Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Golden Lamp Church


Earlier this month, a large Christian Church was assaulted and shut down by local police...

"Hundreds of police and hired thugs descended on the mega-church, smashing doors and windows, seizing Bibles and sending dozens of worshippers to hospitals with serious injuries, members and activists say.

Today, the church's co-pastors are in jail. The gates to the church complex in the northern province of Shanxi are locked and a police armored personnel vehicle sits outside."

On Monday I posted about Time Magazine's criticism of Rick Warren for not addressing the human rights situation in Uganda quickly enough. I can only assume that they will likewise criticize prominent atheist figures for not criticizing China's officially atheist government for its actions. Why, I'll bet that Time Magazine will prominently denounce it themselves.

... just kidding





9 comments:

Nick said...

Is your post really attempting to suggest that atheism is reason why the Chinese government has totalitarian, fascist, anti-democratic policies about religious practice? Maybe I am reading it wrong but it seems to me that you are accusing atheism as a source for this type of behavior.

I think you are still missing my point about the Rick Warren thing. If Richard Dawkins was asked by someone in a interview what he thought of this Chinese crack down on a church, and all he could say is "I cannot comment on the policies of another government" then yes we could extend the same criticism as Rick Warren but clearly since that's not the case there is no reason to play up this angle.

David said...

Nick, when I read Brad's comment, I hear satire, and it's not subtle.

Satire does not make a good thesis for debate on logical points. The intent of the sender is significant in any communication transaction, and I think you are missing Brad's intent.

I believe what you are putting forward is called a "straw man" argument, which is a logical fallacy.

You probably have something meaningful and valuable to say, but I can't get through the barrier of your words so that I can understand what you intend. What is your thesis?

What I get in general from your words is little more than "Rick Warren is not as wonderful as people like to think" which is not only trivial but something that Rick Warren would probably heartily agree with.

Satire aside, the motivation for the persecution in China is not religious vs atheism but related to organizing people into visible idealogical institutions that could exercise political power.

The government views the highly visible church as a threat to power, but usually ignores the invisible church in China, which is rapidly growing.

Mark said...

Hi Brad.

I have to tell you that I am dissipointed that this story on your blog has a spin that implies that the Chinese government enjoys beating up on people just for being Christians.

I have been to China several times and have seen many churches there. I want to invite you, Brad, to honor your academic skills and take a look at the whole story instead of just the "Christian Persecution" spin that is so popular with anti-China writers these days.

Here is a link to more to the story:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hr5vqPX-47JQ152pcwUWfiUi3O5wD9CGIPTG2

In this article it says the church members RESISTED the police. Where in the Christian faith does it say its ok to fight with the police?

It also says that they were illegally constructing buildings without a permit. That sort of thing is illegal in America as well as China. Where does it say that Christians are above the laws that the rest of us have to obey?

This reminds me of the time when the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Stewart Moore, decided that, as a Christian, he didn't have to obey the law and remove the ten commandments he had placed on government property.

I am appalled at the so-called Christians who use their religion to play politics and as Christians they expect to be able to break the law with impunity.

I have great respect for your intelligence, Brad, so I hope you will put a little more effort into telling the whole story on your blog.

Brad Wright said...

As I understand it, the Chinese Government has a long history of antagonism toward religions, including Christianity. Their treatment of Falun Gong is terrible.

Here's from the article that you pointed to:

"But that was before hundreds of police and hired thugs descended on the mega-church, smashing doors and windows, seizing Bibles and sending dozens of worshippers to hospitals with serious injuries, members and activists say."

Sounds like a brutal way to deal with illegal construction, if indeed it happened.

Mark said...

I believe you and I can agree that the force used was probably excessive by western standards but I feel very successful this evening if I have caused you and the readers of your blog to become aware that there was much more going on with that church than simply some Christians trying to worship.

If you are interested in more claims of anti-china propaganda being fabricated by American news networks then check out these links:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8697

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-cnn

Mark said...

Here are more links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSQnK5FcKas

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-03/25/content_7851808.htm

Brad Wright said...

Fair enough, Mark. Thank you for the links.

Mark said...

Here is an interestingly related news item about an American church that was denied a permit to build a big church. Was the permit denied for public health and safety reasons or is the government trying to persecute Christians? We report. You decide!

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=100332

Danny D said...

"I have been to China several times and have seen many churches there. I want to invite you, Brad, to honor your academic skills and take a look at the whole story instead of just the "Christian Persecution" spin that is so popular with anti-China writers these days."

Well, I'm a pro-China writer/thinker, so let me have my take.

To say that the Chinese government doesn't have an issue with Christians is ridiculous. As can be clearly noted in the Communist Manifesto, regulation and/or denigration of religion is required. This was adopted by Mao, who had his own version of communism, not strictly Marxist.

Although one could say that the government primarily wants to limit perceived dissent or loss of control, to divorce this thinking from essential atheistic policies fails to see how this version of communism combines the two. Atheism is a necessity to maintain control and allegiance - the two are intertwined. The government mostly cracks down on such instances when it could possibly "lose face" or honor, and chooses to regulate in those instances.

Just because some are allowed to remain does not necessitate that the government as a whole is not aggressive towards religion, particularly Christianity, as a result of active atheism. The Chinese system is still very corrupt, even in the eyes of most Chinese, and heavily relies on reciprocity to gain control. How this ties into anti-Christian sentiment by the government is through the Communist Party. Many opportunities are not available to citizens unless they are members - and membership still requires avowing atheism.

Further, your argument is flawed for a couple of reasons. One, to infer that remarks concerning "Christian Persecution" are spin is to lack a proper display of academic skills, which you yourself decry. The evidence is overwhelming to the contrary, that the persecution does in fact exist. Also, it is disingenuous to disregard someone's statements as a result of simple spin rather than evidence because you do not agree.

Secondly, to assume that a local Chinese government is reliable in reporting resisting arrest is laughable. I make no assertion either way, but it would be unwise to take this at face value.