A country in spiritual crisis

I have always felt that a crucial solution to China's various problems today is the Christian faith. In this country where corruption and scams are the order of the day, where money not only speaks but shouts, where the government, businesses and many people, for some ulterior motives, shamelessly lie on a daily basis, people are lost and suffer from a spiritual void. As the writer of Spirituality in China: Is the country in spiritual crisis?, a recent article in the BBC Magazine said: "I heard people talking again and again of a "spiritual crisis" in China - a phrase that has even been used by the Premier Wen Jiao Bao. The old have seen the old certainties of Marxism-Leninism transmute into the most visceral capitalist society on earth. For the young, in the stampede to get rich, trust in institutions, between individuals, between the generations, is breaking down."

It is therefore heartening to learn that the number of Christians in China is multiplying. A conservative estimate of the number of Christians, according to the article mentioned above, is 60 million.

Christianity exists in different forms in China. Catholicism and Protestantism, designated by the state as two separate religions, are both divided into official and unofficial churches. Take Catholicism for an example. There is the officially sanctioned Catholic Patriotic Association which appoints its own bishops and is not allowed to have any dealings with the Vatican. There is also a larger Catholic underground church which is supported by the Vatican. Recently, a number of "house churches", which refuse to acknowledge any official authority over their organization and which are at odds with the official Church, have been mushrooming across the country.

Why are more and more people turning to Christianity? Professor He Guanghu, one of China's most eminent philosophers of religion said: "I think it is very natural that many other people will not be satisfied... will seek some meaning for their lives so that when Christianity falls into their lives, they will seize it very tightly."

God save China.

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