The Insufferable Prison of Atheism

chinacross_001How is it that the country which most ruthlessly sought to eliminate religion in the last century is now poised to become the most Christian nation in the world? Approximately 65 million lives were eliminated in China last century in an unparalleled attempt to plant materialism firmly in the hearts of the Chinese people. It failed disastrously.

It is not known exactly how many Chinese Christians there are, but a conservative guess now estimates that there are at least 65 million Protestants in China and 12 million Catholics—more believers than there are members of the Communist Party. Some Chinese Christians think the number is well over one hundred million. Furthermore, China is now the biggest publisher of Bibles worldwide.

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The communist revolution was not exactly successful. To endeavor to imprison people within the narrow confines of a materialist worldview is a hopeless task. To claim that there is no supernatural order to the universe, that there is nothing beyond the four bare walls of the physical world is a hideous lie that ultimately will not stick.

People have an intrinsic need for meaning, for transcendence, for some kind of connection with the spiritual realm. It’s in our DNA. It’s written in our hearts. This inner thirst can never be satisfied by merely indulging our physical senses. There’s a longing within us that the material world cannot satisfy. The Bible describes it with these words: “He has also set eternity in the hearts” (Eccles. 3:11).

Religion is under attack in the West. Forces such as New Atheism have risen up to replace Christianity with a purely naturalistic worldview. China tried that and it failed (not to mention several other countries where the experiment also crashed and burned.) It didn’t work in the East, and it won’t work in the West. People simply cannot be contained in such a suffocating prison.

–J. O. Schulz

How many Christians are in China?

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Estimates on how many Christians there are in China vary widely. In 2004 the Chinese Communist Party reported 18 million baptized Christians in China’s Three Self churches.

Applying a conservative annual growth rate of 5% over the past 10 years brings the 2004 figure to 29 million baptized Christians in China’s Three Self Churches as of 2014.

This 29 million figure excludes the Christian children of the baptized Three Self church Christians because the Chinese government forbids baptism until 18 years of age. Using a conservative ratio of 1 Christian child under 18 years of age for every 5 baptized adults takes the current number of Three Self Church Christians to 35 million (29 million + 20%).

Estimates on the ratio of underground house church Christians to Three Self church Christians generally range from 3 to 5. Using the in-between ratio of 4 results in a figure of 140 million (35 million x 4) house church Christians.

140 million (house church) + 35 million (Three Self church) = 175 million. But this figure double counts about a third (approximately 12 million) of the Three Self church Christians who also attend house churches during the week. Subtracting 12 million from the total brings us to approximately 163 million Christians in China as of 2014.

This figure is corroborated by Xiaowen Ye, head of the Communist Party’s State Administration of Religious Affairs, who reported at a 2006 closed door meeting at Peking University in 2006 that the Protestants in China numbered 110 million.

2014 – 2006 = 8 years. Applying the same conservative annual growth rate of 5% (110 million x 1.05) over those 8 years also results in 163 million as the number of Christians in China as of 2014. This number represents about 12% of China’s 1.4 billion people.

In 1958 Mao’s wife said: “Christianity in China has been confined to museums. It is dead and buried.”

This “dead and buried” faith has turned out to be very much alive and growing. More Chinese attend church each Sunday than are members of the Communist Party. There are far more Christians in China than in the United States.

And the spiritual harvest continues.

Source: http://www.billionbibles.org/china/how-many-christians-in-china.html

Religious belief is not declining

John GrayAs society became ever more reliant on science, they [the secular liberals] had assumed, religion would inexorably decline. No doubt the process would be bumpy, and pockets of irrationality would linger on the margins of modern life; but religion would dwindle away as a factor in human conflict. The road would be long and winding. But the grand march of secular reason would continue, with more and more societies joining the modern west in marginalising religion. Someday, religious belief would be no more important than personal hobbies or ethnic cuisines.

Today, it’s clear that no grand march is under way…

The resurgence of religion is a worldwide development. Russian Orthodoxy is stronger than it has been for over a century, while China is the scene of a reawakening of its indigenous faiths and of underground movements that could make it the largest Christian country in the world by the end of this century. Despite tentative shifts in opinion that have been hailed as evidence it is becoming less pious, the US remains massively and pervasively religious – it’s inconceivable that a professed unbeliever could become president, for example.

–John Gray,
What scares the new atheists
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/03/what-scares-the-new-atheists