10/29/99

Hi,

Let me speak a little more about China. Pearl Buck wrote the classic novel "The Good Earth" in the 1930's about China. She had lived most of her life in China - her parents having been Presbyterian missionaries. In about 1937 she moved permanently back to the US where she was considered the utmost authority on China. She once wrote to a Christian society who was planning on sending a missionary team to China. In her letter, she greatly discouraged them. She said that her parents had made very few converts; that China had an ancient culture that swallowed up, without a trace, any attempt to change it. She was very sure that trying to Christianize the Chinese was absolutely futile. Soon after that, as if to underscore her pronouncements, Japan invaded much of China and the missionaries were rounded up and either killed or put into internment camps. To double underscore, in the late 1940's, the communists took over China and tried to stamp out all religion. China's official religion was atheism and the officials used real brainwashing techniques to make it stick. Soon there were only a few well-controlled churches in the biggest cities. Christianity in China was dead - or was it?

But now there are twenty thousand converts to Christianity every day! What happened? You wrote:

"It is very clear that these people are being brainwashed by missionaries. If Christianity was the big true religion they wouldn't need these missionaries to tell them that. . . . It's no surprise to me that the Chinese are being converted at all. It would surprise me if they were converting to anything but Christianity. It is, in fact, a huge business."

You are quite logical in thinking that this must all be due to some tremendous effort by organized Christianity. After all, how could this possibly happen without a vast organized effort? But the fact is that there are NO missionaries in China today and there has not been any for over a half century. The Chinese conversions are from person to person, small groups, illegally meeting in someone's home. They share smuggled Bibles brought in by their own members. They shun the "official", government-run churches. Being caught means going to jail. Martin Luther once characterized Christian evangelism as "one beggar telling another where to get bread". That's what we're seeing in China today.

This is a demonstration of the power of the Word of God. This is one of the reasons why I think that Christianity is the revelation of God.

All this, I hope, tries to answer your on-going question about "why choose Christianity over all the others?" As to why I don't think Christianity is a myth: The simple answer is that it bears no relationship to the myths of antiquity. That has nothing to do with theology, it's simply literary criticism.

You think it proper to get your understanding of the theology of Christianity from the popular culture??? I don't know what to say to that. May I suggest that you not do that?

Christians can and do have honest disagreements amongst themselves as to what the Bible is saying. That doesn't mean Christians are free to interpret the Bible "anyway they like". Scientists have honest disagreements amongst themselves over the meaning of data, but that doesn't mean they are free to interpret the data "anyway they like". People who believe that they are free to twist scripture to achieve the answer they desire are, by definition, not Christians.

As I said before, I'm trying to answer your questions by taking on the foundations of our disagreements rather than point by point. If you are getting annoyed at my not answering some direct question, perhaps you could focus specifically on that area.

Cheers,
Lynn

10/29/99

Hello,

With all due respect, whoever told you that there were no missionaries in China was unfortunately being untruthful. There is, in fact, an organized effort by Christians to convert everything on two legs, and China is no exception. The Mormons, for example, are a constant presence and recently tried but failed to convert a Chinese friend of mine. The Abundant Life Church Missions division in Texas has missionaries in China. The American Baptist Mission located in Hong Kong states that "The basic aim of the Christian mission is to proclaim and exemplify the gospel of Jesus Christ by word and deed." The Taiwan Church Planting Missionaries feel "a sense of urgency" about converting the Chinese and state that "Now is the time to take advantage of the freedom and the openness that exists in Taiwan to spread the message of Jesus Christ to a people who have very little knowledge of Him and His Good News." If this doesn't sound like an organized effort, I don't know what does. These people feel it's their responsibility to convert everyone. To further demonstrate the effort and the fact that Christianity is not illegal, you can visit internet sites belonging to the Hong Kong Baptist Convention, the Hong Kong Baptist University, the Hong Kong Christian Council, and the Hong Kong Christian Institute. I stand by my statement that it would surprise me if the Chinese were converting to anything but Christianity. Christians are taking advantage of the fact that China is currently in turmoil, much like Jesus (if he existed) and his fellow messiahs did nearly 2000 years ago.

So again, the "demonstration of the power of the Word of God" is merely a demonstration of the power of the word of the people pushing it. And it does not answer my on-going question about "why choose Christianity over all the others?". All it says to me is that Christianity has become successful by pushing itself down peoples' throats, from the numerous inquisitions of the past to present-day missionaries.

And Christianity bears plenty of similarities to mythologies, especially Greek/Roman, Egyptian, and Chinese. The bible reads like ancient mythologies thrown together in an effort to eradicate paganism and I suppose, in a lack of creativity.

What is wrong with gathering an understanding of Christianity from my environment? When people are constantly telling you what to think and what to believe, you're going to learn at least a little bit. If you grew up a Christian in a pagan society, don't you suppose you'd learn what the pagan beliefs were?

You mention scientists not being able to interpret data anyway you like, but that has absolutely nothing to do with interpreting the bible. In fact, it's the farthest thing from it. Science is an ever-changing field that allows for change. It allows for argument. Can you say that about Christianity?

Can you honestly say that you did not twist scripture at all? Scripture is so easy to misinterpret anyway, how can you be so sure that you interpreted it right? If someone taught you the scripture, how do you know that they interpreted it right? Maybe the Protestants have it right. How do you know for sure? And twisting scripture doesn't just mean conciously adapting it to "achieve the answer they desire", either. You interpret it depending on who you are personally, just like a philosophy such as existentialism. Existentialism has no clear definition, you adapt it according to who you are. It means different things to different people. Kierkegaard and Sartre interpreted existentialism differently, but they were still both existentialists.

In that light, I still don't think it's fair that you classify some Christians as non-Christians because they worship differently than you. I would still like to know why you feel you can label people in this manner, how you arrive at that, and if you believe that Lutherans are the only true Christians.

As for religions as rich as Christianity (in my definition of richness), may I suggest the ancient Egyptian religion, Wicca, Voodoo, or any religion of the Native Americans?

Meretricula

Previous - Next

Home  -  Submit Your Work  -  Contact Me  -  Further Reading  -  Boudoir

Hosting by WebRing.