Religion and Culture – Past Approaches, Present globalisation, Future Challenges
- European Renaissance at a price: global expansion. Studies of some historical cases in Asia
- Bitter lessons in Asia of a mercantilist civilisation. Analysis of some historical periods
- Present day encounter of cultures in Asia and the role of world religions: seeds of cultural harmony or germs of cultural conflicts?
- Future challenges in a Global Village: factors that could shape the future of Asia and the ways of channeling them
- 28-29 November, 2002
- Pousada de Mongha, Macau
- English and Mandarin
The eleven years (1541-1552) that the Spanish Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier spent in Asia were years of intense " European Renaissance " and religious controversies. At that time, Europe, although being primarily concerned by the rediscovery of the antique roots of its culture, ventured nevertheless East and West across the seas in search for new "discoveries" in the World - and for new markets.
Man of his time, Xavier, only after he reached Japan in 1549, realized that, for the Christian faith to grow in any place, it must equally respect local cultural roots. For his actions and words to bear fruit in Japan, he had first to go to China.
Francis Xavier's "awakening" continues, in various ways, to challenge present day research on "Religion and Culture" - all the more so through two facts: in today's "Global Village", local cultures struggle to survive and the "search for meaning" remains widely spread.
- MACAU RICCI INSTITUTE
Decoding the European Renaissance Mind: the Jesuit Missionaries' View of Cultural Encounter in Asia
As early as the mid-16th century, many Europeans had settled in the key regions of the vast empire built by Albuquerque in Goa: stretching from Ormuz to Malacca, and reaching out to Japan and China. A few decades later, Jesuits arrived in those regions; they were sent to invite their fellow countrymen to turn away from their ways--judged scandalous in Rome and Lisbon--, and also to bring Christianity to indigenous peoples.
Much has been written on the brand new approach developed by Jesuit missionaries in India, Japan and China, under the leadership of Valignano. Yet, too little has been written on how this novel way of "encountering 'the other'" reflected intellectual tensions among humanists in Europe at the time: while stating that each and every human being is free, the latter wished to rank peoples according to Renaissance principles. Fr. Acosta, for instance, made it clear that, unlike the peoples of America and, even more so, of Africa, the Chinese were not to be compulsively converted, since theirs was a great "culture," with excellent laws in writing and a rich literary tradition.
Délio de MENDONCA
Reading Indian Pluralism : A Paradigm for multi-cultural \ religious Development
Recalling the 450th anniversary of the death of St. Francis Xavier opens a debate \ dialogue between some outstanding old issues and ideals that Xavier himself and his times stood for and represented, and our present concerns.
Very few are as much influential as controversial in a variety of Asian cultures as Francis Xavier today. He was severe in his criticism of cultural pluralism, especially Indian, indeed even more than many of his unholy contemporaries.
Today's integrated world economy and market calls for a different sort of culture, vision and readings unforeseen a decade ago. India, as well as Asia in general, is ‘plural', not just ‘many'. Although many cultures, many religions, many races it is plural. Pluralism is not just tolerance, although very often pluralism is reduced just to that.
Goa, like Macau, a tiny former Portuguese colony from where I come, is a place where pluralism has taken deep roots. Cultural fusion in Goa and its communal interaction, a historical process although not achieved in a most spontaneous manner, sets an example for entire India. One should not forget that Xavier was laid to rest in Goa, and the shrine has become a meeting point for thousands of people of all faith and cultures – truly an encounter of religions and cultures and faith inspiring.
The principal purpose of this paper is a search for, and construction of a valid common code for cross-religious and cultural dialogue for advancement. Saints, poets and philosophers have attempted to ‘speak' a universal language.
Reading the main widespread forces shaping society and mindsets today - globalisation and fundamentalism - from the perspective of pluralism is being attempted here. It includes a brief historical reading of the discoveries, missionary enterprise, Christendom, etc.
Finally, this paper proposes the Indian (Asian) pluralism as a paradigm - based on cross or multi-cultural code \ language - for dialogue between the oriental and the occidental minds.
Southeast Asia in Chinese Jesuit Maps, Especially in the Verbiest Map and Its Korean Version
Many studies deal with the celebrated world maps by the Jesuit fathers Ricci, Aleni, Verbiest and others. But only very few of these works look at specific geographical problems and regions. This paper analyses the presentation of Southeast Asia, or, more specifically, of the so-called Nanyang region, in these maps. The focus will be on the Verbiest map (1674) and its Korean version (1860) of which a fine copy is available in a monastery near Munich. Three themes will be in the centre of the discussion: the various toponyms and their identification (some of which will be new), the centuries of Southeast Asia's mainland and insular world, and the brief descriptions of countries and islands found on the map. The descriptions – in the style of old lishi dili texts – are similar to or identical with those found in Verbiest's Kunyu tushuo, which in turn is based on Aleni's Zhifang waiji and certain other materials. The translation of these descriptions requires some philological notes on various topics, such as rare commodities, names, and other things. Finally, the maps will also be placed in the greater context of traditional cartography in China – and, more generally, of Chinese cartography on Southeast Asia.
Soon Mi HONG-SHUNKA
The Korean World Map in St. Ottilien: A Note on Verbiest's Cartographical Work
An unusual old world map was found incidentally on the author's trip to the Museum of Benedictine Monastery in St. Ottilien near Munich last year. This huge, black and white woodblock print carries the title Konyô chôndo ( Kunyu quantu in Chinese, Complete Map of the Earth) and is approximately 150 cm. high and 385 cm. wide. In the literature on Jesuit cartography Konyô chôndo is known as the work of Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688), a Jesuit missionary from Belgium, who continued the new Jesuit cartographic tradition in China initiated by Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) and Giulio Aleni (1582-1649) amongst others. But Verbiest's map shows an important technical innovation: unlike his predecessors, he presents the earth in two hemispheres.
In my paper I will look at the Korean reception of Jesuit cartography as a historical example of cultural encounter between the East and the West. In doing so, my focus will not be to describe how apparently ‘more scientific' European cartography with its strong basis on modern mathematics, geography and astronomy had changed or replaced native mapping practices in Korea. Instead, my target is aimed at the opposite direction. That is, I am more interested in finding out the reasons why the European cartography, more advanced both in theory and technique, did not find resonance in the Korean context.
The paper begins with the St. Ottilien map, identifying it as a Korean reprint of the Verbiest's Konyô chôndo published in 1674 in Peking for the first time. Also, I will locate several additional copies in Korea and Europe which had been unknown until now. Then, I will provide major historical circumstances which suggests that contrary to the usual assumption, Konyô chôndo must have been introduced to Korea much earlier than 1721. I continue, then, to look how those early Jesuit maps including that of Verbiest's, were received in Korea, by the map makers and by the progressively minded Sirhak (Practical Learning School) scholars. Finally, in order to explain the “lack of reception”, I shall examine political and socio-cultural contexts in and around Korea, under which the early East-West encounter in cartography took place. In order to judge degree of comprehension, texts of the four Sirhak scholars, Yi Sugwang (1563-1628), Yi Ik (1681-1763), An Chôngbok (1712-1791), Hong Taeyong (1731-1783), related to the theme of the Western geography, mathematics and astronomy are analyzed as well.
YOU Xi Lin
Late Ming “ Accommodation ” in Religious Predication and its Meaning in Chinese Modern Culture
In late Ming Dynasty, the ‘Accommodation Approach' initiated by Saint Francis Xavier, who sacrificed his own life to usher Christianity into China, has become the exemplary principle of modern cultural encounters. It was different from the ‘Reconquista' of religious colonialism. ‘Accommodation' respects and merges into another culture different from one's own. In fact, ‘Accommodation', at the end, overtook strategies of evangelization and resulted in recent positive and effective complementary interactions. From the Christian point of view, evangelization by “complementing Confucianism and modifying Buddhism”, adopted by the Jesuits with Mateo Ricci as their representative, has in fact evolved into a sort of Christian humanistic movement, the content of which was built on science and ethics. This objective historical result does not only show the ‘modernity' of Christianity itself. It also expresses the social structure and the orientation of the spiritual mutation of the Chinese society of late Ming Dynasty. Therefore, at its deepest level, the background of ‘Accommodation' was based on modernization and the difficult spiritual predicament of China at the time of modernity – that is, since late Ming, the needs of the country generated by a moral crisis deepened by the secularization of the traditional Chinese humanism. Is it possible, to establish anew Chinese modern spiritual values, to penetrate into the awareness of the Chinese modern predicament? This is – in what meaning and to what degree? – for Christianity to be able to merge with the life of Chinese culture, a fundamental premise.
Missionaries and Globalization of Culture: An Indian Experience
Studies on Portuguese colonization in Asia have proliferated in recent times. However, studies of its impact from the perspective of the colonized peoples are few. Further, within the larger experience of Portuguese colonization in the East, is the experience of globalization of culture among the ancient Christian communities in India as well as among those Christian communities which emerged as a consequence of Portuguese missionary effort under the Padroado system. While most studies on culture-contact between the East and West have focussed on the universalisation of Christian culture after the Western pattern, few studies have attempted to see the process of Western or Portuguese cultural domination and its imposition on the subject Christian communities.
While greater awareness of the phenomenon of globalization and its articulation are of recent origin, one can trace the functioning of this phenomenon all through world history. It may be noted that the Portuguese agenda in the East was mainly political and economic domination but included evangelization. The Portuguese project of evangelization of the East under royal patronage was characterized by globalization of culture, which implied imposition of Portuguese culture among convert communities on the one hand, and undermining of the indigenous culture, on the other, which policy resulted in not so cordial relationship between the East and the West.
A telling example of such a confrontational culture-contact is the case of the Malabar Christians in south west India. The Malabar Christians trace their origin to the missionary work of Apostle St. Thomas (hence also called St. Thomas Christians) and had been strongly entrenched and rooted in the Hindu or Indian culture while being ecclesiastically united to the Oriental Churches. This Christian community, with a membership of over 100,000 in the mid-sixteenth century, was brought under the jurisdiction of the Padroado by the Portuguese missionaries.
This paper focuses on the Portuguese missionary project, not merely confrontational, but also divisive, over the Malabar Christians, who strenuously defended their autonomy and culture . The meeting of the Western missionaries with the indigenous Christians of Malabar not only resulted in the partial Westernization of the latter, but also provoked a revolution in the mid-17 th century. The end result of the confrontation, which began from the early 1530s and continued till late 19 th century, was the breaking up of the Church of St. Thomas into Catholic and Orthodox and further, into several Churches. This study analyses the process of culture-contact between the Portuguese missionaries headed by the Jesuits from the mid-16 th century to mid-18 th century.
Related to this study on the Portuguese missionary-supported globalization and its cultural imposition are: 1) the bitter impact of the infamous Inquisition on the newly converted Christian communities of India and 2) the hostile relationship which expressed itself in open physical clashes between the Church communities under the two ecclesiastical systems, namely the Padroado and the Propaganda Fide.
Studies related to the colonial underpinnings of the Portuguese missionary project have largely drawn upon Portuguese language and other European sources. This study shall avail some of these sources but draw more from the abundant sources in Indian languages, which have not been adequately perused. Besides, the latter type of sources may throw more light on the perspective of the victimized communities.
The paper is divided into several parts: introductory section on Portuguese colonial-missionary activity, the lead given by the Jesuits beginning with St. Francis Xavier, data on the indigenous Christian communities of the period, the process of conflict, the impact of conflicts, analysis of the experience of aggressive culture-contact and the lessons for our contemporary contexts.
A Multicultural Case of Macau: the thesis of “maximization of difference” in a globalized world
Macau has long been hailed as a multicultural city since its inception. The present paper is mainly focusing on multiculturalism within the context of education in Macau. My interest in the discussion of multiculturalism stems from the concern of citizenship, because a study of citizenship education in Macau needs special attention attuned to Macau's multicultural aspects; these might eventually affect other mechanisms, such as the official educational language and cultural policies. Specifically, I try to answer some questions, such as: what is in Macau the meaning of the notion of multiculturalism? How is it related to the local development of citizenship education? To what extent is Macau engaged in this global process of multiculturalism so widespread in today's societies?
In the end, I try to argue that Macau's perspective and experience is, to a great extent, different from that of the Western societies: while the Western societies aim at a model of multiculturalism that is, in Tamir's terms, “diversity as modus vivendi” (1995), Macau is or should be more able to uphold the model of “diversity as ideal”. Macau's multiculturalism does not rest on its demographic composition, but most significantly on the given data of it's cultural background: this gives rise to the discussion of the whole issue.
The Malaccan Portuguese community and its relevance to contemporary Macau
When Saint Francis Xavier ventured to Japan and China in the mid-sixteenth century, he came via Malacca. His journey was made possible by Portuguese traders and adventurers who had previously traversed the eastern extremities of the Estado da India . During that period, Macau had not been officially settled by Westerners and Malacca was the primary link for journeys farther east. Malacca had become the administrative centre for missions in the Far East and for Francis Xavier, an intimate connection existed because part of his skeletal remains was entombed there for a time before being repatriated to India.
Even before the Portuguese wrest control of Malacca, it was already an important mercantile centre where traders from the region gathered to buy and sell. From Malacca, many Portuguese traders ventured to China and Japan; some settled illicitly to take advantage of the burgeoning trade. Until the demise of the Portuguese Empire and the subsequent decline of Portuguese shipping, Malacca remained a crucial link between Macau and Europe — a compulsory port of call.
In view of Malacca's strategic importance, it is not surprising to discover that extensive links existed between the two Portuguese settlements. The fall of Malacca to the Dutch in 1640 represented a severe blow to both communities. As a result, Macau's trade route to India and Europe was threatened while concerns were raised for the survival of the Portuguese community in Malacca. They suffered economic dislocation and, for a time, religious persecution. Against the odds, they survived and continue to do so having endured various regimes namely the Dutch, British, Japanese and Malaysian.
In their struggle for survival, the Malaccan Portuguese experience provides insights that have relevance for the Macanese in contemporary Macau even though centuries have lapsed since the departure of the Portuguese. Their distinctiveness and strong adherence to cultural practices, in particular their strong Catholic beliefs marked them but also provided a social adhesive and strength much needed in trying times. Their adaptability to new situations and their willingness to live in harmony with other races eased the pain of being marginalized. Led by dedicated leaders and shepherded by courageous clergy, the community was able to withstand external pressures that sought to decimate their ranks. By embracing other marginalized outsiders, their "inclusivity" added to the strength and profile of the community. As other regional centres such as Singapore gained prominence, their propensity to emigrate in search of a better world extended the reach of their community, transforming it in various ways. When Malayan nationalism took concrete form, they identified with the new nation state. Later they sought and were accorded access to certain privileges reserved solely for the indigenous population. For the Macanese community in contemporary Macau, these insights from Malacca have relevance and may provide inspiration in facing the challenge and opportunities of the new millennium.
World religions and Asian Culture: the Singapore experience
Dealing with the question of Religion and Culture, the Singapore experience deserves to draw our attention in a particular way. As a multiracial and a multilingual society Singapore is the home of the main World Religions. These religions show great dynamism in their creeds and worship.
The Singapore government, master minded by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, has been eager to develop a local culture advocating Asian values. Our problem is to determine in which ways the religions of Singapore actually do relate to culture and eventually contribute to the shaping up of a specifically Asian culture.
Having shared the life of Singapore people for over three decades, I shall raise a number of issues in the order of their appearance in the course of history over the past 40 years.
1 . Racial Harmony over communalism.
Assembled around their temples, clan associations could harbour particularist principles and feelings and prevent the development of a modern city with an equal respect and treatment for all the citizens. They could also become nests of political opposition through the channel of a Chinese education influenced by the Marxist ideals of the New China.
2. English versus Chinese Education.
Political and economic requirements favoured a shift to a general use of English as a medium of teaching, even in Chinese schools. This move brought about an overall cultural transformation in which Christianity played an ever-growing role.
3.Christianity and Modernity.
Middle school education in English created a kind of appeal to a more modern religion in which one could find moral guidance and practice more meaningful rituals. Christianity seemed to respond to these conditions.
4. Religions and Moral Education.
In the 80s, Mr Goh Geng Swee, then education minister, became an active promoter of a pragmatic use of religions for the sake of a more efficient moral training. The following options were introduced to the pupils: Bible Knowledge, Islamic Religious Knowledge, Buddhist Studies, Hindu Studies, Sikh Studies, Confucian Ethics, Study of World Religions.
5.Confucian Ethics assimilated to Asian Values.
Besides its role in moral education, the revival of Confucian teachings was seen as a remedy to the danger of losing ground in the international competition. Religions on the other hand played a more general role in opening broader horizons to international exchanges.
In its ambition to be a global city, Singapore benefits from an experience of fertilization of its social ground by dynamic World religions. A broader reflection on the Asian society in the world today should draw some hints from the Singapore laboratory of globalization.
The Building of the Cathedral of Canton: Political, Cultural and Religious Clashes
The paper traces events surrounding the construction of the Roman Catholic cathedral in Canton between 1860 to 1890. This neo-Gothic granite structure designed by a French architect is an amazing feat of workmanship by Chinese craftsmen with little knowledge of this type of construction. These workers had also to bear the brunt of the local population's displeasure. Indeed, far from bringing Western missionaries and the people of Canton to some understanding and respect for each other, the building deepened the mistrust and became the focus of bitter disputes and clashes.
The uncompromising attitude and political maneuvering of Bishop Guillemin in the pursuit of his dream of a magnificent Gothic cathedral did nothing to alleviate Chinese suspicion of missionaries' collusion with Western expansionist plans. He repeatedly disregarded local fengshu i and used French political and military might to his advantage in claiming a site for his new church. His pick was as much a political as a religious statement. Indeed, the location he set sight upon was the grounds of the governor-general palace destroyed in December 1857 by Anglo-French forces. In 1879, the bishop's obsession with church constructions in his vicariate was to an extent responsible for his recall to Europe by Rome. Guillemin's immediate successors were unable to defuse the population's resentment against missionaries, the converts, and the cathedral.
On the Chinese side, the governor and governor-general vacillated between orders from Beijing to accommodate missionaries and demands from the local gentry for punitive actions against these same foreigners. This anti-foreign local elite played a crucial role in venting the population anger against the cathedral as the most obvious and prominent symbol of foreign impingement in the city. In 1880, an angry mob threatened the unfinished building and destroyed Christian housing. The onset of the conflict with France over Annam further increased the tension and led to a widespread persecution of Christians in the province. To prevent another riot in Canton, the governor-general ordered missionaries to leave and confiscated the property of the cathedral. The situation did not quiet down until the end of the Sino-French war in June 1885.
In today Canton, missionaries are gone, anti-foreignism is at an all-time low, and Catholicism is striving. The resentment against the cathedral, known by the population as the Stone House ( shishi ), has disappeared. In a strange twist of history, the present provincial government has declared the building a valued cultural monument. At long last, instead of being a divisive symbol in the city skyline, the Canton cathedral has become a peaceful testimony of a common heritage proudly treasured by East and West.
Pierre-Henry de BRUYN
Daoist traditions in Modern China : some observations and reflections
The earth of France is, by some way, the place where religious Daoist traditions acquired last century, their first “lettres de noblesse” in the academic world. In 1910, the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris acquired two incomplete copies of the Ming Dynasty Daoist Canon of 1445. Before the official publication in China of a full version of this canon in 1926, Father Léon Wieger had already in 1911 prepared a first catalogue of it and Chavannes, Peliot and Henri Maspero published their translations of some texts afterwards. But the real “revelation” of Daoist Traditions as belonging to a pluri-secular and respectful religious tradition happened in Italy in 1968, at the Bellagio Conference which brought together for the first time scholars to discuss Daoist studies. Kristofer Schipper, initially student of Kaltenmark at La Sorbonne in Paris and who had received Daoist initiation at Taiwan during the years before, had played a great role in the “discovery” of Daoism as a great religion of the world, which was made at this conference.
More than 30 years have gone since this “scientific event”. Many studies have been done about the subject. The field of Daoist studies is now so wide that no scholar can embrace all its immensity. But the observation made in 1978 by Nathan Sivin “On the Word ‘Daoist' as a Source of Perplexity” is more actual than ever. The content of our paper will be to reflect over this perplexity and to propose that actual understanding of Daoist Traditions is evolving between five couples of paradoxical terms which make more acute the complexity of the terms: religion – superstition / present survival – past glory / heart of Chinese culture – folkloric customs / esoteric texts – efficient practices / religious rituals – scientific influence.
David A. PALMER
The body at the junction of religion and scientism: modernization of meditative traditions in contemporary China
The body has long been a focal centre of Chinese religiosity. Breathing, meditative gymnastic and medical arts have always been among the key practices of Daoism, Buddhism, and popular religion in China. Owing to the practical dimension of these techniques, there has been a tendency, both in China and the West, to adapt them to a modern, secular, individualist lifestyle. The body becomes the locus for a new understanding of religious traditions, one which seeks to be compatible with a scientific worldview, and to reconcile the contradictions between tradition and modernity. The paper will explore the changes in the form, social transmission, and concepts associated with Chinese body arts in the past century, in the context of the overall evolution of Chinese culture.
Buddhist communities in modern China and inter-religious dialogue
Ever since the opening policy ushered in by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, Buddhism in China has experienced a conspicuous revival. According to official statistics, there are presently some 13 000 Buddhist temples and monasteries and about 200 000 monks and nuns in the whole country. In the regions of the Han nationality, more than 100 temples have been already classified as Buddhist sites of first category. In 1998, China has officially commemorated the 2 000 years of Chinese Buddhism with various ceremonies and events, with the intention of connecting today's Buddhism with its entire past history, but also and above all of indicating the way for the future, the way which, in our modern world characterized by the globalization of exchanges and techniques, should be followed by religions concerned with the welfare of mankind.
As it once happened in the the long process of inculturation of Buddhism in the Chinese soil, a strong interaction between Buddhism and the modern Chinese society is now taking place. To be accepted by the Chinese, Buddhism had first to assimilate numerous elements of the traditional Confucian and Taoist culture; then, having been such transformed, was able in its turn to transform deeply the mentality and the way of life of the Chinese. Nowadays, Buddhism has to face a similar challenge. It is expected to play its part in the “socialist society with Chinese characteristics”, namely in the field of moral education, and in fostering harmonious relationships and unity in the country. In accepting this integration, Buddhism will be and is already able to exert in its turn a real influence on a Chinese society plagued by corruption and by many social evils, infusing in it a lofty ideal of peace, love, compassion and of disinterested service of the needy. The " humanistic " Buddhism, advocated by the famous monk Tai Xu at the beginning of the 20th century, and largely developed in Taiwan, with many educational and social institutions, seems to find favor with influent intellectuals and Buddhist circles in the Mainland.
This revival of Buddhism in China is accompanied with an openness to the outside world, which seems propitious to inter-religious dialogue. In the spirit of dialogue, many would discover an invitation to set out, as pilgrims, on the roads of Buddhist temples and monasteries throughout China, and to form with numerous monks and nuns genuine ties of friendship which will contribute to the peace in the world.
Islam's adaptation in China : present realities
Since the 80's years, as the others religious movements in China, Islamic communities have reorganized their activities. Old mosques are rebuilt in the traditional Chinese style, but the new ones distinguish themselves by a new Middle-East Islamic style. The latest meant to show the foreign origin of Islam and act as a reminder to the Chinese Muslims (Hui) to do their religious' duty.
The relationships with the Umma (“community of believers “) are also increasing : each year, an official number of more than two thousand believers go to the haj pilgrimage in Mecca. During the last decade, many students went to further their religious studies in Islamic Universities in Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria.
In China, there is an important multiplication of collective or private initiatives, especially in the field of education with the opening of Islamic schools, as well as in the area of publication (local journals, reviews etc.).
This paper will present the recent developments of Islam in China. It will examine the emerging trends and show how the Chinese Muslims (Hui) live nowadays the traditional “juxtaposition” between their Chinese and Islamic cultures.
KUNG Lap Yan
What to preach? Christian Witness in China, with Reference to the Party's Idea of Mutual Accomodation
'What to preach?' is a fundamental concern of the Christian community, because Christians are called to witness. The content of what to preach has to be related to one's social context in order that the Christian message is relevant to the addressees. This is a process of contextualization, and Christians in China call this 'theological construction'. Since 1993, the Chinese government has endorsed a religious policy, namely, mutual accommodation. In short, a policy of mutual accommodation is to direct religious communities for the contribution to the development of socialism in the Chinese way. In such a context, Bishop K.H.Ting starts his theological construction, and his proposal is endorsed by the Three-Self Patriotic Christian Movement and China Christian Council in 1998. Ting suggests a shift from a religion of fear to a religion of morality, from the Church-oriented to the cosmos-oriented, from the doctrine of redemption to the doctrine of creation and from a religion of persons to a religion of history. Although Ting is sometimes criticized for being accommodated rather than contextualized, his attempt is both political and theological necessary, because in China, Christian witness cannot be apolitical. His attempt is inadequate, but cannot be denied.
Beatrice LEUNG Kit-Fun
Chinese Religious Women in Globalization Era: their problems and contributions
Social scientists have argued that in the long history of the Roman Catholic Church, religious orders have been the principal voice of the most radical movements within the Church. Religious orders have served as revival movements within the Church as well as the source of creative adaptations to new societal and religious circumstances. As the channels for experimentation and adaptation and the most effective avenues for ongoing revival in the Church, religious orders not only account for the long-term vitality of the Catholic Church, but they also help explain why the Catholic Church is more effective as a monopoly church than the Protestant Church.
This article aims at exploring the contributions of Chinese religious women in Deng – Jiang era through the examination of their modus vivendi and problems they are facing within and outside the church structure. In the course of discussion we firstly highlights the degree of revival of religious life among this special cohort of Catholics closely associated with the degree of development of the institutional norm among themselves . Secondly the sisters have their indispensable contribution in the revival of Catholicism in China and in the struggle between religious idealism and the Marxist-Leninist dialectic materialism of the Communist Party as well as the economic materialism under Deng Xiaoping.
Christian Universities settle down in Chinese Soil
Christianity basically does not belong to any country or any nation. The process of its dissemination from East to West and again from West to East is therefore also a process of adaptation to one then to another new cultural environment. Yet the “Christianization” dreamed of in their quest by Church people in reality includes also the indigenization of Christianity in these areas. From the view point of an historian, the universality of Christianity does not reside only in the scriptures of its sacred books nor in the internal kernel of its theology, but is also, progressively polished through years and centuries of interpretation developed by all sorts of languages and cultures, the result of accommodation.
Church universities are like the body of their mother Christianity: the process of their sinicization is a process through clash and progressive polishing. Although this process, due to extreme political conflict, has been forcefully interrupted.
Christian missions, modern Chinese intellectuals and the crisis of modernity
At the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty, the course of modernization of China, both before and after the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), prominently manifested itself, from the level of the ideological system on, as quite incisive; it rectified the irreversible weakness of the society. Although newly emerged Chinese intellectuals (Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao) had received heavy blows in the power transition process of the whole society, due nevertheless to their dual-role of literati and officials of the traditional imperial court and of modern, intellectual men of letters, they have attempted, as bearers of social values, to eliminate the differences and contradictions between the two. Western missionaries, being bearers of social values, have generally speaking shared with Kang and Liang the same value orientation during the Hundred Days of the Reform Movement, in such a way that the influence of the former on the latter ha s been decisively undeletable. Among others, the most important influences were embodied in the following: in assuming to be creators and disseminators of new social values and concepts; by drifting away from the system of imperial examinations, yet by following scholastic methods, in educating representatives and practitioners of a new sense of value; by way of a new revolutionary organization, in establishing the core of a social elite. But the differences between the two have also been fatal: Kang and Liang, when rethinking and criticizing tradition, had not found for the tradition any new resting point; when assimilating some theological concepts of Christianity, they headed, as if it were mechanically, for a dead alley, that is: to consider Confucian culture as a religion; Kang and Liang did not forsake the relation to imperial authority, in reality they were aiming at using a top to bottom method to instill and implement a reformist way of thinking ; but as soon as the imperial authority had become a kind of decor, this very point had lead them on a suicidal road.
Christianity and the Moral Construction of Chinese Citizen in the New Century
Starting from the beginning of this year, every province and city of China Mainland has everywhere launched a thorough and realistic movement of “Guidelines to implement the establishment of civic morality”, an important measure considered to respond, in the wake of recent years, to certain adverse effects generated by the promotion of the system of market economy. Such a great background for the establishment of morality has presented to every religion of China an excellent opportunity to exert its own efficiency and function in the establishment of morality. This paper intends, with the relation between religion and morality as main line, to combine some considerations of the present Chinese worlds of moral philosophy and of science of religion, to systematically expose the relation between Christianity and the moral construction of the Chinese citizen, to propose some reflections referring to the moral construction of the Chinese citizen. The first part of the paper summarily describes the present background of the moral construction of the Chinese citizen with its meaning and its difficulty; the second part discusses the moral efficiency of Christianity and its relation with faith; the third part proposes some reflections on the study of Christian ethics, and according to its social engagement, some reflections on the establishment of civic morality.