Abstract

The purpose of this research is to study the development of Christianity in contemporary China. It adds to the limited literature that explores how Christianity has developed as the fastest growing religion in China post the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The data derive from semi-structured and focus group interviews with Chinese Christians and field observation notes collected at both official and non-official Christian churches in Beijing. I found an ambivalent attitude toward the development of Christianity across different social levels in China. At the state level, the Chinese government expects Christianity to provide a much-needed stabilizing influence in an increasingly self-centered and materialistic society. At the same time, the government fears that Christianity's increasing power may pose a threat to the Communist regime. Correspondingly, at the community level, Chinese Christians wish to see an increasing Christian influence throughout Chinese society to improve people's quality of life, but many Chinese traditionalists oppose the increased Christian influence that seems to be supplanting traditional Chinese culture. These disagreements do not seem to have seriously impeded the development of Christianity in China today. Applying a pervasive cultural perspective – the lens of Yin-Yang interaction – to the current situation of the Christian churches in China, I find that the Yin traits within Christianity and the Yang traits embedded in the Chinese political ideology are coexisting paradoxical values whose interaction facilitates an acceptance, or at least sanction, of oppositions that have reshaped the social and political landscape of Chinese society and fostered the continuing growth of Christianity in China.

Degree

MS

College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2014-12-01

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd7443

Keywords

China, religion, Christianity, official Christian churches, non-official churches, Chinese government, Yin Yang

Included in

Sociology Commons

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