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This paper explores the dynamic interplay between Christianity and the Roman Empire as articulated by Tertullian, a prominent figure in early Christian theology. Tertullian delves into the complex relationship between the burgeoning Christian faith and the established structures of the Roman Empire, highlighting the inherent tension between the two. Central to his analysis is the concept of dialogue, wherein Tertullian examines how Christians engage with the broader Roman society while maintaining their distinct religious identity. Furthermore, he discusses the conservative nature of Christian thought, emphasizing the preservation of core beliefs amidst external pressures. This paper provides insights into Tertullian’s perspective on the delicate balance between dialogue and the preservation of Christian values within the context of the Roman Empire.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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Abstract

The theory of reward for the good and retribution for the evil (善恶报应) was one of the key issues in the dialogue between Catholicism and indigenous religions in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. Under the monotheistic framework, Catholicism advocates a supernatural God for rewarding good and punishing evil. It thus had a more logical and rigorous theological argumentation at its disposal in its exchanges and dialogues with Chinese native religions on the standards of good and evil, the question of who has the right to reward and punish, the consequences of reward and retribution, and so on. This article begins by analyzing the Confucian theory of stimulus-response between the heaven and human beings (天人感应). Secondly, it sketches the views expressed by the theories of reward for the good and retribution for the evil in Buddhism and Taoism. Then, it discusses the Catholic views on rewarding good and punishing evil during late Ming and early Qing, and also examines the responses of the native religions of China to the Catholic views on rewarding good and punishing evil. Finally, it summarizes the similarities and differences of the theories of reward for the good and retribution for the evil between Catholicism and Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. As for the intention to do good, there were some commonalities between Catholicism and Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism in the movement to promote good deeds during late Ming and early Qing. However, they were distinct in the perspective of the standards of good and evil, the subjects of retribution, and the roles of individuals in retribution, which caused the conflicts between Catholicism and its opponents in China. The introduction of the Catholic theory of reward for the good and retribution for the evil has undoubtedly further enriched Chinese religious thoughts since the late Ming dynasty.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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Abstract

As individualized education increases in popularity, homeschooling likewise garners more attention from Chinese middle-class families. Over the past decade, the number of families choosing homeschooling has increased annually. However, most homeschooling Chinese Protestants wish to focus on the cultivation of beliefs, character, and values in the education of their children. In their eyes, homeschooling provides the best way to transmit cultural heritage.

Homeschooling brings with it many challenges and difficulties in the daily lives of Chinese Protestants: cross-pressure from traditional Chinese culture systems, opposition from parents and other family members, conflicts with mainstream educational institutions, and power struggles with Chinese secular authorities. Moreover, educational resources, guides, and materials for Chinese homeschooling families are scarce, thus leaving homeschooling families to grope in the dark. The biggest deterrent to them is the disqualification of their children from taking college entrance examinations because homeschooled children lack the requisite status to enroll as official students. Thus, the role conflicts among Chinese, Christian, pariah, and legal deviant statuses pose considerable tensions for parents and children.

This paper offers insight into these issues through qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with 50 respondents from urban Chinese Protestant families that had previously been screened through a brief survey instrument.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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Abstract

This article investigates how “God’s love” has been working in the Chinese Mainland through different disciplines connected with Christian education. Tao Xingzhi’s “education of love” and his proposals of “life education,” “new education,” “education to love, serve, and sacrifice,” and “teaching and learning are one” contextualized modern education in China. Additionally, Bishop K.H. Ting advocates a “theology of love” as a contextual theology for Christianity in China. Ting regards God’s love as God’s primary attribute and claims that “God is love,” and God’s love is cosmic, leading us to love each other and build up the Body in God’s love. This article further examines the ideologies of Tao and Ting, who identify as both Christian and Chinese and are eager to dialogue with the context of China. Both of them advocate practicing love in education and society. Integrating Christianity and education, Christian education in China could be regarded as education for God’s love.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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Abstract

Through a study of the M Church in Bangkok, this research paper explores the influence of Martin Luther’s Reformation spirit of freedom of religion on the conversion of new Chinese immigrants to Christianity. With the increase in the number of Chinese who have emigrated overseas since the reform and opening up, Christianity has become increasingly popular among new Chinese immigrants, and the concept of freedom of religion advocated by Martin Luther’s Reformation has played an active role in this process. This study first, introduces the background of Martin Luther’s Reformation and his advocacy of religious freedom. Then, the literature related to Martin Luther’s Reformation, the Christian faith of new immigrants in China, and the Christian faith of Chinese in Thailand is reviewed. Then, through field research, the history and current situation of the new Chinese immigrants’ participation in the M Church in Bangkok are analyzed, and the transmutation of their beliefs in this chapel is discussed. Through interviews and surveys, the paper further analyzes the reasons for the conversion of Chinese new immigrants to Christianity. The study shows that the concept of religious freedom advocated by Martin Luther’s Reformation has played a positive role in the conversion of Chinese new immigrants to Christianity. However, Chinese new immigrants face many difficulties and challenges in the process of converting to Christianity, such as understanding and identifying with the faith and understanding the cultural differences between China and the West. Therefore, this paper argues that the concept of religious freedom advocated by Martin Luther’s Reformation has played an important role in the conversion of new Chinese immigrants to Christianity, but this process also needs to be combined with the integration and development of traditional Chinese culture.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
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Abstract

In his comparative philosophy, Thomé H. Fang issues the spirit of Chinese philosophy as the type of wisdom of comprehensive harmony; meanwhile, Western philosophy remains a conflicting mode of thinking of bifurcation or duality. Comparatively, the spirit of Chinese philosophy possesses a superiority which might issue a challenge to Western philosophy. Fang even takes it as the only remedy capable of solving the theoretical problems of Western philosophy. Practically, Fang has revealed the theoretical problems of Western philosophy and profoundly criticized Western modernity. Although he does tend to overstate the superiority of the Chinese concept of the unity of Heaven and Human, thereby overlooking its defects, Fang has nevertheless advanced comparative philosophical research to a new stage.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
Author:

Abstract

This study aims to develop a reciprocal worldview based on a dialogue between civilizations and the empathetic knowledge network of communication and solidarity between the East and West. It investigates French Jesuit missionaries’ perceptions and knowledge system of the Confucian Orient in the early modern period (the 16th–18th centuries). It establishes a positive image of East Asia and highlights the coexistence of different civilizations along the East-West communication continuum while dispelling negative impressions of East Asia and the closed East-West relationship created by modern Orientalism. It recognizes the issues of prior comparative cultural research and proposes an alternative discussion of Figurism (heavenly studies) (tianxue, 天學) in early modern French Jesuits’ studies of East Asia from the perspective of comparative cultural imagology. In short, focusing on Chinese Figurism, it reveals a positive cultural image of the Confucian civilization, universal biblical self-identification, the Hermetic revelation of truth, and the knowledge system of cultural identification.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology
Authors: and

Abstract

As a continental country full of mysterious traditions, extremely inclusive and with periodic regime changes, China has experienced various phenomena of coexistence of “theism” and “atheism” after long-standing debates. Under the belief that “God exists” with his mystical experiences, Hong Xiuquan studied Eastern and Western religions and finally set off “the practice of Islam and Manichaeism in the external form of Christianity”. Combining “the oriental native culture of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, witchcraft and medicine with the confrontation between the Manchu and Han regimes”, the Taiping Rebellion was carried out, which was more cruel and vast than the American Civil War.

Through comparative research on the similarities and differences between “his own and Western perceptions of his religious experience”, we grasp the causes and principles of his miraculous phenomena, such as his life, dreaming and preaching, from a new perspective on theology and life practice. It analyzes and re-examines the significance of religion in promoting the historical process of China, America and Eurasia and answers the questions of “whether Hong Xiuquan’s beliefs and miracles truly exist, and how to establish the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom through different religions” that have been neglected in the past. This research can also be used to judge the form of warfare in different cultural and religious contexts.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology