Lin Yutang Explains Christianity in China

April 27, 2010

“For most Chinese the end of life lies not in life after death, for the idea that we live in order to die, as taught by Christianity, is incomprehensible, nor in Nirvana, for that is too metaphysical, not in the satisfaction of accomplishment, for that is too vainglorious, nor yet in progress for progress’ sake, for that is meaningless. The true end, the Chinese have decided in a singularly clear manner, lies in the enjoyment of a simple life, especially the family life, and in harmonious social relationships.

“The Chinese are a nation of individualists. They are family-minded, not social-minded… It is curious that the word ‘society’ does not exist as an idea in Chinese thought. In the Confucian social and political philosophy we see a direct transition from family, ‘chia’, to the state, ‘kuo’, as successive stages of human organization …

Lin Yutang

“The Chinese, therefore, make rather poor Christian converts, and if they are to be converted they should all become Quakers, for that is the only sort of Christianity that the Chinese can understand. Christianity as a way of life can impress the Chinese, but Christian creeds and dogmas will be crushed, not by a superior Confucian logic but by ordinary Confucian common sense. Buddhism itself, when absorbed by the educated Chinese, became nothing but a system of mental hygiene, which is the essence of Sung philosophy.” Source: My Country and My People, Lin Yutang. Halcyon House, New York. 1938. Pgs 94; 101; 103; 172, and 108)

Learn about Superior versus Civilized


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar. 

Taking the Spiritual for Granted

April 26, 2010

Most people that live in Western democracies grew up fearing and hating the word “Communist: during the Cold War. The media brainwashing that went on for decades to paint the word “communism’ as evil did a great job.

Christianity in China

A conservative, Republican, born-again Christian, evangelical friend of mine that has never visited China was proud to E-mail me and say that Christianity is the fastest growing religion in China. He also told me that ‘communism’ was evil.

Taking one word and using that word as a definition for evil is wrong. Mao did evil deeds during the twenty-seven years he ruled as China’s modern emperor. Stalin and Hitler also were responsible for horrible atrocities. Words are not evil. Using a word to describe evil is dangerous. It leads to stereotyping. If what my friend said was true, than my mother-in-law, the closet Christian, would be evil since she lived in a communist country.

See “An American Shadow Over the Philippines


Older than the New Testament

March 20, 2010

A conservative friend once said that Communism was evil and that China needed a proper legal system. Since China already has a legal system, what did he mean?  I’ve known this individual for decades, and I’m sure he meant that China should have a legal system like the one in America or the U.K. After all, he claims scripture guides his life and the Christian Bible has been around for centuries proving it comes from God. There is no other choice.

The problem with that logic is Confucius walked the earth long before Christ, and the New Testament didn’t exist for centuries after Christ was gone. What Confucius taught has been around longer.

What about China’s legal system? The highest agency in China is the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.  This agency is responsible for both prosecution and investigation in the People’s Republic of China.  Similar institutions influence the office of the Procurator in the Socialist legal system. Its direct predecessor in China is the Supreme Court of the Republic of China, which in turn is descended from the Procuratorial Office of the late Qing Dynasty.

China's Supreme Court

The Chinese legal system may have been broken during Mao’s Cultural Revolution but not any longer.  It also appears that China’s legal system is an organic institution capable of change as seen in this piece from the Dui Hua Human Rights Journal.

This series of posts about the legal system in China started with Officer in Action


Cults and Christian Cannon Balls

March 11, 2010

Organized religions and cults like the Falun Gong have been in China for centuries, but have never played a major role in the culture until the 19th century when Christianity was forced on China. C.M. Cipolla wrote in his book, Guns, Sails and Empires, “While Buddha came to China on white elephants, Christ was born on cannon balls.”

In the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers, officially known as Fists of Righteous Harmony, roamed the countryside attacking Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts.

Confucius and possibly Lao-Tse have influenced the foundation of Chinese culture and morality the most.  These two along with Buddha offer more of a blended influence on Chinese culture than Christianity or Islam. Thanks to Confucius, China’s mainstream culture understands the importance of people within the family and society more so than many other countries and cultures. This may explain why China is a powerhouse of industry today.

Discover  The Man Who Made China


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

Morality in China

March 10, 2010

I find it interesting when the Western media talks about how Communist China prevents or represses freedom of religion as if that were unique to today’s China. The truth is, China has a history of intolerance toward God based religions that tend, by their nature, to interfere with Chinese culture and family based morality. 

Religions like Buddhism and Taoism, which are similar, are not as aggressive as Christianity or Islam. That explains why Buddhism is the dominant religion in China today. Maybe that is why China’s top political advisor Jia Qinglin recently called on the country’s Buddhists to contribute to ethnic unity, social stability and national unification.

Reclining Buddha In Shanghai

Buddhist and Taoist influence on art and poetry have been a powerful influence on Chinese culture and entered mainstream Chinese tradition more than two thousand years ago.

Estimates say that about one hundred million Chinese follow Buddhism while the second largest religion is Taoism. A few million followers of Islam live in the northwest. Christians claim to be the fastest growing religion, but there are no facts to support this.

On the other hand, a recent survey found that eight hundred million Chinese say they belong to no religion. That does not mean that these Chinese have no morality since Confucianism is not a religion but is a lifestyle.

Discover Barbarians – a Matter of Opinion


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

Ignorance is Bliss and Phone Sex is a Sin

March 10, 2010

When I first wrote about the foundation of morality in China at Open, Middle Age Woman Blogging responded with, “I can’t even begin to comment… all those old married men and young single women walking around Beijing? You’re kidding right? And how about the phone calls in the middle of the night men receive while traveling throughout China? ‘Ah, Missa Wandall, I unastan you wan company?'”

What Middle Age Woman Blogging says is true about the middle of the night phone calls in China.

While my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Beijing, a late night call came to our hotel room. “Do you want a massage,” a sexy accented voice said in English.

Warning, the next link leads to an x-rated site. Do not click on that link if you are a moral person. Then in America, there’s phone sex where a man or woman calls and pays with a credit card to listen to hot, sexy talk.

My reply to Middle Age Woman Blogging is, “Morality in America comes from Christianity and Judaism. Moral behavior is measured from this. That doesn’t mean everyone is a moral person. If so, there would be no divorce, few would go to prison, and there would be no phone sex since it would be a sin.”

Men and women in China are human too.

How serious do the Chinese consider Morality?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

Education Chinese Style – Part 7

February 12, 2010

One of the Five Great Relationships that Confucius taught was the one between father and son. Nothing has changed. In addition, because of the relationship between husband and wife, the wife is expected to support the husband. It is the husband and wife’s responsibility to see that a son or daughter grows up to be like the gentleman that Confucius described. To do anything less would be a ‘loss of face’, because the child’s failure or success is a walking advertisement to everyone that the parents did not do their job.

Jade Budda Temple, Shanghai, China

Because of Confucius, most people in China have mutual obligations and responsibilities to each other. If you watched the opening Olympic ceremony in Beijing on TV, you may remember the little boy that risked his life after the big earthquake in Sichuan province. He said it was his duty. According to Confucius, he was right. Buddhism also plays an important part in everyday life in China.

These expectations go back more than two thousand years—well before Constantine made Christianity the moral and ethical foundation for the Roman Empire and Western civilization. Does that mean that everyone in China follows what Confucius taught? Do all Christians, Muslims or Jews follow what their God, spiritual teachers and prophets taught? The answer is no, but the foundations of these cultures are still built on those teachings.

See Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.