I have come across a handful of chinese whom when I ask “what religion are you?”, a question I like to ask to gauge how many buddhists or confucians are there, have been met with ‘christianity’. Now this comes to surprise to me, and it could be because I’m american where I see churches on damn near every major intersection, yet I don’t see any churches other than historical archives from temporary invaders like the germans, nice cathedrals which have become empty halls for tourism. I don’t recall reading about any intense missionary work in china like one might have in africa, south america or the many other places colonized for decades, the chinese did a great job curbing that nonsense. Where did these individuals find this christian identity? Although I’m a pantheist, I grew up a christian, I had to wake up every sunday morning to go to church since I was a wee young lad, I remember sunday school learning about Jacob, Job, Noah, Ishmael, Jesus, Paul, Peter, Revelations, the distinction between the old and new testament and what have you. Even the westerners that didn’t go to church religiously, they know about christianity, its around us, we have the holidays, christmas, easter, attending church for weddings. And so one might just ‘call’ themselves a christian even though they may have only attended church a handful of times in their lifetime. But how does this transfer over to the chinese? Have these individuals ever gone to church? One girl I asked stated yes, they’re hidden, instead of church it will be a hall with foreigners, when asked if she owned a bible, said no, asked if she knew who Cain was, said no, another said he just did his research and liked the stories, I didn’t quiz him. I take this to be how some westerners claim buddhism after reading a few books, quotes, yet have never actually been to a temple, probably couldn’t recite a buddhist chant, have no real buddhist beads, but a folder and fb wall full of quotes. I guess to some, christianity is just a cool label, a cool ‘cross’ tatt or ‘cross’ on their wall for decoration while admiring the teachings of jesus, the cool walk on water story, but I don’t get a sense that they are true christians as we in the west would call them. Now I’m not saying there are no christians in china, I am pretty sure there are, but I’m talking about the collective group who choose the label while not actually attending a single church in their life or couldn’t tell you a story past jesus and his disciples which hadn’t been picked up from the movie passion of the christ.
Such an odd religion to pick when you have such cool ones here but I guess thats the influence of capitalism where I find myself surrounded by christmas decorations on christmas (first time I saw this I said wtf pretty loud lol), where folks celebrate “St” Valentine’s Day and Halloween, you might even see some easter candy on sale. Bit funny how they know most of our religious holidays and even celebrate them (Valentine day is the most popular, you see loads of things on sale), but not our national ones (of course). Meanwhile we in the west couldn’t tell you a single chinese holiday past chinese new years. Intriguing.