G'day you animals!
Got a short one for you today. Check out this posting from Al-Jazeera:
Evangelical Christianity is experiencing phenomenal growth in China, but is it on a collision course with the state?
So, it would appear that the good missionaries are getting some work done. While many religions have been increasing in numbers, such as Islam, the growth of Evangelical Christianity is reportedly through the roof. This is especially interesting when held against the recent report from the BBC discussing how religion appears to be going extinct in nine first-world, western nations (for that report - click here). In China however, one church alone is reporting an increase to over 8,000 members, a 400% increase since the church was started in 2005 with just 2,000 members.
What's interesting is that while the growth of the legitimate and state sanctioned churches is staggering, there is no way to gauge the growth of the increasingly popular unsanctioned churches. Refusing to submit their faith to the involvement of the communist government, these underground churches also seem to be bursting at the seams.
If you have time to check out the full video on the link there, it is pretty interesting. Especially the parts where the journalists show how they are trailed by Chinese secret police while they attempt to make contact with one of these underground house churches. And don't let the name "house church" deceive you, one of these house churches boasts over 4,000 members.
When describing the tenuous peace between the government and his unsanctioned church, one of the preachers explains that every time his parish faces the oppression of the state, they are in turn faced with a rush of new membership. In light of this, he claims, the government has begun to leave him alone. But this is not true for all underground churches. The video also shows footage of riot police preemptively taping off an area planned for a public unsanctioned church event where they arrested parishioners as they arrived. While most of the assembly was released after a short stay in a make-shift detention camp, ten of the churches leaders remain on house arrest.
The point the preacher made about oppression leading to an influx of membership is especially interesting in contrast to the BBC report I linked about religion starting to go extinct in nations like Ireland, Australia, and Canada. In the Czech Republic they report 60% of the population being non-affiliated with a religious group.
Just a little food for thought as we get into the holiday weekend here. Enjoy your democracy. Celebrate your liberty.
Just make sure you have it first.