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Lawrence C. Reardon

Abstract

During the first three decades of the People’s Republic, Communist Party elites pursued a revolutionary political, economic, and social paradigm, whose long-term goal was to develop a strong national security, ensure prosperity, and strengthen the Party’s comprehensive control of the state. Elites eliminated all foreign religious connections, which were replaced with Party-approved religious organizations. The adoption of the techno-economic paradigm in the 1980s created high economic growth rates as well as widespread corruption that threatened Party’s legitimacy. In response, the Communist Party adapted the revolutionary social paradigm and initiated a moral re-armament campaign. Elites used traditional religions and beliefs to strengthen moral standards and to supplement the state’s social welfare role. Elites however were less trusting of foreign religions, because of their complicated history, their continued foreign connections, and their non-sanctioned religious practices. As long as elites retain the revolutionary social paradigm and its emphasis on Party primacy, elites will continue to favour traditional religions and beliefs while discriminating against foreign religions and heterodox religious movements.

Series:

Zhigang Zhang

Abstract

This essay investigates the “Sinicization of Christianity” from an academic standpoint. The goal of this essay is: The objective and rational discussion on how Christianity could be able to meld into Chinese culture, the Chinese nation, and in particular, contemporary Chinese society. The investigation is presented in three parts: a comparison between the histories of Christianity in China and Korea, a study of the ecological situation of religions in contemporary China, and, finally, new developments in international research on inter-religious dialogue. The article concludes that social practice should be the main criterion for testing religious faith. Furthermore, based on China’s current conditions, the best course for the Sinicization of Christianity is its achieving positive and important contributions to the continued reform and opening-up of Chinese society as well as to its development and progress.