Christianity in China

Publié le par chrislzh

At Beijing Review (http://www.bjreview.com.cn) I found a couple of interesting articles about Christianity in China. Yeah, sure, they should be discussing the evils of Christianity, right? I mean, BJ Review is a government publication, and good Communists are supposed to be atheists. Well, no, the articles didn't attack Christianity in any way, shape or form. Actually, they were positively positive in their coverage. Well, only one is worth blogging, since the other was simply about Christmas Eve at Yanjing Theological Seminary in Qinghe, not far north of where I am sitting.

Sidenote: Is there any seminary anywhere on the face of this earth that is not theological?

Anyway, the bloggable article (http://www.bjreview.com.cn/books/txt/2006-12/25/content_51014.htm) raised a couple of interesting points, at least for me, but I should warn you that all of these points are very minor side issues that actually aren't all that relevant to anyone anywhere at anytime except to me now.

"Becoming a Believer", this article is titled, and it seems to be a tacit admission of the increasing popularity of Christianity here.

It starts by explaining why two very young (22 and 28, not much younger than me, really) Chinese christians refused to see 'The Da Vinci Code':

""I've already read the novel, which claims that the Bible we see todayis not at all written by God, but is a product of heretics. The authorof this novel argues that people's belief in Christianity in the past2,000 years is carried on by concealing the truth." Su said shebelieves <em>The Da Vinci Code</em> posed challenges and a threat to the Bible and the Christian belief that derives from this classic."

It poses challenges and a threat to the Bible? Well, not really. At least, not for intelligent, informed people with at least a basic grasp of history. And even if it did, that would be all the more reason for Christians to watch it. You don't win an argument by refusing to listen to your opponents viewpoint. You win by listening and then exposing the factual and logical fallacies in their argument.

It goes on to relate how a variety of people came to be Christians.

"Su said she treated the Bible as an English reference book forvocabulary for the Graduate Record Examination when she read it for thefirst time in her third year of college, preparing to go to the UnitedStates for further study in biology."

Well, I'm sorry, but that's just plain dumb. Even the simplest, most 'plain English' translations (e.g. the Good News Bible) are far too specific and focused on a particularly religious context for me to consider it to be of much use preparing for such an exam.

"Yet, Su was a student of biology, with a belief in evolution. "God isgreat and instructions in the Bible are wonderful, but I just couldn'tbelieve in the existence of God--I never believed that God created theworld and mankind." During her early days in the United States, in order to improve herEnglish, Su joined a Bible study group, where she felt for the firsttime that selfless love existed in the world. She came to realize thatrationality alone would not suffice. "For instance, based on rationalanalysis, a mother's love for her children does not do the mother muchgood, so she should stop giving her children so much love, but thepoint is that this kind of love is very crucial for the survival ofmankind.""

1: I don't see any conflict between science and faith. The two deal with very different aspects of our existence. I really don't see how evolution rules out the existence of God, and I don't see any kind of logic or faith whatsoever in the insistence that the world was created exactly as Genesis Chapter One describes it. The Evolution vs. Creation argument is just another false argument. There is no contradiction at all between the two.
2: Congratulations, Ms Su! You managed to use the purely evolutionary basis for maternal love as some kind of proof that evolution must be wrong. Told you this was a false argument.

"At the beginning, Qin even sneered at the words "In God We Trust" printed on every U.S. currency note"

Well, I know it's printed on the coins, but I didn't know it was on the notes as well. And many Christians I know, myself included, also sneer at those words since that statement is so patently false.

"Although he never regarded himself as a perfect person, neither did heconsider himself a sinner, but when he came to the Book of Romans, itsuddenly struck him that he was a sinner, too."

Well, I certainly approve of the choice of book. Romans is by far the most logical exposition of Christian theology I have ever come across. Romans and Ecclesiastes (which is purely delicious in its existentialism) are my two favourite books of the Bible.

"Qin's concern was not groundless. He still remembers that his fatherused to tell him that Christianity came to China "on cannonballs" afterthe Opium War in 1840."

Sometimes it really is utterly astounding, the lack of knowledge of China's own history displayed by so many Chinese people. The first Christian sect I know of to show up in China were the Nestorians who had a community in Chang'an way back in the Tang dynasty. They were followed up with the arrival of Matteo Ricci and his fellow Catholic missionaries during the Ming. I have even read a theory that the Manicheans, who seem to have been some weird offshoot of Christianity, had an influence on the founders of the Ming. The arrival of Christianity in China had nothing to do with cannonballs. But I really shouldn't get so upset by such a ridiculous assertion. Christianity is still very unimportant in Chinese society and it really is very easy to see how people could see it as some sort of tool of foreign oppressors. In fact, it was used as a tool to subjugate China for so long, and there are missionaries in China now who seem to have the same goal as the foreign oppressors of the Qing and Republic of China periods.

Alright, now that I've ranted sufficiently about a few very minor issues that really have nothing to do with what the article in question was trying to express, go read it yourself if you're interested. Or don't. Or argue with me. Or whatever. 

Publié dans chrislzh

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