Feeds:
Articles
Commentaires

Archive for the ‘Chine’ Category

Chrétiens chinois tenant leurs Bibles

Chrétiens chinois tenant leurs Bibles

Article de The Economist : Cracks in the atheist edifice – The rapid spread of Christianity is forcing an official rethink on religion.

The coastal city of Wenzhou is sometimes called China’s Jerusalem. Ringed by mountains and far from the capital, Beijing, it has long been a haven for a religion that China’s Communist leaders view with deep unease: Christianity. Most cities of its size, with about 9m people, have no more than a dozen or so visibly Christian buildings. Until recently, in Wenzhou, hundreds of crosses decorated church roofs.

This year, however, more than 230 have been classed as “illegal structures” and removed. Videos posted on the internet show crowds of parishioners trying to form a human shield around their churches. Dozens have been injured. Other films show weeping believers defiantly singing hymns as huge red crosses are hoisted off the buildings. In April one of Wenzhou’s largest churches was completely demolished. Officials are untroubled by the clash between the city’s famously freewheeling capitalism and the Communist Party’s ideology, yet still see religion and its symbols as affronts to the party’s atheism.

Christians in China have long suffered persecutiont. Under Mao Zedong, freedom of belief was enshrined in the new Communist constitution (largely to accommodate Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists in the west of the country). Yet perhaps as many as half a million Christians were harried to death, and tens of thousands more were sent to labour camps. Since the death of Mao in 1976, the party has slowly allowed more religious freedom. Most of the churches in Wenzhou are so-called “Three Self” churches, of which there are about 57,000 round the country. These, in the official jargon, are self-supporting, self-governed and self-propagating (therefore closed to foreign influence). They profess loyalty to China, and are registered with the government. But many of those in Wenzhou had obviously incurred official displeasure all the same; and most of the Christians who survived Maoist persecution, along with many new believers, refuse to join such churches anyway, continuing to meet in unregistered “house churches”, which the party for a long time tried to suppress.

Christianity is hard to control in China, and getting harder all the time. It is spreading rapidly, and infiltrating the party’s own ranks. The line is blurring between house churches and official ones, and Christians are starting to emerge from hiding to play a more active part in society. The Communist Party has to find a new way to deal with all this. There is even talk that the party, the world’s largest explicitly atheist organisation, might follow its sister parties in Vietnam and Cuba and allow members to embrace a dogma other than—even higher than—that of Marx.

Any shift in official thinking on religion could have big ramifications for the way China handles a host of domestic challenges, from separatist unrest among Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uighurs in the country’s west to the growth of NGOs and “civil society”—grassroots organisations, often with a religious colouring, which the party treats with suspicion, but which are also spreading fast.

Safety in numbers

The upsurge in religion in China, especially among the ethnic Han who make up more than 90% of the population, is a general one. From the bullet trains that sweep across the Chinese countryside, passengers can see new churches and temples springing up everywhere. Buddhism, much longer established in China than Christianity, is surging too, as is folk religion; many more Han are making pilgrimages to Buddhist shrines in search of spiritual comfort. All this worries many officials, for whom religion is not only Marx’s “opium of the people” but also, they believe, a dangerous perverter of loyalty away from the party and the state. Christianity, in particular, is associated with 19th-century Western imperial encroachment; and thus the party’s treatment of Christians offers a sharp insight into the way its attitudes are changing.

It is hard even to guess at the number of Christians in China. Official surveys seek to play down the figures, ignoring the large number who worship in house churches. By contrast, overseas Christian groups often inflate them. There were perhaps 3m Catholics and 1m Protestants when the party came to power in 1949. Officials now say there are between 23m and 40m, all told. In 2010 the Pew Research Centre, an American polling organisation, estimated there were 58m Protestants and 9m Catholics. Many experts, foreign and Chinese, now accept that there are probably more Christians than there are members of the 87m-strong Communist Party. Most are evangelical Protestants.

Predicting Christianity’s growth is even harder. Yang Fenggang of Purdue University, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China’s Christian population the largest in the world. Mr Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire.

In the 1980s the faith grew most quickly in the countryside, stimulated by the collapse of local health care and a belief that Christianity could heal instead. In recent years it has been burgeoning in cities. A new breed of educated, urban Christians has emerged. Gerda Wielander of the University of Westminster, in her book “Christian Values in Communist China”, says that many Chinese are attracted to Christianity because, now that belief in Marxism is declining, it offers a complete moral system with a transcendental source. People find such certainties appealing, she adds, in an age of convulsive change.

Some Chinese also discern in Christianity the roots of Western strength. They see it as the force behind the development of social justice, civil society and rule of law, all things they hope to see in China. Many new NGOs are run by Christians or Buddhists. There are growing numbers of Christian doctors and academics. More than 2,000 Christian schools are also dotted around China, many of them small and all, as yet, illegal.

One civil-rights activist says that, of the 50 most-senior civil-rights lawyers in China, probably half are Christians. Some of them have set up the Association of Human Rights Attorneys for Chinese Christians. Groups of well-paid urban Christian lawyers join together to defend Christians—and others—in court. Missionaries have begun to go out from China to the developing world.

Unexpected benefits

The authorities have responded to this in different ways. In places like Wenzhou, they have cracked down. Implementation of religious policy is often left to local officials. Some see toughness as a way of displaying loyalty to the central leadership. Mr Yang of Purdue University says there are rumours in Wenzhou that the crackdown there is partly the result of a local leader’s efforts to win favour with President Xi Jinping.

China Aid, an American church group, says that last year more than 7,400 Christians suffered persecution in China. And there is still plenty of less visible discrimination. But 7,400 people are less than 0.01% of all Chinese Christians. Even if the figure is higher, in this century “persecution is clearly no longer the norm”, says Brent Fulton of ChinaSource, a Christian group in Hong Kong.

That is largely because many officials see advantages in Christianity’s growth. Some wealthy business folk in Wenzhou have become believers—they are dubbed “boss Christians”—and have built large churches in the city. One holds evening meetings at which businessmen and women explain “biblical” approaches to making money. Others form groups encouraging each other to do business honestly, pay taxes and help the poor. Rare is the official anywhere in China who would want to scare away investors from his area.

In other regions local leaders lend support, or turn a blind eye, because they find that Christians are good citizens. Their commitment to community welfare helps to reinforce precious stability. In some large cities the government itself is sponsoring the construction of new Three Self churches: Chongyi church, in Hangzhou, can seat 5,000 people. Three Self pastors are starting to talk to house-church leaders; conversely, house-church leaders (often correctly) no longer consider official churches to be full of party stooges.

In recent years the party’s concerns have shifted from people beliefs to the maintenance of stability and the party’s monopoly of power. If working with churches helps achieve these aims, it will do so, even though it still frets about encouraging an alternative source of authority. In 2000 Jiang Zemin, then party chief, and himself a painter of calligraphy for his local Buddhist temples, said in an official speech that religion would probably still be around when concepts of class and state had vanished.

Increasingly, the party needs the help of religious believers. It is struggling to supply social services efficiently; Christian and Buddhist groups are willing, and able, to help. Since about 2003, religious groups in Hong Kong have received requests from mainland government officials to help set up NGO’s and charities. In an age of hedonism and corruption, selfless activism has helped the churches’ reputation; not least, it has persuaded the regime that Christians are not out to overthrow it. For the Catholic church, though, the situation is trickier: allegiance to Rome is still seen by some officials as a sign of treachery.

Ms Wielander says she does not believe the flock will go on growing by 10% year in, year out. But she admits that the party is now paying more attention to the increasing religiosity of ordinary Chinese. So, in some areas, it is modifying its attitude and official rhetoric (while keeping intense pressure on Buddhist Tibetans and Muslim Uighurs, whose religious beliefs are seen to threaten the integrity of the state). In May last year the head of the Russian Orthodox church was welcomed by Mr Xi in Beijing, the first such foreign church leader to meet China’s party chief.

Now is the time for all good men…

When the Communist Party allowed entrepreneurs to join in 2001, some voices suggested that it should also allow religious believers to do so. Pan Yue, a reformist official, wrote a newspaper article to that effect entitled, “The religious views of the Communist Party must keep up with the times”. One influence was the decision of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1990 to allow its members to be religious believers. The move went smoothly, and may even have helped to stabilise Vietnam after its turbulent recent past. In China, however, Mr Pan’s idea was ignored.

One Chinese article in 2004 claimed that 3m-4m party members had become Christians. Despite that, the party still has doubts about officially admitting them. Recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are likely to reinforce those fears: some of the organisers were Christians. It worries the regime that the growth of house churches may also provide more room for the growth of quasi-Christian cults, which may then—like the banned Falun Gong movement—become politicised, and turn anti-Communist. The party’s fear of such cults is rooted in history. The Taiping rebellion in the mid-19th century, led by a man calling himself the brother of Jesus, resulted in more than 20m deaths.

But some officials are becoming more discerning in their crackdowns. This has been evident in Beijing where, around 2005, two large house churches began renting office space for their Sunday services. The largest, Shouwang church, was led by Jin Tianming, a graduate of Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University. It drew an intellectual crowd from the university district. On some Sundays up to 1,000 people attended services. Parishioners could download sermons from the church’s website. Mr Jin was known to be quietly arguing for more religious freedom. He tried to register Shouwang as a legal but independent congregation, not under the control of the official church, but was turned down. In 2009, just before a visit by America’s president, Barack Obama, the government forced the landlord of the building to terminate the church’s lease. Mr Jin took his congregation into a nearby park, where they worshipped in the snow. He and the church elders were placed under house arrest and many parishioners were detained. They had crossed a political red line.

It is a different story on the other side of Beijing. In an office building just off the third ring road another unregistered congregation, known as Zion church, meets in a similar venue; its pastor, Jin Mingri, is a graduate of Peking University. Like Shouwang, Zion covers an entire floor and includes a bookshop and a café offering loyalty cards to coffee-drinkers. The main hall holds 400 people. It looks and feels like a church in suburban America. Zion’s pastors preach equally uncompromising evangelical sermons, yet the church remains open because it is more cautious in how it engages with sensitive issues.

The pastors of both churches (and the leader of Shanghai’s largest house church, before it was closed, like Shouwang, in 2010) are members of China’s 2.3m-strong ethnic Korean minority, who see the Christianisation of South Korea as a model for China to follow. Both pastors came of age during—and took part in the Tiananmen protests of 1989, the crushing of which led to their disillusionment with the party and the spiritual search that led to their conversion. Yet officials in Beijing, so far, feel they can cohabit with one of them at least.

At the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences one man, Liu Peng, is trying to assist the process. Mr Liu recommended a moderate line to defuse the standoff with Shouwang. A certificate in his office confirms that China’s then president, Hu Jintao, acted on his advice; by the standards of crackdowns on dissent, the one on Shouwang church was mild.

Mr Liu, a Christian himself, is now, on his own initiative, drafting a document that he hopes will become the country’s first law on religion. At present religion is governed only by administrative regulations; such a law might make it more difficult for officials to crack down arbitrarily. Mr Liu says the party should allow its members to be believers, since an age of toleration would benefit the party as well as the churches. There should be a “religious free market”. But he admits that this, like a law, is a long way off.

Getting bolder

Meanwhile, acts of defiance are increasing. A mid-ranking official in a big city was recently told that her Christian faith, which was well known in the office, was not compatible with her party membership and she would have to give it up. She politely told her superiors that she would not be able to do that, and that her freedom of belief was protected by the Chinese constitution. She was not fired, but sent on a remedial course at a party school. She is now back at her job, and says her colleagues often come to her asking for prayer.

Christians are becoming more socially (and sometimes politically) engaged, too. Wang Yi is a former law professor and prolific blogger who became a Christian in 2005. The next year he was one of three house-church Christians who met President George W. Bush at the White House. Mr Wang is now pastor of Early Rain, a house church in the south-western city of Chengdu. On June 1st this year, International Children’s Day, he and members of his congregation were detained for distributing leaflets opposing China’s one-child policy and the forced abortions it leads to.

In 2013 a group of Chinese intellectuals convened a conference in Oxford which brought together, for the first time, thinkers from the New Left, whose members want to retain some of the egalitarian parts of Maoism; the New Confucians, who want to promote more of China’s traditional philosophical thinking; and the New Liberals, classic economic and political liberals. For the first time Christian intellectuals were included as well. The gathering produced a document, called the Oxford Consensus, emphasising that the centre of the Chinese nation is the people, not the state; that culture should be pluralistic; and that China must always behave peacefully towards others. This was not overtly Christian, but it was significant that Christian intellectuals had been included. A summary of the meeting was published in an influential Chinese newspaper, Southern People, and most participants continue to live freely, if cautiously, in China.

Publicités

Read Full Post »

DrapeauChine

Officiellement, la République populaire de Chine (RPC) est un pays athée. Mais les communautés chrétiennes se sont beaucoup développées depuis que les temples et les églises ont commencé à rouvrir, après la mort du président Mao en 1976 qui a marqué la fin de la Révolution culturelle. La Chine pourrait devenir non seulement la plus grande économie du monde, mais aussi le pays comptant le plus grand nombre de chrétiens parmi ses 1,3 milliard d’habitants.

Pour Fenggang Yang, professeur de sociologie à l’Université Purdue (Indiana) et auteur de Religion en Chine : survie et renaissance sous le régime communiste, « la Chine est appelée à devenir le plus grand pays chrétien du monde très bientôt ». La communauté protestante chinoise, qui comptait seulement un million de membres en 1949, a déjà dépassé en nombre celles de pays plus communément associés au boom évangélique. En 2010, il y avait plus de 58 millions de protestants en Chine contre 40 millions au Brésil et 36 millions en Afrique du Sud, selon le Pew Research Centre. Le professeur Yang estime que la Chine en comptera environ 160 millions en 2025. D’après lui, en 2030, la population chrétienne totale de la Chine, y compris les catholiques, devrait dépasser les 247 millions de personnes, soit plus que celles du Mexique, du Brésil et des Etats-Unis.

Le méga-temple du bourg de Liushi, dans la municipalité de Wenzhou (province du Zhejiang au sud de Shanghai) est représentatif du développement du christianisme en Chine. Il fait partie de l’Eglise officielle, le Mouvement patriotique des Trois Autonomies reconnu et supervisé par l’Etat. Inauguré l’année dernière, il peut accueillir 5.000 fidèles, soit deux fois plus que l’abbaye de Westminster, à Londres, d’après le site de The Telegraph ; il est réputé être le plus grand édifice chrétien en Chine continentale.

De la province du Yunnan dans le sud-ouest du pays à celle du Liaoning dans le nord-est industriel, le christianisme est en plein essor. Une étude récente a révélé que les recherches en ligne pour les mots « communauté chrétienne » et « Jésus » étaient beaucoup plus nombreuses que pour « Parti communiste » et « Xi Jinping », le président de la Chine.

Les protestants de Chine comptent aussi des millions de fidèles appartenant à des « Eglises domestiques », des communautés chrétiennes non reconnues par les pouvoirs publics, qui se rassemblent le plus souvent dans des maisons privées. Ces Eglises sont à l’origine d’un mouvement missionnaire qui commence à envoyer des prédicateurs à l’étranger, en Corée du Nord notamment.

Fourniture de services sociaux

Pour certains responsables politiques, les acteurs religieux peuvent fournir des services sociaux car l’Etat manque de ressources, tout en aidant à remédier à la crise morale dans un pays où l’argent est roi. Mais d’autres s’inquiètent de l’impact que la religion pourrait avoir sur le pouvoir du Parti communiste. Aussi les fidèles sont-ils toujours étroitement surveillés, et les prédicateurs sont régulièrement contrôlés pour s’assurer que leurs sermons ne s’éloignent pas de la ligne considérée comme acceptable par le Parti.

La montée en puissance des chrétiens inquiète le Parti communiste, ainsi que l’illustre la récente campagne officielle pour la démolition de temples et de croix lancée dans la province du Zhejiang. De nombreux dirigeants considèrent la religion comme « une maladie » qu’il faut éradiquer, explique le responsable d’une Eglise, en ajoutant : « le Parti communiste craint que le christianisme ne devienne une force politique d’opposition ou qu’il ne soit utilisé par des forces occidentales pour renverser le régime communiste ».

Source : Dans quinze ans, la Chine pourrait être le plus important pays chrétien du monde [Fait religieux]

Les chrétiens – catholiques et protestants – contribuent à l’offre de services sociaux d’une manière que je qualifierais de disproportionnée par rapport à leur nombre. Les chrétiens ont des réseaux internationaux et le savoir-faire. Les Eglises catholique et protestante officielles, l’Association patriotique catholique chinoise (non reconnue par Rome) et le Mouvement patriotique des Trois Autonomies, reçoivent des signes très clairs du Parti ; elles doivent contribuer grâce à leurs connections internationales, comme par exemple, pour les protestants, la fondation Amity.

Des associations catholiques comme l’Organisation non gouvernementale (ONG) Care ou Caritas ont pignon sur rue à Hong Kong, Région administrative spéciale ouverte sur le monde avec un régime d’Etat de droit. Ces associations n’ont pas de lien spécifique avec Rome et mènent à partir de Hong Kong des activités dans le reste de la Chine. Même si l’Eglise patriotique n’est pas officiellement reconnue par Rome, un certain pragmatisme rend les échanges possibles.

Source : Pacte social à la chinoise (II) : les religions à la rescousse [Fait religieux]

Read Full Post »

La semaine dernière, nous avons vu comment le protestantisme — et notamment le calvinisme — progresse très rapidement en Chine. Nous avons aussi glissé un mot sur le retour en force du confucianisme qui est soutenu par l’État toujours officiellement communiste qui cherche à récupérer à son profit les notions confucéenne d’harmonie civique et d’obéissance aux divers pouvoirs établis. Il appert donc que le calvinisme et le confucianisme seront deux forces sociales majeures qui entreront bientôt en contact dans la prochaine première superpuissance (si cela n’a pas déjà commencé). Cela générera sans doute des frictions (comme la controverse à propos de l’édification d’une imposante église protestante dans la ville natale de Confucius, Qufu) et potentiellement certaines collaborations ou causes communes. Afin de permettre aux chrétiens francophones d’entrevoir comment ces deux systèmes de croyances pourraient interagir dans le futur, je rends disponible une étude comparative des théologies politiques du confucianisme et du calvinisme, qui est téléchargeable à cette adresse :

Comparaison des théologies politiques du confucianisme et du calvinisme [YouScribe]

J’y expose, sources académiques à l’appui, comment les confucéens et les calvinistes voient l’ordre juridique des collectivités humaines au regard de leurs principes spirituels respectifs.

Voici également le tableau schématique de cette comparaison :

COMPARAISON ENTRE CONFUCIANISME ET CALVINISME

DIFFÉRENCES

CONFUCIANISME

CALVINISME

Concentrer ou diffuser le pouvoir ? Pro-centralisation Pro-décentralisation (principes de subsidiarité et de suppléance)
Type de régime modèle Monarchie absolue « éclairée » République ou monarchie constitutionnelle
Fonctionnement Fonction publique méritocratique accessible à l’élite intellectuelle de l’aristocratie par un rigoureux système examinatoire Gouvernement collégial à composantes électives
Autorité terrestre suprême Règne des « sages » Primauté du droit
En cas de dysfonctionnement… Résistance quasi-illégitime Résistance légitime

RESSEMBLANCES

CONFUCIANISME + CALVINISME

Caractéristiques des gouvernants Gouvernance par des hommes compétents, excellemment éduqués et pieux plutôt que par des simples bien-nés
Justice économique Accessibilité équitable aux leviers de création de richesse pour l’ensemble de la population sans sombrer dans le communisme
Légèreté de la taxation Taxation limitée et non abusive ; cela ne fut pas respecté en Chine impériale confucéenne
Distinction homme-femme La famille est un prototype de l’État, les sexes sont crées complémentaires et le rôle des femmes n’est pas en politique
Communautarisme Société holiste, familialiste et moralement exigeante sans effacer les individus
Emphase sur l’état moral des gens Favorise la régénération spirituelle et la droiture volontaire plutôt que la coercition répressive (mais ce faisant, l’objectif des calvinistes est de glorifier Dieu tandis que celui des confucéens est de perfectionner leur personne ad infinitum)


Lire aussi : Les Instituts Confucius, un outil au cœur de la stratégie de Soft Power chinois sur Chine Conquérante.

Read Full Post »

Pendant que des Genevois sont emballés par Confucius et que la récupération politique du confucianisme par les autorités chinoises est telle que certains analystes avancent que le Parti communiste chinois pourrait changer de nom pour « Parti confucéen chinois » d’ici quelques décennies, le protestantisme est en train de conquérir l’Empire du Milieu…

Le protestantisme est le principal bénéficiaire de la renaissance religieuse en Chine. Loin de Confucius, les nouveaux croyants, plutôt jeunes, se laissent attirer par des doctrines indépendantes du pouvoir. Les mégapoles chinoises sont ainsi devenues des terres de mission chrétienne très prometteuses.

[…]

Inquiètes de cette expansion inouïe, les autorités encouragent activement des rituels apparentés au confucianisme […] La presse officielle aime se faire l’écho d’une vogue confucéenne, mais il s’agit d’un phénomène avant tout académique, suscité par de généreuses subventions gouvernementales.

[…]

Les nouveaux croyants étant plutôt jeunes – 62 % ont moins de 39 ans – ils ne cherchent pas spontanément leurs nourritures célestes auprès de Confucius, perçu comme « antique ». Ils sont attirés par des doctrines plus en phase avec la modernité, plus chaleureuses et surtout plus indépendantes du pouvoir.

[…]

En conquérant les villes, le protestantisme, longtemps considéré comme la cinquième colonne de l’impérialisme occidental, a fini par s’acclimater dans l’Empire céleste. Il y a dix ans seulement, les chrétiens étaient suspectés de « trahir » la nation. Aujourd’hui, la vague évangélique est telle que chacun peut nommer plusieurs convertis dans son entourage. Au point que l’expression « wo xin jiao », (« je suis croyant ») signifie pratiquement « je suis chrétien ».

[…]

Pour Mme Yang, cela ne fait pas de doute, « la Chine sera majoritairement chrétienne dans vingt ans ». Un militant des droits civiques – converti lors d’un séjour en prison pour raison politique – n’y croit guère, sans pour autant perdre son optimisme. « Même si, comme je le pense, nous restons minoritaires, il suffit que nous atteignions une masse critique pour que tout bascule », explique-t-il.

[…]

Le christianisme – et spécialement le protestantisme – est l’un des grands gagnants de cette renaissance. En 1949, lors de la prise du pouvoir par Mao, la Chine comptait quelque cinq millions de chrétiens. Ils seraient cent millions aujourd’hui, – voire cent-trente millions si l’on en croit un rapport interne qui a fuité dans la presse en 2006 – dont les quatre cinquièmes de protestants. Soit une multiplication par vingt ou vingt-cinq en l’espace de soixante ans ! Rapportées aux chiffres globaux de l’ensemble des croyants, ces estimations font du christianisme la deuxième religion chinoise, touchant 7 à 10 % de la population.

[…]

Les groupes urbains, en revanche, pratiquent une dévotion plus retenue, inspirée de la rigueur calviniste. Le grand réformateur genevois est la figure tutélaire des intellectuels convertis. Pour Fan Yafeng, qui anime une église « plutôt rigoriste » d’intellectuels pékinois, le choix de la théologie réformée ne doit rien au hasard. « Nous avons attentivement lu ses écrits et nous sommes en train de tout traduire en chinois », révèle-t-il. Pour Yu Jie, autre célèbre penseur protestant, le calvinisme présente l’avantage d’avoir inspiré le système politique américain.

[…]

Ce n’est pas un hasard si ces intellectuels chrétiens sont également engagés dans l’important mouvement de « défense des droits civiques », entre autres au profit de leurs coreligionnaires des campagnes, trop souvent en butte aux exactions de potentats abusifs. Plus riches et plus au fait du fonctionnement du système, les églises urbaines pleines d’avocats, d’écrivains et de journalistes, mènent des batailles juridiques souvent perdues d’avance, mais qui ont le mérite de propager un modèle de justice et de droit. Au-delà de la communauté des croyants, c’est l’avenir du pays qui est en jeu.

Pour lire l’article en entier : Chine : Confucius ? Non, Calvin ! [Magazine Clés]

In China, the place where Calvinism is spreading fastest is the elite universities, fuelled by prodigies of learning and translation. Wang Xiaochao, a philosopher at one of the Beijing universities, has translated the two major works of St Augustine, the Confessions and the City of God, into Chinese directly from Latin. Gradually all the major works of the first centuries of the Christian tradition are being translated directly from the original languages into Chinese.

All of this is happening outside the control of the official body which is supposed to monitor and supervise the churches in China. Instead, it is the philosophy departments at the universities, or the language departments and the departments of literature and western civilisation that are the channel.

[…]

Calvinism should [is] the preferred theology of the house churches and the intellectuals now.

[…]

When the Chinese house churches first emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution in the 80s and 90s « They began to search what theology will support and inform [them]. They read Luther and said, ‘not him’. So they read Calvin, and they said ‘him, because he has a theology of resistance.’ Luther can’t teach them or inform them how to deal with a government that is opposition. »

[…]

In China now, this kind of Christianity is seen as forward-looking, rational, intellectually serious, and favourable to making money.

« Very soon », said Dr Tan, « Christians will become the majority of university students. That could happen. »

It would be astonishing if China were to become a great power in the Christian world, as well as in the economic one. But things just as strange have happened in the past. Who could have foreseen, when Augustine was writing those huge books now translated into Chinese, that barbarous Europe would become the centre of Christian civilisation, and his homeland in North Africa would become entirely Muslim?

Pour lire l’article en entier : Chinese Calvinism Flourishes [The Guardian]

À propos du retour du confucianisme politique en Chine, ces ouvrages de Princeton University Press me paraissent intéressants…

Prochainement sur Le Monarchomaque, je publierai une étude comparative des théologies politiques du confucianisme et du calvinisme.

Read Full Post »