Christianity with Chinese Characteristics

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In the course of updating my website I watched again this report I voiced in September, 2010 for France 24, the French CNN channel.

It tells you a little more about Christianity and Wenzhou. One “Christian Boss” there active in the state-sanctioned church “invites” his 1,600 employees to convert. “He’d rather do business with his own…business and religion are complementary.”

As China charts its way from empire to nation-state, religion, economics and governance fuse in a way that would be most familiar to Europeans. Throw in the Confucian dictum of top down authority and you’ve got Christianity with Chinese Characteristics.

In a related story, today’s Telegraph also reports in 15 years Christians in China will probably outnumber Christians in the U.S.

No real news here but one quote, attributed to a 40 year-old Chinese Christian, illustrates what one Chinese thinks would result from a faith-based society.

“If everyone in China believed in Jesus then we would have no more need for police stations. There would be no more bad people and therefore no more crime.”

If you find this simplistic, you’re not alone.  Intellectual expectations have to be tamped down when you’re talking to the average Jane and Zhou in the street in China. America also.

Segueing, somewhat, to historical ignorance — which, again, can easily be found on the streets in both empires — NPR colleague Louisa Lim, in her new book, The People’s Republic of Amnesia, illustrates the government’s astonishing ability to shape opinion.