chief rabbi sacks : china is reversing the decline and fall of christianity – 03min

Posted: August 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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…from the Office of the Chief Rabbi:

“Towards the end of his recent book, Civilization, the historian Niall Ferguson drops into his analysis an explosive depth-charge. He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, part of a team tasked with the challenge of discovering why it was that Europe, having lagged behind China until the 17th century, overtook it, rising to prominence and dominance.

At first, he said, we thought it was your guns. You had better weapons than we did. Then we delved deeper and thought it was your political system. Then we searched deeper still, and concluded that it was your economic system. But for the past 20 years we have realised that it was in fact your religion, Christianity. It was the Christian foundation of social and cultural life in Europe that made possible the emergence first of capitalism, then of democratic politics.

Equally arrestingly, Ferguson repeats the point made by the editor and Washington correspondent of The Economist, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, two years ago in their book God is Back. While Christianity is in decline in Britain and most of Europe, it is growing and thriving in China, where the number of people in church on Sunday is greater than the total membership of the Communist Party, in the land that in 1958 Chairman Mao had declared “religion free”.

The people flocking to the churches are not, as Karl Marx would have predicted, the poor and oppressed searching for the opium of the people. They are the young, hard-working, upwardly-mobile entrepreneurs for whom Christianity offers an ethical framework, a structured view of life and its disciplines, in a society experiencing rapid transition.”

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