Christianity Johnson on 22 Aug 2008 02:08 am
Two reports on Christianity in China:
Christianity â€” repressed, marginalized and, in many cases, illegal in China for more than half a century â€” 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.”
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?