Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Religion in China 

Went to Think in China at the Bridge tonight and heard a professor from Beida talking about Religion in China. Very interesting. There is, in China, a growing belief that there is something about Christianity that is good for China. But what is just as fascinating as China's changing attitudes is the change in the attitudes of Westerners toward the same thing. During the lengthy question and answer period following his lecture, the professor was repeatedly questioned by young western intellectuals about his statements. It strikes me that during the early years of Chinese Communism, it was Westerners who were deploring the rise of "Godless Communism" while Communists in China were acting out Marx's maxim that "religion is the opiate of the masses," in hopes that the terrible scourge of religion would finally be eliminated, now it is the Chinese who are looking to religion as a positive force, and Westerners who are tending, more and more, to view genuine Christianity as a drug that deadens the senses of senseless people.

The professor mentioned the fact that under Mao, the city of Wenzhou had been declared a religion free zone, but that in 20 years or so, the population of Protestant Christians (Chinese term for evangelicals) had doubled. The story of Wenzhou is even more dynamic than that. There are Christian companies in Wenzhou who have printed in their application material that they have a Christian corporate culture. There are house churches in Wenzhou that have their own buildings. The government policy quite clearly had the opposite effect to that intended.

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