Saturday, April 30, 2005

Mass For The Masses?

Interesting article in the The Economist on the growth of Christianity in China, especially among the urban elite and business people. It seems that they have an appreciation for aspects of the faith that much of the Western intellectual elite is missing.

But Christianity appeals particularly to intellectuals because it is the faith most deeply rooted in the countries that well-educated Chinese most envy--principally America. "Some people have begun to think that the birth of capitalism and modern science in the West is not entirely unrelated to Christianity," says Mr Li.

Christianity as a key factor in the emergence and advancement of Western Civilization? Not exactly a popular notion on most college campuses. At least not in the West.

Most striking in recent years has been the spread of Christianity among urban intellectuals and businesspeople. A Chinese academic (and party member) at a government-affiliated institute says that in the past five years especially, Christianity has flourished on university campuses. Most universities, he says, have several clandestine Christian "fellowships", comprising students, graduates and teachers, who meet regularly to read the Bible and discuss their faith. "You'd be astonished to see these meetings. They are completely different from the way we've viewed house churches in the past, as places that attract old women and the illiterate with little scientific understanding," he says.