The Future of Christianity: Made in China

Monday, 21 Apr 2014 01:23 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Christianity is skyrocketing in the People's Republic of China — so quickly that the Communist country of 1.35 billion will be the world's most Christian nation in 15 years, The Telegraph of London reports.

China is officially considered atheist, but more and more residents are exploring Christianity — based on the life and teachings of Jesus.

It's a far cry from when Chairman Mao Tse-tung — a die-hard atheist and "Father of Modern China" — once declared, "Religion is poison," effectively banning it.

The Telegraph says Christian congregations have rapidly grown since Mao's death in 1976 ended China's so-called Cultural Revolution.

"By my calculations, China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University, told the newspaper. "Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this. It's ironic — they didn't. They actually failed completely."

Yang believes the number of Christians will reach 160 million by 2025, and by 2030, it will exceed 247 million, topping Mexico, Brazil, and the United States.

A study released earlier this month found that Jesus Christ is more popular on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, than Chairman Mao.

The Chinese Communist Party is notorious for its censorship of any potential religious influence, including mentions of such faiths as Islam, Tibetan Buddhism, and Christianity.
But a survey of the Asian country's social media platform by Tea Leaf Nation has found that Chinese censors are allowing more Christian terminology to be talked about on Weibo.

According to a study last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping received only 4 million mentions on Weibo, even though he's written about on a daily basis in the state-run newspapers.

But "Jesus," who is hardly ever written about, yielded more than 18 million mentions.
There also has been great Western interest in establishing Christian churches in China.

In 1988, evangelist Billy Graham toured China with his wife, Ruth, who was born there to missionary parents.

And in 2005, President George W. Bush attended one of Beijing's five officially recognized Protestant churches.


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