Source Link: China’s ‘Come to Jesus’ Moment – By Eric Fish
This article gives us an important insight that the what provides the leverage against China’s religious oppression and communist ideology is neither the usefulness of its knowledge (theology) nor its organizational power (evangelical constituents), but rather the « lived-out morality of Christian individual workforce, » namely a Protestant work ethic needed to undergird and stabilize China’s outrageous economics of state capitalism.
[I]n Nanjing, the government has funded the construction of an officially sanctioned 5,000-person Protestant church, one of China’s largest. And the U.S.-based Christian group International Cooperating Ministries reportsto have assisted in building 292 churches across China in recent years — with the government’s blessing. While this is partly in hopes of drawing followers away from underground churches, it might also be with the understanding that Christianity could be good for China’s economic development.
« Christianity is seen as useful from the official point of view because it’s not just about acting morally as an individual and being a good citizen. It’s about the work ethic, » argues Wielander, adding that there seems to be an attraction to the argument that Protestantism curbed excesses like greed and corruption in the market economy of the West during the early stages of capitalist development.
In the business hub of Wenzhou, which has a 20 to 30 percent Christian population, the government has begun to study the success of Christian-owned enterprises.
« Conservative Christian morality has, perhaps indirectly, contributed to Wenzhou’s success by helping maintain family stability and, thus, the stability of their family businesses in the context of perceived moral decadence, » says Nanlai Cao, author of Constructing China’s Jerusalem: Christians, Power, and Place in Contemporary Wenzhou. « After all, the family is the basic unit of petty capitalist production for Wenzhou people. » One Christian factory manager in Wenzhou in 2010 told the BBC that he prefers to hire Christian workers. « When they do things wrong, they feel guilty — that’s the difference, » he said.
Beneath the article, MIKEM’s pithy comment caught my eye and made me grin:
I certainly don’t want to discourage China from ceasing their oppression of religious people, or from facilitating the growth of Christianity (as long as its done justly and without coercion), but it seems like they’re reasons for doing these things are flawed.
The Chinese have shunned religion because it’s supposedly « the opiate of the masses. » Now they want to embrace it because they think that their people could use an opiate. They seem less interested in ending state oppression and more hopeful that Christianity will « dull the pain of oppression, » as Marx said it does.
My take on this issue is that eventually (eschatologically) China will need both the knowledge and the organizational power of Christianity to nurture its work ethic, in spite that right now it is prevalent in Chinese minds that they can divorce Christian theology (ontology) and Christian community (ecclesiology) from Christian morality (ethics).
If you cannot keep with me here yet, then just focus on the article.