Oct 24, 2007

China's church is growing

Firstly, Chinese people are joining churches at an unprecedented rate.

In spite of all the modernization, rural living standards have not improved as they have in many cities, and the all-embracing welfare of the communist era has eroded. There are many people seeking the support, hope and a sense of redemption that Christianity can provide.

Even where there is wealth, traditional Chinese values and social codes have been undermined. Christianity seems to be providing many of the newly rich with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose.

"People are so busy making money, that they've lost sight of the most important things in life," said one churchgoer in Wuhan. "They don't notice that they've neglected their families, until they suddenly find they need loving support and it's not there."

But there is one group - the growing number of influential intellectuals and academics who see in Christianity part of the blueprint for China's modernization.

Some of them believe indigenous religions, such as Taoism and Buddhism, with their pragmatism and assumption of human goodness, do not have the same ability as Christianity to produce the realistic, self-critical and long-term strategies that China needs in a globalised world. For a start, in order for China to modernise effectively, it would have to relax censorship, and allow public discussion of issues as sensitive even as the death penalty.

...part of the above was adapted from BBC

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