look at life and morality, especially if you “believe in” evolution), and to act on it the way japan and germany did, setting off the worst disaster in human history. That’s what worries me.

            I think that many Chinese are worried as well. There’s no trust in society. They feel as though they are facing that kind of World War Two-style amorality right now — one doesn’t need to look any further than the campaigns to “eradicate evil” all over China. In general, many Chinese are moving in two directions, back towards traditional Confucianist beliefs, or to Western religion. Both “work,” on a pragmatic, societal basis — Japan and Korea are excellent models, respectively. But Confucian morality packs something else into it that most of us might not like, it’s very, very non-egalitarian. “All men are created equal” again, is not a logical choice, but a leap, made by Enlightenment philosophers, no doubt, but made even earlier by Martin Luther and other Protestants. Viewed in this light, the appeal of Christianity to two of the largest, most oppressed groups in Asia, the rural Chinese and the Indian dalit class, is obvious.

            The idea that Christianity “preys” on the poor, and that developed countries slowly lose their religious fervor doesn’t bother me, because I’ve never liked being aligned with the aristrocracy/bourgeoisie anyway, which is, of course what almost all Americans/Westerners now are in the era of global capital. Christianity isn’t for elites, whether of the monetary or intellectual variety, which is, of course, exactly why it is for them as well, as long as they’re willing to see themselves as anything but elite.

          • King Tubby

            Seth. No worries. My 1.20 second para…something to discuss here
            Your point:
            Viewed in this light, the appeal of Chris­tian­ity to two of the largest, most oppressed groups in Asia, the rural Chi­nese and the Indian dalit class, is obvious.

          • King Tubby

            Hi Zictor. Since you addressed me by name, I will expand my point.

            Not so interested in the Science/Faith debate, but DO think discussion of house churches and govt. over ground churches in China is worth a lot more indepth discussion than it has received thus far in this thread.

            A silly point to begin. Grace and Dahmer…you should have used an Asian example, notably Kaing Geuk Eav aka Duch. Whatever, grace and forgiveness is a pretty disgusting theological weasel clause.

            My point. Christianity, one of the big three monothiesms, has too many proscriptions about the body….regulations regarding women mostly eg virginity, sex as desire/pleasure versus sex exclusively for procreation, adultery, etc.

            Basically, it is a pretty patriarchal gig.

            It is just too concerned with who does what to whom in the sack, trafficking in Guilt and Self-Recrimination if you cross the boundaries, and it forgets a few basic biological facts.

            Probably 5%, probably more, of males have had male to male sexual experiences, and in the West about 4% openly identify as gay. 1 in every 100,000 people are caught in a trangenderist situation. You can get the exact figures by going to the CDC, Atlanta.

            People in China have enough shit to deal with on a daily basis, without importing this Western cultural baggage, with it strictures about hetero sexuality, while same-sex-stuff functions as a unacceptable, forbidden Other.

            On a lighter note, I have told all the adult citizens of tubbyland to explore their desires, always use Trojans and sleep in late.

          • {evil smile} If my hazy memory serves, they (the Torah and the Bible) only refer to male homosexuality – not lesbians. I like to mention this during these debates – just to watch a few minds pop their clutch. Anybody know what is covered in the Koran, Book of Tao, and the writings of Buddha and Confusius?

          • King Tubby

            Matthew. Dont be asinine. I didnt include grrls to grrls stuff in my post, since I knew it would overheat some of the readers. But my point about same sex attraction also applied to women. It was even discussed in one of Jan Wong’s books on China, so get rid of that evil smirk and pay attention in class.

          • Tubby – asinine? No. Knocking the wind out of sails? Yes. Why? Because that whole “Divine Inspiration Drivel” is merely an excuse to allow horny old men to selectively make sure that the ability to have multiple young women pleasure them, in many ways, was still permitted.

            I also use that bit as a brickbat when twits like to attack pairs of “the fairer sex” with a holy book.

          • David

            Actually, the Bible does address female homosexuality, or “unnatural relations” specifically. Check out Romans 1:25-27.

          • David

            Sorry, this was in reply to Matt Sawtell.

          • Hm… Paul’s letter about how rival religions did things that were “unnatural” to his? Hate to say it Dave, but… still going with “No mention of ‘No Lesbians'”.

          • David

            Well, Romans 1 verse 24 says “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another”. Verse 26 says “Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.” And verse 27 says “the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Do I really have to spell out what “unnatural relations” are? Is it not somewhat clear that this section is talking about sexual relations? Can “lust for other men” be interpreted in any way but sexually? Do you argue that the Bible naming something as “sinful” is NOT the same as saying “don’t do it”? This is known as “reading the context”.

            If you’re looking for the Bible to spell out every tiny thing you shouldn’t do, you’re right, you won’t get that, and you can wiggle your way around all manner of things the Bible doesn’t SPECIFICALLY and DIRECTLY name, including child pornography, insider trading, and government-sponsored genocide (depends on who’s defining murder), but I think that we can agree that the PRINCIPLES of the Bible prohibit these things to anyone who is willing to connect the dots.

          • King Tubby

            There you go. Thanks to our resident biblical expert, any gay members of this community, now you know. Because of your unnatural activities, you are *preverts* who are beyond redemption because of your DNA and minority desires.

            However, no one has really addressed the topic: Why are house churches spreading like prairie fire in the rural back blocks of China, esp among women.

            We simply don’t have enough indepth information, but Seth rightly posed the question.

            Myself, given the massive translation divide between Mandarin and English, I wonder just how rural Chinese Christians appropriate/interprete parables and biblical messages, OR how they are provided with tailored interpretations by their house church leaders.

            It could be a message of quietistic acceptance of one’s miserable existence in this vale of tears…a better deal in the hereafter..a turning of the tables, so to speak…the wealthy passing thru an eye of the needle type stuff. Probably, a very attractive reading for women.

            It could be a progressive message of inclusion and unconditional charity.

            It could be a Pat Robertson (lots of similar US role models here) message with all its patriarchy and Elmer Gantry carny hucksterism …love that movie.

            Finally, (and relatedly to the Robertson take), it could take on an End Times milleniarist dimension….I sort of go for this one given China’s history. All the recent floods, drought and other disasters could take on extra significance.

            Or simply a mash up of the lot.

            Whatever, if I was running the PSB, I would scrutinising these religious developments very carefully and keeping a few slots open the the black jails.

          • King Tubby said, “How­ever, no one has really addressed the topic: Why are house churches spread­ing like prairie fire in the rural back blocks of China, esp among women.”

            Okay… here is my take on the issue: because much like the situation in India and South America – the Baptist style of faith gives folks a sense of self worth and pride that is not found in the local religions and/or cultral systems. Furthermore, given the decentralized structure of the Baptist style – women get to play more of an active role in the local organization, which is defentively something that not available with the monolithic structures of the current CCP, Catholic Church, and other religious/secular groups.

            Never underestimate the power of “small people” coming together to form something greater than the sum of their parts – it has an influence that can only be appreciated from a distance by outside observers.

          • King Tubby

            Matt. Thanks for getting things back on topic. My last on this thread. (I think you have been misleading folk re the blind pig visit and using your missus as an excuse. I was dressed for the occasion in my best Superfly outfit. The bouncer however took exception to your hat and booted our asses down the stairs onto Woodward Ave.)

            As a niggle, somewhere above you mentioned NGOs and volunteering, and that is something the CCP frowns upon and definitely does not encourage, since it it likely to give rise to organisations with the longterm potentiality to challenge CP monopoly of state power.

          • Woodward? Haven’t been at Club Blue in at least 5 years. Now if you want to talk hardcore, then you could have said Harpos, St. Andrews, or Labriythn. Then again, we have not even touched the “Windsor Ballet”, have we? {Evil Grin}

            {calm pause} As for the subject at hand… the CCP, much like the Cathoic Church in South America and the Imans in Mecca, have a deep seated fear against anyone that reminds them of themselves from their younger days, and with good reason.

            Unless a group or country can be able to regenerate or reinvent itself – it is doomed to crack and fail like the statues of Ozymandias:

            “I met a traveler from an antique land
            Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
            Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
            Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
            And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
            Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
            Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
            The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
            And on the pedestal these words appear:
            “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
            Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
            Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
            Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
            The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

          • King Tubby

            Broke my blog oath. Matthew, KT could not enter the US if I he bribed the whole bloody Senate.

            With a drug consumption like mine, shit Brazil or Columbia would not have me, and these Latin guys are not big on standards.

            Don’t be so hardcore, all I know about the big D is what I read via Loren and childhood Motown memories.

            Okay Dude. The US is NOT the bloody centre of the Universe. What do you know about my neck of the woods. If you mention kangaroos, I will have your local Armenians whack you, or at least separate you from your ankles. PEACE

          • Jones

            “Okay Dude. The US is NOT the bloody cen tre of the Uni verse. What do you know about my neck of the woods. If you men­tion kan ga roos, I will have your local Arme ni ans whack you, or at least sep a rate you from your ankles. PEACE”

            Of course not. Just the center of the Milky Way. We’re just humble enough to not claim the universe.

            Boomerangs, koalas, and Foster’s beer. Bribing consulate officials would benefit you more than senators. Hillary Clinton would be the king pin you need to aim for, though, but she’s going to require a lot of cash. After bribing her, you’d probably just have enough left for some of the cheapest ice available. “Ice” is what you guys call meth, right?

          • Fair Dinkum mate – as far as Oz is concerned, there is a sleepy little town called town called Sawtell on the Gold Coast, north of Sydney that I would like to visit one day.

          • King Tubby

            Sawtell. I will humour you Matthew. It is a little town which you pass thru without notice on your way to capital cities. Take my advice. Drive 200 ks north and you hit the best surf beaches in the world. You will be able to impress the missus with your big wave surfing skills, while your children will be able to enjoy a few bongs with the local ferals.

            Any further north and you enter tubbyland. Only people who don’t stereotype other nationalities are allowed to enter this realm. Also individuals who quote poetry in blogs are subject to very strict visa regulations and are closely monitored by the state security apparatus.

          • King David,

            translate “stranded heroes” into chinese and you will understand “lust for other men” …its very poetic!

            Love,

            say hi to Goliath for me!

          • No troubles Tubby – it may surprise you that I am a card carrying Papist… a Hamtramck Papist. {grin} We have no trouble telling the priest he is full of shyte in the middle of mass.

            As for the marriage issue – I take a rather Western Legal view – One man (18 or older) and One woman (18 or older) with divorce option on the table, period. Anything else is just an opporunity for child molesters.

          • King Tubby

            Being a massive fan of Detriot’s greatest writer/urban chronicleer, Loren Estleman, know a bit about Hamtramch…. salt of the eath working class, unlike those uppity (probably Episcopalian) stock market leeches in Grosse Pointe.

            Credentials: well I was an alter boy when the mass was said in Latin. Got the boot after a couple of us disgraced ourselves on alter wine.

            Sure, anyone 18 or older (in a free, non-coercive decision making process …..I’m aiming directly at the islamists here), but why exclude that small percentage of gay folk….they pay as much tax as anyone else, and deserve the same legal rights and protections. Again, catholicism trafficks in boundaries, guilt, self-recrimination…..like hardline US evangelicals, it is still peddling a medieval cosmology in the age of computers and global blogs.

            Crikey. Your obsession with child molesters….lets not go there. Have you been following some of the slippery, laughable arguments and defences spouted by the vatican in recent months???????? Monty Python couldn’t have done better.

          • Tubby, when the hell did Loren last write about the D’? 1999? The Pointes have gone Greek Orthodox and Hamtrack a mix of Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Sunni – but I know what he has writing about… days before the riots and Coleman Young.

            As far as my church cred… usher for 5+ years – sitting (and shaking the) people down – and tapping my watch at the priests (which I always call padre) when the folks in the back pews started to nod off.

            As for my “obsession”… just a very hard understanding that too many “holy book thumpers” are just criminals that have not been caught and sent to general population lockup yet.

            As for the legal issues – have no issues about making sure that gay/bi/straight couples that are not married are taken care in terms of legal transfer of properties, group insurance, and other matters of state. As for the question of marriage – I tend to view it as a strong legal way of tracking linage of those born to couples – to avoid the nasty issue of imbreeding and issues of inheritance from parents to children.

            Anything else just muddles that idea rather badly.

          • King Tubby

            Matthew. Thank you for the replies. Peace Bro, we are probably on the same page..

            If I could write like Loren, I would not be ranting on CD.

            Okay, Big Guy, catch you at the blind pig tonight, and you are paying, okay.

          • Tubby, I’m married with children – there is no speakeasy or afterhours club that is going to accept my butt unless they have their insurance paid up – because my wife will be serving up Molotov Cocktails as soon as she finds me.

          • I believe it to be totally acceptable,

            including gay couple adoption,

            most kids in the world are lucky to get one!

            its is all about LOVE which is one of the forgotten
            founding principles of the ‘guy on the cross’ cult.

            it is terrible when politics/laws get in the way of LOVE

            I see how Catholic Crusaders consider this HARAM (Islam for forbidden) cause homosexuality does not create a diaspora, thus expanding the ‘flock’. Basically not creating babies is bad.

            nonetheless,

            LOVE

            五毛党

          • King Tubby

            kedafu. yeah. a good perspective. Gay/lesbian parents with kids. Good food on the table, do your bloody homework, plus I will drive you to sport Sat morning.

            Youngsters arent stupid…my parents are just different, but is does not they (the parents) are providing role models for their children. Observing gay families I know, their teenage children are decidely heterosexual and gently amused by their parents preferences.

  7. A couple of additional thoughts.

    Answer #1: All religion is a joke, so of course it’s bad for China.

    Answer #2: Religion is inherently irrational and is therefore not such a good idea for a country attempting to build an innovation society.

    Answer #3: Sucking up to Christian nutjobs in the U.S. may win China a few friends in Alabama (and the U.S. House of Representatives), but it may not sit so well with other friends who sell China oil.

    Answer #4: Anyone who decides to either take up (or discard) religion based on a Western fetish (or nationalism) deserves nothing but scorn.

    Final comment: Why do we continue to apologize for religion with the explanation that people need “spirituality” or “something to believe in.” Hogwash. Humans may be genetically predisposed to believe in the Invisible Man in the Sky (h/t Carlin), but we can and should strive to overcome our outdated, buggy programming.

    • King Tubby

      Stan. Your final paragraph is the precise point. (Whenever I get any spiritual yearnings, breakout out the stash and get well smoked. Alternately, flog one of the household servants.)

      Anyway, if we are going to acquiesce in this “buggy programming”, then santeria or voodoo is then every bit as valid as the trinity cartel, since it satisfies the same nebulous desires.

  8. Jake

    Praise God, thank you Jesus that your Word is getting out the people. I pray more folks come to the knowledge of a Savior, on this blog and all around the world.

    For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. 1 Cor 1:18

    Father God, your will be done…

  9. Just chiming in to say I agree with Teacher in C.

  10. David

    Well, seeing as there are lots of “anti-Christians” on this blog, it seems only fair that a serious “pro-Christian” view should be shared…

    First, let me establish my credentials on this topic…I lived in Wuhan for three years and was involved in Chinese house churches the entire time. I also had friends who had experience with the Party-controlled “official” church. For those who will tar me as “uneducated”, I am currently working on my PhD in Computer Engineering in the US. Let me address some of the negative points people will throw at me. Are some “Christian” foreigners who come to China really deadbeats who do nothing to contribute to society? Sure. Are some of them heavy-handed indoctrinators? Yes, I knew a few. Do some Chinese kids become Christians because it is a “cool” thing to do? Absolutely. Do some Chinese churches hold wacky and bizarre beliefs? Yes, I have talked to some and heard of others.

    But I want to argue that you cannot criticize an entire group based on the actions of a few. Regardless of whether you believe in God or not (or believe but choose to ignore Him), let me speak to the benefits of people accepting and practicing Christian morality. Do we agree that China has a lot of problems: poverty, corruption, cheating, prostitution, fractured families, alienation of family and friends? I maintain that following Christ addresses all of these issues. I have personally seen Chinese friends of mine (my wife included) refuse to participate in corruption and lies, turn down lucrative deals that required cheating, build closer relationships with their families, and make great efforts to help the poor and unfortunate, all because of their Christian faith. There are several orphanages in China in Henan, Hunan, and Guangxi that our churches have supported over the years. I have seen university students give up their October Holiday and May Holiday (back when it was a full week), pay half their own way, and go to visit and show love to these children during their holiday. I have seen many other non-Christian Chinese praise these students for what they did, but would never consider doing it themselves. Most Chinese throw the poor on the government’s responsibility; Christians are one of the few groups I have seen take personal responsibility for the poor.

    So until you can think of a “secular” program that can successfully and consistently drive the Chinese to care for their fellow man like this, I propose that we give Christ-followers a chance.

    • pug_ster

      David,

      I do agree with you that the Chinese government does not do enough to promote volunteerism or NGO’s to help out the poor and unfortunate and Christian organizations are filling the void. Yes I agree that a few Christians try to use their religion to exploit others doesn’t represent Christians as a whole. The only problem is that why don’t you see other Christians go out of the way to condemn these ‘corrupt’ Christians? It reminds me of the of why Pedophile priests are never punished.

      Another peeve that I have is that why many of Christians who come up on your face and tell you to ‘repent.’ unless you follow Christ. I go to the subway and you see them making their speeches or giving out ‘literature’ of why Christ is good. Why? People who follow Christ have done terrible things in the past yet we can’t criticize them?

      • David

        @pug_ster – I totally agree with what you are saying. Yes, there are a lot of “corrupt” Christians today, and their corruption should be thoroughly opposed wherever it occurs. I’ll join you on the front lines with that. What I want to say is, don’t paint the whole group with the same brush. Just because some Enron executives were cheats and thieves, does that mean every employee at the company was dishonest? If we have dishonest politicians in the US government today, does that mean every politician in US history has been a cheat, including the Founding Fathers? Of course not.

        As for fire-and-brimstone “subway preachers”, they are a peeve of mine as well. I believe they (generally) do a lot of harm and not much good for those of us who try to share our faith through friendships and intelligent dialogue. But just remember that if we discount any group/organization that has a few misguided/bad apples, then we basically wouldn’t listen to anyone, because mankind is naturally corrupt.

    • According to some religious folks, we should be charitable because Jesus (or [insert deity here]) says we should. Atheists says we should be charitable because it’s the right thing to do (based on a variety of secular moral philosophical ideas). Yet the atheists are called immoral.

      In the United States, we have two political parties. The one that is the most closely associated with Christianity is currently blocking extension of unemployment benefits. You can call them “false Christians” but that seems to be a very convenient excuse.

      China currently has a lot of programs that help the poor, none of which are based on religious teachings. More is needed, but it is a religious and economic problem, not a lack of moral grounding.

    • lolz

      “For those who will tar me as “une­d­u­cated”, I am cur­rently work­ing on my PhD in Com­puter Engi­neer­ing in the US”

      So, do you believe in Evolution?

      • David

        Realizing that this is a loaded question, let me say that I have studied this question rather thoroughly, read the opinions and scientific findings on both sides, read the criticisms both sides have for the other side, and formulated my own opinions. That being said-

        I believe in the process of MICRO-evolution, which is the process of small changes (or shift of dominant and weak traits) within a given species. This has been observed in nature and is undeniably provable.

        I do not believe in the process of MACRO-evolution, which is the process of large change from one species to a totally new species. This has never been observed in nature as an ongoing process; all theories in this regard are based on the fossil record. After careful study of the fossil record, I remain unconvinced of the validity of this theory.

        I would be happy to discuss this with you, but not on this particular forum – it diverges from the subject.

  11. Tom

    As for Kai Pan’s question — I think the increase in religion in China is bad, but not *that* bad. Of course, it’s bad when people move from rationality to superstition. I’d much rather China developed a secular civil society, where people behaved morally just because it’s the nice thing to do — not because they’ll burn in hell if they didn’t.

    But everything has to proceed in stages. Sometimes you have to go one step back before you can move two steps forward.

    Under the Communists, China tried to leapfrog from feudalism to communism in one go. And that failed. They did not take Marx to heart. You’ve got to go from feudalism to capitalism first, and then from capitalism to socialism. Then, and only then, can you think about moving to communism. China is currently busy developing capitalism. Someday, it will turn to socialism, just as the Western countries have done.

    It’s the same thing with religion. Religion was suppressed under the Communists. It’s natural to expect an outburst now that controls have been relaxed. And in due time, the religious fervor will subside, just as it has in Western countries.

    Take the example of Poland. During the Communist era, the people clung to Catholicism as one of the few methods of defying the government without landing in jail. Then they joined Europe, and realized that Catholicism wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

    Christianity in China is an interesting phenomenon. There are more women adherents than men — not quite as lopsided as a hundred years ago, but still more women than men. The status of women in China needs to improve — and then this will naturally cause women to stop turning to religion as a balm. China’s government-sanctioned churches draw on a rich European tradition of using religion for the purposes of the state — Henry VIII, any number of German princes, the various Louis in France, heck, Vladimir Putin.

    • King Tubby

      Tom A good read but I take exception to your crude rendition of Marxism….MOP – feudalism, capitalism then socialism. If you read beyond the Communist Manifesto (not an analytical document, but an extended slogan) and the 1844 Manuscripts, you will find that the historical development of social formations is an infinitely far more complex affair.

      Marxism, or whats left of it after the collapse of the Althusserian rejig, simply provides some very useful concepts and analytical tools: it is a total failure as a wholistic system of prediction.

  12. MountainDood

    I’m appalled to see otherwise rational, articulate and smart people become utter raving loons.

    I’m talking about atheists when discussing the topic of religion.

    • I think you need to be a bit more specific with your complaints.

      Update: still looking for specifics. Religious folks always see atheists as a bit nuts, since their faith is obvious to them. I don’t know, though, that it ever makes sense for a religious person to call an atheist irrational. That’s a new one. Religion/faith is inherently irrational.

  13. lolz

    The NPR piece went on a little more to describe how Chinese people in foreign cars were dropped off in front of unmarked Churches in Shanghai where people secretly worship. One of the the point was that the new explosion of religion in China are made up of mostly middle-upper class Chinese folks who have recently attained wealth, and felt that they need to buy spirituality as well.

    Of course, some of the other Christians missionaries push for a completely different message: that the materialistic new China will not bring people into heaven, the bible will. Obviously this worked well with the more rural, poor population.

    As an agnostic I don’t really care for one or another. I see religious institutions as just another attempt by people to form cliques, make some money, and estabilishing their own hierarchy. The Christian orders at this moment are at least better than some of the so called “buddhist” institutions in Shanghai, which charged my parents over $2000 Yuan just to attend a new years ceremony and then $8888 to ring the giant bell for good luck (thank god my parents didn’t fall the later offer, although I was told many people waited in line to ring the bell).

  14. pug_ster

    Samuel Gregg: ‘One more Christian, one fewer Chinese’

  15. raytige

    Religion is a reflection of a nation’s rationality.

  16. shanxiao

    I’d like to know, how you people describe ‘rationality’ in a positive way (without negation)?

  17. J Wong

    Religion can be a good thing. I was in Eastern Europe a few months ago. There I talked to a Hungarian man, atheist, late 30s, lived through Communism, who said that nothing could teach his children values like going to church. He says he does not believe in God, but he is damn well trying to make sure his kids do. He reflected on the spiritual emptiness that have struck ordinary Hungarians after the downfall of Communism and state atheism. Corruption festers because there is no moral check on officials. Ordinary people are struggling, thus are returning to church, believing in God again, and for the most part, returning to a more ‘righteous’ lifestyle where money and power aren’t the only things that concern them.

    In this sense, religion is good.

    But in the Nordic countries, namely Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, church attendance is at an all-time low. Why? People’s lives are good. No need to depend on a higher force to make life good.

    And where do we see growth for Christianity? Latin America, Africa, pacific islands. Developing countries. Countries where peoples’ lives suck. People are struggling to make a living, stay alive, etc. are turning to God. Why? Because they feel powerless about their destinies.

    The same trends are happening in China. Where is Christianity growing? It is in the grassroots: in the backwater villages of Henan, the farmlands of Guizhou, the deserts of Gansu. And among old people who are about to die and looking for something to accompany their golden years.

    And where are urban elites turning to? New age spiritualism. Since the suppression of FL(you-know-what)Gooong in 1999, spiritual groups are quick to adapt and change their doctrines to suit the new regulations of the state to avoid ‘cult’ status. Pseudo-Buddhist healing traditions, for example, is one of these new age movements. Books about reincarnations and other spiritual matters are flooding the shelves catering towards a jaded new white-collar middle class. This group, having been raised with Communist doctrine but are no longer bound to it spiritually, are most likely to dismiss Christianity as legend and myth, and pursue more sophisticated ‘modern’ forms of spiritualism.

    Bin is probably wrong to say that being Christian is the same as buying Prada. For one, a big part of Western culture as we know it is descended directly from the tradition of the Enlightenment, which, among other things, was a secular revolt against religious dogma. Western values preach for reason, rationalism of the individual, etc. Without the Enlightenment, I would argue all the good things that the Western world stands for today would not exist. If there is something for China to emulate, it is the art of critical thinking – to reason and to challenge existing paradigms, norms, institutions.

    As an aside, the Bible translated into English has already lost a large chunk of its original meaning; revisions and deletions make the current Bible as we know it something quite distant from when it was first written. So, basically the Bible was translated from Hebrew to Greek/Latin, then English. And now a couple of hundred years later you’re looking to translate the English version into modern vernacular Chinese. What results is a totally nonsensical book with a bunch of foreign names which is impossibly cryptic reading for any Chinese adherents. No one is going to even understand what the Bible is about. Are they really Christian then? Only God knows.

    • lolz

      “And where are urban elites turn­ing to? New age spir­i­tu­al­ism. This group, hav­ing been raised with Com­mu­nist doc­trine but are no longer bound to it spir­i­tu­ally, are most likely to dis­miss Chris­tian­ity as leg­end and myth, and pur­sue more sophis­ti­cated ‘mod­ern’ forms of spiritualism.”

      Another person who clearly doesn’t read before he comments. From the NPR article:

      “One example is an unofficial church in an unmarked building in Wenzhou’s suburbs where a steady stream of imported cars drops off worshipers for a prayer meeting on a weekday night. This is the new face of Christianity in China: the up-and-coming urban middle classes. Material needs met, they are now seeking spiritual comfort. ”

      Christianity is trend for the wealthy to show off their spirituality. You may not like it but it’s the truth.

  18. Christine

    The closing remark of Hu’s editorial is rather telling:

    “And then they will realize that Young China was not far wrong in offering some opposition to a religion which in its glorious days fought religious wars and persecuted science, and which, in the broad daylight of the twentieth century prayed for the victory of the belligerent nations in the World War and is still persecuting the teaching of science in certain quarters of Christendom.”

    Looks like Mr. Hu already had an answer to a question raised in 2010 in his mind back in 1927.

  19. hm

    I was told as some Chinese get wealthier, they turn to religion in the hopes of protecting their wealth.

    And if you ain’t got anythin’ better to do with your time, you can always depend on religion to fill in the emptiness of your life.

  20. Jones

    “Anyone going to challenge me on using “the West” here? Or are you only supposed to challenge the usage when it is some thing negative?”

    Haha, being a little victimized, knee-jerk-defensive, are we? If you don’t like getting reamed for generalizing massive areas of the world/population by lumping us all into “the West”, then don’t do it. Plain and simple.

  21. {laughing} {laughing} {laughing} It is so funny to see the amount of screaming that has been going on in P.R. China (and in the Chinese Expat Communities) about the Baptists. It not like dealing with the Catholics or Anglicans – to which all the evils of Rome and London can be used as a brickbat.

    No, the Baptists reminds the old guard of the CCP too much of themselves – loose, small, but very committed to their cause – and they know they have become too much like the Confusicans and Catholics.

  22. Chip

    I’d say on the whole, good. From a couple of standpoints: 1) Religion is filling in a moral gap for those that want it that hasn’t been filled since the drastic move in 1978 from communism to full-fledged capitalism where noone is important except your family. 2) For many individuals, they DESIRE to have religion, and have been persecuted for years for the same. Religious freedom, regardless of whether an individual chooses to be religious or not, is not only a good thing but a human right.

    By the way, it’s pretty disgusting to hear people just as dogmatic about their athiesm as the religious people they attack who think they know what they’re talking about trying to protect the Chinese nation from “irrationality”. Live and let live! Who on earth are you to think you know what’s best for China?

    And enough with the bullcrap argument about religion starting wars! Wars and manmade famines have been started from people all across the theological spectrum.

    • King Tubby

      Wars and man­made famines have been started from peo­ple all across the ****the­o­log­i­cal spectrum***. ???? This is what you call an own goal.

  23. lolz

    I do wonder how many people commenting actually read the NPR link. Here is an excerpt from the NPR about the leader of the Christianity movement in China:

    “I stayed in prison for 69 days,” Zheng says. “There was a charge of speculation and profiteering. I hadn’t thought about Jesus much before. But I started to think about him all day long. It wasn’t that I believed in him. I just prayed he would get me out as soon as possible.” The experience convinced him to become a devout Christian. Despite his rocky start as an entrepreneur, Zheng flourished after private business became acceptable. Now, he is a member of the provincial Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body to the government, and director of the Wenzhou General Chamber of Commerce. He has been ranked by Forbes magazine as the 395th richest man in China, with assets estimated at more than $400 million. His consortium is called the Shenli Group, a name which translates literally as “God’s power.” It encompasses mining projects, real estate development and machinery. Zheng believes that making money is literally doing God’s work.”

  24. tc

    “As Christianity Booms, Is Religion Good for China?” — Very bad.

  25. “As Christianity Booms, Is Religion Good for China?”

    This question, as well as both article and comments, seems to overlook the fact that since 1949 CCP doctrine HAS, in effect, been the institutionalised theology of the Chinese people (thou shalt worship no God but your beloved leadership).

    Whatever the feelings of the irreligious among us (myself included), one thing is clear: freedom to worship is a basic human right that people do not take kindly to having removed from them. When the CCP banned all other belief systems but their own they succeeded in silencing overt forms of alternative worship, but failed to drive core faiths from the hearts and minds of the people.

    Now that things are a little more relaxed (for Christians, at least) it is little wonder that the CCP is being abandoned as the (spurious) guardian of morals and spirituality. Let’s hope the present leadership don’t take umbrage and exact petulant retribution in the style of Jiang Zemin.

    The ideal, as I see it, is for freedom of worship to be enshrined in a country’s constitution (a right protected by an independent judicial system), but where few people feel the need to exercise that right. China is a long way from that ideal under CCP authoritarian rule. Consequently, it is of little surprise that Christianity is filling the void.

    In sum, and to answer the question, under prevailing socio-economic conditions Christianity is a good thing for China and probably acts as a socially stabilising phenomenon, not least because it offers an alternative choice to the CCP’s own force-fed, ‘one size fits all’ belief system for the masses promulgated through the all-pervasive propaganda machine.

    • Only -3?

      Just as I thought – legions of fenqing recalled to Beijing for further ‘education’, unable to vote.

      I repeat the main thrust of my argument: as religions go, Christianity beats CCP hands down – and that’s saying something.

  26. This article made me rewatch “55 days in Peking”
    with glorious Charles Heston 1963 RIPNRA

    I was up in Dandong earlier this year, and I saw this recently built cathedral. WOW obviously “foreign” capital went into this.. Holy Shit

    giving wumao to Hong Xiuquan and his 太平天国

    remember, “God’s favorite position is on your knees”

    啊闷

  27. Brandenburg

    I seriously think the author of that propaganda comics is a retard

  28. Laowai

    The church is loosing following across the world and therefore sources of income. So the alternative is to go where the largest source of ‘unwashed’ and new money is (ie China )

  29. Gandhi: “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians.” There are a lot of arrogant, broken, damaged manipulative people who claim to be Christians out there. There are also humble, giving, self-sacrificing Christians.

    To me the if China is simply importing a western consumeristic, prosperity-gospel version of Christianity it’s a bad thing. But if the explosion of Christianity in China is self-sacrificial, love-your-neighbor, take care of the poor version (a Jesus-based version) that is what Christianity is supposed to be then it’s definitely a good thing.

    Not all religion or practice of religion is the same. I can’t imagine that people on this forum could take issue with Christian missionaries improving the lives of women and taking a stance against the opium trade that Hu Shi was actually addressing in the essay.

    As far as Christianity being a popular status symbol, I really don’t think that’s the case. It’s a lot easier for an NPR correspondent to find a rich church in Nanjing that to go out into the villages in AnHui and meet with house churches there. The majority of Christians in China are poor and living in the countryside. The version of Christianity in China is not the institutionalized church driven version that it is in the west. There are pockets here and there, but it’s not fair to say “Christianity in China” and think Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen.

    As far as Stan and Teacher C, you obviously don’t want to have a real conversation about if you start off by saying “fuck religion, in all it’s forms”, “religion is joke”, “religion is inherently irrational.” I mean seriously talk about dogmatic and uncharitable.

    • I’m happy to have a conversation about freedom of religion (I’m a big supporter) or the good/bad of missionary work. I applaud charitable works of all kinds, although I particularly like missionaries that perform good works without aggressive proselytizing. Conditional charity is nasty shit.

      As to having a conversation about religion itself, I’ve had hundreds of them in the past couple of decades. I don’t see why I can’t begin the conversation with the view that religion is a joke as long as I keep an open mind. After all, many religious people that engage me in conversation begin with the proposition that I am destined to live out eternity in hell. But that’s OK since they have faith?

      As to dogma, I don’t you understand what atheism is. Just because I hold an opinion, that doesn’t mean it is rooted in inflexible doctrine. With atheism, there is no doctrine, there are no principles, no beliefs, no tenets.

      There are none of these things with atheism because there is nothing upon which to build principles or doctrine.

      If someone came to me tomorrow with solid proof of a creator, I’d be on your side immediately. If you can’t do that, it seems to me that our “conversation” is also a joke. That is not dogmatic, that is just rational.

      • Zictor

        There is no reason why you CAN’T begin a conversation by ridiculing the other person’s worldview, but there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t. If you want to have an honest debate of ideas, that is.

        Just imagine the headmaster calling your child a “troublemaking piece of shit” as you come to his office to discuss your little angel’s behaviour in school. I don’t think you’d give much credit to whatever they said, no matter how convincing their point.

        Same go for the insensitive religious people you spoke to. Someone has to take the higher road and ignore the other. Wouldn’t it be awesome to beat them at their own game?

        “If some­one came to me tomor­row with solid proof of a cre­ator, I’d be on your side imme­di­ately.”

        I feel compelled to call bullshit on this one. Each person has a different concept of “solid proof” and you can always say any argument doesn’t satisfy your criteria. Plus, if it requires “solid proof”, it isn’t faith, it’s science. Even though even that requires a good amount of faith.

        “If you can’t do that, it seems to me that our “con­ver­sa­tion” is also a joke. That is not dog­matic, that is just rational.”

        Any argument is “rational” depending on the basis of its logic. Be it a spiritual or materialistic one. You are right that some of these discussions are pretty pointless when the two parties can’t acknowledge that the other is coming from a completely different place.

        • I used to pride myself on my civility and agnostic tendencies, but that was when I was younger and enjoyed late-night discussions over pizza and beer at school. After having the same old conversation, over and over again, it got a little boring.

          Your response points out how far apart we are. For example, I agree that “solid proof” is a subjective term. How about “any proof”? No one has ever brought that to the conversation either.

          I can’t have a serious conversation if, at the end, one person is basing their argument on faith and the other on objective, observable fact. It just doesn’t work, and neither person will ever be convinced.

          I really used to enjoy these conversations, but perhaps I should throw in the towel, admitting that this is pointless.

          When I say religious belief is a joke, I am not trying to belittle. It is a sign of frustration that with such an important issue that impacts the entire world, there is no way to have a conversation about it that, to me, makes any sense whatsoever.

          • Zictor

            Yes, we are far apart. What you don’t realize is that your position is as much grounded on belief as mine, but in different beliefs.

            Science itself depends a lot of faith. Researchers have faith in their theories (i.e. themselves, their intellect) and pursue confirmation to them. And many of them keep trying, even though they fail on the first tries. Eventually they’ll give up or succeed.

            Actually, this raises an interesting paradox, because a scientist is likely to manipulate the results to confirm his own theory. You end up with scientists claiming different scientific “truths” on the same fact.

            Actually rereading what I just wrote, it sounds just like different sects within the same religion, doesn’t it?

            Another thing that any philosophy student will tell you is that scientifically disproving the existence of the supernatural is as impossible as proving it.

            At best, you can say that your criteria weren’t met. But calling your criteria “solid fact” is taking it a little too far.

            The discussion starts at “Is there a God?” and then it can move to “If there is a God, what type of God is he?”.

            Actually, you should start by “is there a spiritual world?”. If nobody acknowledges these differences, then your conversation will be a joke.

          • Teacher in C

            @ Zictor
            “Sci­ence itself depends a lot of faith”
            Actually, no it doesn’t. Look up “science” in your dictionary. Very very little (I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know everything there is to know about it) of it depends on faith. Facts, pure and simple, are the name of the game. Again, I don’t have the time or the patience to argue this, as much like Stan I have engaged in this too often and met with such stubbornness that I’ve realized it’s pointless, especially in a little comments forum. Read the book, and get back to me.

      • kathy

        Stan
        You wrote :With athe­ism, there is no doc­trine, there are no prin­ci­ples, no beliefs, no tenets.
        But it is wrong. With atheism there is a premise – there is not God. The doctrine based on that premise killed millions of people in Europe and hundreds of millions in Asia. And no principles means that everybody is out for themselves.
        You denigrate religion, but it is religions – monotheistic religions in the West and the Buddhist/Shinto religions of the East – which give the values all of us follow.
        You and many here also denigrate catholic church, but it give Poles (and some Ukrainians) help to fight outsider’s atheist rule and contrary to what Tom says, there are many Poles who still follow catholic religion and oppose Brussels’ anti-clerical values.

        But to answer – is religion good for China? It depends entirely on Chinese.
        If Chinese people think that it will help them in their lives, in business, in private….. then yes. If they think only of aping Westerners – then no.
        Only Chinese themselves can answer that.

        • Jones

          With Atheism there is a premise, of course, but a small one. If you believe there isn’t a god, then you’re an atheist. However, as far as a lot of the things that most religion entails (what created us, why we’re here, where our morals come from, etc etc) it’s pretty open. An Atheist could technically, for example, not believe in a god yet still believe that our morality and civility is brought forth by influence and teachings from major religions. That’s a stretch, but I believe it could still be possible.

          Agnosticism in it’s more pure form is the one without a premise. I’m talking about Agnostics that don’t even consider the big questions about life, and the ones that, like me, have come to terms with their inability to decide on what to believe because of our own skepticism to anything that isn’t observable.

          Religion isn’t necessarily good or bad for a place. It more so depends on the personalities that are following the religion. Thanks to the fact that it all relies on faith, and a lot of it blind faith, it’s very easy for a person to interpret it how they want, even if it’s subconsciously. Human nature, you know.

        • Jones

          Sorry, forgot to mention: You’ll notice that the availability of decent, unadulterated education in an area usually correlates on how strictly and, unfortunately, badly (for lack of a better word) a religion (and other belief structures) is interpreted.

    • Teacher in C

      The main reason why I did it is because I have realized that religion gets too much “undue respect”, an idea explored in Dawkins book, the one I recommended. It was the shortest, simplest way to get across my point and recommend someone who took the time and effort to put essentially the same argument that I gave into a much more well-thoughtout, researched, and knowledgeable way than I ever could, so why should I bother trying? Read it, and get back to me.

  30. Zictor

    Here is probably the weirdest answer for your question:

    As long as the government keeps a steady level of cracking down on the churches and making life difficult from them, this is very good for China (and for the church).

    Bad things happen when the church (or any other philosophy/ideology/religion get cosy with the powers that be. Just look at the Catholic church and the American “christians” right now for a good example.

    On the other hand, a good level of persecution weeds the convenience and coolness christians out and keeps the genuine ones in, doing the good stuff.

    • That is a weird answer. A little persecution is a good thing?

      How about no persecution at all? If we are worried about the cozy relationship between Church and State, we can ensure a separation by writing it into law (e.g. the U.S. Constitution by way of the Bill of Rights). Sure, Americans don’t want to follow the Bill of Rights when it is inconvenient for them, but that’s exactly what it’s there for, to stop the mob.

    • in_ningbo

      I think it’s quite a clever idea, even though I disagree with persecution and crackdowns. But religions, as well as any other “non-profit” organisation that collects large sums of donations has to be held in check by authorities and have to have open books, that’s my opinion.

  31. I’m not sure if the distinction between belief in a creator and religion has been addressed head on. Neither one is rational, of course, but the distinction is important when discussing Kai’s original question.

    Many of the comments have suggested that the spread of Christianity is good for China because of a perceived spiritual vacuum. Assuming that is true, would you agree that China would be even better served if everyone, in the comfort of their own home, prayed to their deity of choice as opposed to getting wrapped up in organized religion and related political complications? It would also cut down on the expense and risk of printing Bibles and smuggling them into the country.

  32. [Zictor and I played out one of the threads below, so I’ll start another one going here.]

    In response to the statement:

    “What you don’t real­ize is that your posi­tion is as much grounded on belief as mine, but in dif­fer­ent beliefs. Sci­ence itself depends a lot of faith. Researchers have faith in their the­o­ries (i.e. them­selves, their intel­lect) and pur­sue con­fir­ma­tion to them.”

    I really disagree with that. I’ve heard the same thing from religious folks before and believe it’s just a way to even the playing field. Hey, we’re all operating on faith here, so stop claiming that there is something wrong with relying on it.

    Uh uh. I do not rely on faith, and neither does science. A theory is not an exercise in faith, it is an explanation of a set of facts that can hopefully be tested to determine whether it is a valid theory. Is anything related to religion testable?

    Yes, there are some theories in science that are (currently) untestable. Some scientists believe that those theories may be true, but without testing, that cannot be known for sure. But NO ONE orders their lives around those untestable theories the way religious people submit to detailed and arcane rules (e.g. keeping kosher, taking communion, whatever the hell Scientologists do).

    With me personally, I don’t “have faith” that gravity works, I observe it. I also appreciate the fact that through a mathematical model, we can predict the motion of heavenly bodies with this theory of gravity.

    If some day in the future the model breaks down due to an experiment or other observable phenomenon, the model will be amended or scrapped accordingly. I cannot for the life of me see how that compares at all with religion.

    Earlier, I was just talking about the existence of God, not discussing scientific theories. As I said before, there is no doctrine, no dogma, no nothing in my position on God. I have no evidence God exists, and that is the end of it. It is not accurate to say that I have faith that God doesn’t exist. I don’t have to utilize faith to arrive at my position, that’s what religious people have to do. That is why, once you clear away all the detritus of thousands of years of philosophical rationalization, the religious position is inherently weak.

    The ultimate answer is “I believe it because I believe it.” Why would anyone base their life on that sort of irrationality?

    • Zictor

      Nothing wrong with relying on faith, everybody has some sort of faith in something. Faith is essential to our lives. On a very basic level, you need to have faith that historians from 200 years ago were truthful. And we all know that’s prone to manipulation. A similar thing happens with the natural sciences.

      I’ve spoken to people that have faith that science will explain everything at some point in the future. That’s a religious attitude.

      As for your last question, it’s a very good one. I could give you a very long indirect list of answers, but I won’t. When you reach this point, everyone has a different answer, because it’s a very personal thing. I know that my experiences it would be irrational for me to believe in anything else, but that’s just me.

  33. Humor me folks – but are the posts not nesting in the thread? It is making tracing lines of thought not so easy.

  34. Xing

    基督教只会害了中国。

  35. King Tubby

    Matthew. You can’t even afford to uphold tradition and cruise in a MOPAR, but instead get around in a Great Walll or a similar POS. I feel for your wife and children. I really do.

    Myself. I drive next years model.

  36. blinded1

    Karl Marx was right: religion is the upium of mass. Look at what Christianlity did to Americans. China need neither Christianlty and Maoism.

    One more point: War on terror is partially a dog fight between Christianlty and Islam for global influence.

  37. lolz

    BTW, where did you get the first photo?

    The lady is wearing a nice diamond ring, gotta be 2carat? Nice fur coat too :)

  38. “is reli­gion some­thing that will help or hurt China, for itself, and for its inter­ac­tions with the rest of the world?”

    This question is meaningless, because there is no such thing as “religion.” It’s a false category that we use either as (1) a convenience, (2) to mean a specific ‘religion’, or (3) as a blatant straw man to attack views that oppose your own (Dawkins, etc.). “Religion” doesn’t actually work as a category; you’d have to be more specific because the things we typically lump under that category are so different that they don’t really belong in the same category.

    For this question to be meaningful, you’d have to specify “is ______ [evangelicalism, atheism, Marxism, etc.] some­thing that will help or hurt China, for itself, and for its inter­ac­tions with the rest of the world?”

  39. Forthelove

    Could Christianity be good for China? Well, what kind of legacy does the Judeo-Christian heritage have in civilizations where it has had a strong influence? Consider the following three, which developed in Judeo-Christian heritage cultures rather than anywhere else.

    1. Science. (The ancient Greeks developed math and logic, but it was the Judeo-Christian heritage that contributed the necessary idea that the universe is ordered for our benefit, and that we are charged with being ‘stewards’ of ‘creation’.)

    2. Human rights. (Every individual is inherently valuable because they are created and loved by God, bear the ‘image of God’, and are pursued by a loving God Who self-sacrificed to achieve their redemption. Take the Judeo-Christian God out of the picture and try arguing for the inherent worth of the individual. Take away the inherent worth of the individual and try arguing for inalienable human rights. As mentioned already, one very underreported aspect of China’s human rights scene is the relatively large number of activists/lawyers who fight for human rights because of their Christian beliefs.)

    3. Democracy. (According to the Judeo-Christian heritage, people are valuable but our nature is corrupted/sinful/selfish. Democracy, with its checks and balances and limitations on power, assumes both of these points; the ‘will-to-power’ ignores both.)

    Now, certainly horrible inexcusable things have been done in the name of God/religion/Christianity. But I’m quite happy to compare those bad things and the above list to the accomplishments and contributions of the explicitly atheist and/or anti-Christian societies/governments history has witnessed (Mao’s China, Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, Cambodia…). If you wish to continue the silly straw-man, scape-goat demonization of religion/Christianity, please see here:
    “I know what you’re going to say—atheism didn’t kill these people; they were murdered by confused individuals who just happened to be atheists—but then that pretty much lets us all off the hook, now doesn’t it?”

    • whichone

      That scientific discoveries flourished despite being in an environment of “Judeo-Christian heritage” does not make Christianity a supporter of science. Most of the science, math and wisdom of the classical antiquity went out with the fall of Roman empire and the rise of Catholic church which became the final authority on all activities. Europe did not crawl out of these 700 years of intellectual stagnation until the the Age of Enlightenment/Reason with thinkers and philosophers rejected the stranglehold of the Church on all things related to nature and universe. The Church may have had people believe the universe were created for them, but it did not encourage any interest to explore how or why the nature is what it is, and everywhere questions were stonewalled with religious dogma and the search for truth beaten back with violence and mysticism. That you have the galls now to argue Christian faith contributed to science only further confirms that superstition twists facts and blind people to reason for its own preservation.

      The inherent worth and dignity of every human being lies in that we are rational, reasoning creatures, as opposed to other animals which only reacts to the environment based on instinct. To wholeheartedly submit oneself to an imaginary being is to give up part of free will which forms the basis of our dignity, therefore your failure to perceive human worth apart from your superstition does not rob anyone of their claim for human rights.

      The separation of powers in government was first developed by the Greeks along with democracy, having very little to do with Christianity that came several hundred years later. Checks and balances in particular is an idea advanced by Montesquieu, a philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment, in which reason, rather than faith, was the source of authority.

      • King Tubby

        whichone. Being niggly, but you are using an *anachronistic* concept of democracy with regard to Ancient Greece. Greece was many positive things, but it was not an exemplar of democracy as we know it today.

        The Greek inheritance – mathamatics, astronomy, physics – was carried forward by the Islamic world, while early medieval Europeon world was wallowing in predatory warfare and a total lack of personal hygiene. (The latter was routinely remarked upon by educated Muslims.)

        Human rights are not some transhistorical abstract entity which can be directly contrasted to Christian superstition. They are a peculiarly modern 20th construction, gradually taking shape in law post WW11.

        If you were able to to time travel and mentioned HRs to Diderot et al, they would have been totally perplexed and would have ejected you from the saloon.

        Reason winning hearts and minds versus religious superstition, did not automatically create a space for democratic practice. You need other additional references beside the separation of powers to explain the development of modern democratic societies.

        At best, you have only advanced a very Hegelian teleology and a very Western ethnocentric one at that.

        • whichone

          Well, my point on human rights was only that there was a basis for its universalization in the modern form without relying on an appeal to God, which was the argument put forth by “Forthelove”.

          Similarly for democracy, my point was that its development were independent of the Judeo-Christian faith, and that reason and rationality were a necessary, though perhaps not a sufficient condition.

      • kailing

        I recently read about the theory that it was the Christian religious power in Europe the one that propitiated “democracy” and the right to dissent. The reasoning behind is that the existence of a power, equally absolute, in front of the absolute political power became the “petri dish” for freedom and dissent. You can always seek protection under the church cloak, or under the state cloak, depending on who is persecuting you; and this helped in encouraging opposition. And seeing this theory from China, sounds plausible. 5000 years of history where there was only one supreme power, the emperor, to whom all other powers (the intelllectual confucian elite and the religious elite -mostly buddhism) had to obey. State control over religion and intelligentsia in China is something that goes back long ago in history, some putting this change, for religion, when the Shamans lose their turf, and religion was “courtified”, bureaucratized and put to the service of the empire and its means in early China.
        As a theory seems interesting, and plausible.

  40. Tubby, what I know is that there is a town called Sawtell on the east coast – north of Syndey. If I ever get the chance, I will play that town a visit.

  41. Ergun Coruh

    By the looks of it people may be turning to religion as a way to express their political identity against lack of liberty rather than alleged ‘spiritual’ needs. i.e. religion is perhaps substituted for political opposition. The real problem is democracy is an alien concept for you, therefore you are more inclined to substitute one form of tyranny with another.

  42. King Tubby

    Something right on topic for readers to cast a critical eye on.

    http://www.thestar.com/article/845270–christians-attacked-in-china

  43. Terry

    Please, read the book “Spirit of the Rainforest”. In it the natives overwhelmingly wanted the gospel that set them free – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In china or any other place, it is still the choice of each individual. Give them the choice. We are making ours.

  44. Jones

    Hey chumps. Feel like rolling your eyes?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/02/AR2010090205358.html?hpid=topnews

    Send all of your thanks and well-wishes in monetary format.

  45. Nij

    If China is listening to history – keep Christians where they belong – Venus!
    You let them in, fear, horror, murder…

Continuing the Discussion