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Christianity Johnson on 22 Aug 2008 02:08 am

The rise of Christianity in China – a fascinating case study

Two reports on Christianity in China:

1) Jesus in China: Christianity’s rapid rise

Christianity — repressed, marginalized and, in many cases, illegal in China for more than half a century — is sweeping the country, overflowing churches and posing a sensitive challenge to the officially atheist Communist Party.

By some estimates Christian churches, most of them underground, now have roughly 70 million members, as many as the party itself. A growing number of those Christians are in fact party members.

Christianity is thriving in part because it offers a moral framework to citizens adrift in an age of Wild West capitalism that has not only exacted a heavy toll in corruption and pollution but also harmed the global image of products “Made in China.”

2) It’s been a brutal Olympics for Chinese Christians

China did think it could control God, first in the early 1950s by regulating the devout into religious “patriotic associations.” That launched a period of extreme persecution that peaked during the Cultural Revolution, when absolute atheism banned all religions. Today, registered churches, such as the one U.S. President George Bush visited before the Olympics, have more than 50,000 meeting points. Restrictions include not being able to acknowledge Rome as their bishop, not being able to baptize or evangelize those under the age of 18, and ensuring that all teaching is “compatible with socialism.”

It would be fascinating to study what is happening here. You take a Chinese adult who presumably has never heard of Christianity before. You expose the adult to the Christian meme. Apparently the infection rate is incredibly high on a percentage basis, and it must be nearly instantaneous to get this kind of growth rate. It is obvious that this should happen – this is why Christianity has two billion participants around the globe. But a lot of the normal recruiting is done starting in childhood.

In China’s case, the infection happens during adulthood. Presumably sane adults abandon rationality and voluntarily sign up for the superstition of prayer, things like misogyny and slavery in the Bible, the mythology, etc.

What would you say to people to get them to sign up?

If you are a recently converted Chinese Christian, or if you are a Christian who converted to the faith as an adult in any country, we would love to hear from you. It appears that you have discarded rational thinking and voluntarily signed up for a life of superstition and mythology. But obviously you see things differently. What caused you to convert to Christianity?

15 Responses to “The rise of Christianity in China – a fascinating case study”

  1. on 22 Aug 2008 at 8:41 am 1.JC said …

    “What would you say to people to get them to sign up?”

    Maybe you would tell people about the love of God and Jesus and they would see it is real. It is real, even though you do not see it.

  2. on 22 Aug 2008 at 10:15 am 2.Brad Pritikin said …

    “Presumably sane adults abandon rationality…”

    That’s a big assumption. It’s more likely these were people who previously believed in the supernatural.

    We aren’t talking about people trained in critical thinking. We are talking about a country where acupuncture is widely accepted.

    That’s not to say you aren’t making a good point about the meme. It must have characteristics that make it attractive to these people.

  3. on 22 Aug 2008 at 11:28 am 3.JustCan't said …

    JC writes: “Maybe you would tell people about the love of God and Jesus and they would see it is real. It is real, even though you do not see it.”

    He DIDN’T write this: “…. although I have no proof and I haven’t done the real investigations myself to get to that conclusion — all I needed was someone to tell me they were real and I swallowed it, or saw it.”

    Making an incredible claim without proof is useless in regular human discourse.

    China is growing by leaps in bounds in many ways, but they are in their infancy as a functional society free from totalitarianism and fear. The freedom of religion (albeit stunted) experienced there now allows for these infants to experiment with things previously forbidden to them. For example — it is kind of how catholic school girls often act once free of the stagnating restraints that held them back for so long. They tend to go overboard with the new freedom. Another example would be the Amish teens allowed to leave and try secular life before deciding whether or not to return. They overdo it. Don’t believe me? Watch “The Devil’s Playground”, a wonderful documentary showcasing these over-compensating teens.

  4. on 22 Aug 2008 at 5:32 pm 4.Eddie Van Helsing said …

    “Presumably sane adults abandon rationality…”

    If they were rational, would they have tolerated over fifty years of socialism and tyranny under Mao’s Communist party?

  5. on 23 Aug 2008 at 6:14 am 5.The Warrior said …

    JC writes,

    “What would you say to people to get them to sign up?”

    Maybe you would tell people about the love of God and Jesus and they would see it is real. It is real, even though you do not see it. ”

    Or perhaps you could tell people to read the bible and find all the flaws that are in it. Infact, tell them to read it a few times and each time they read it – question each part – after the 3rd time they will realise its just an imaginary story!!

  6. on 24 Aug 2008 at 3:29 am 6.Pasta Lover said …

    “What would you say to people to get them to sign up?”

    You tell them that God is just like the government, only more powerful and willing to carry out even harsher punishments on dissenters. Same old christianity. : )

  7. on 24 Aug 2008 at 3:05 pm 7.nangra said …

    If you tell people not to believe in God, what would you have them believe in? Where is your hope? What is your future?

    Christianity isn’t about power…it’s about love.

  8. on 24 Aug 2008 at 3:36 pm 8.The Warrior said …

    nangra said …

    [quote]Christianity isn’t about power…it’s about love.[/quote]

    Tell President Bush that – after every speech on Iraq he finishes of with ” God bless America “!! What does that tell you?

    Warrior

  9. on 25 Aug 2008 at 10:26 am 9.db0 said …

    Chistianity is something like 90% violence, judgement and hate and 10% compassion and love.

  10. on 25 Aug 2008 at 10:37 am 10.Yoo said …

    Christianity is probably spreading through the Chinese for the same reason they believe in: chi, astrology, the power of 4, the potency of tiger balls, etc. It probably helps that Maoism is waning and that China hasn’t had much of a pre-existing monotheistic mythology based on a tyrannical deity.

  11. on 25 Aug 2008 at 3:37 pm 11.Christian Soldier said …

    “Warrior” said:

    “Tell President Bush that – after every speech on Iraq he finishes of with ” God bless America “!! What does that tell you?”

    You’re right, “Warrior”; war has never solved anything–except for ending slavery, Nazi oppression, ethnic cleansing and godless communism!

    But hey, communism has only killed 100 million people over the last century…what say we give it another chance?

  12. on 25 Aug 2008 at 11:40 pm 12.Yoo said …

    (Looking at what Christian Soldier wrote and not making sense how its reasoning works …)

    Well, war pretty much failed to achieve the preservation of slavery, the continuation of a thousand-year Third Reich, a complete and utter ethnic cleansing, and preventing the spread of godless communism. Maybe war really isn’t what it’s hyped up to be …

    (And is also wondering why giving communism another chance is brought up, seeing that no one has suggested it …)

  13. on 26 Aug 2008 at 4:48 am 13.db0 said …

    (And is also wondering why giving communism another chance is brought up, seeing that no one has suggested it …)

    Because it’s the favourite candy of the seriously deluded christian with a persecution complex?

  14. on 26 Aug 2008 at 8:41 am 14.The Warrior said …

    ” Christian Soldier said …

    …But hey, communism has only killed 100 million people over the last century…what say we give it another chance? ”

    And how many has God killed, or at the very least – claimed to have killed in the Bible? Women and there Children wiped out just to save one……!!!

    Warrior

  15. on 26 Aug 2008 at 10:03 am 15.Yoo said …

    And how many has God killed, or at the very least – claimed to have killed in the Bible?

    And for comparison purposes, how many people does the Bible explicitly claim that Satan killed?

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