A “Fruitful Meeting” Between Civilizations – Part 2/2

May 12, 2011

Y Chan’s comment continued with, “In the English language, the word “Christianity” usually refers to the hundreds of religions (some estimate the total number of Christian sects to be about 38,000 worldwide) that are based on Jesus as their Savior… However, to the Chinese people, the words “Catholicism” and “Christianity” seem to refer to two different religions, which is wrong. The translation got lost somewhere.”

“In fact,” Chan wrote, “different Christian sects came to China at different times with different techniques. The Catholics first came to China under Father Matteo Ricci around 1582 “WITHOUT” weapons or gunboats.

“All Ricci brought was the Bible and scientific knowledge and thus gained the respect of the Chinese people [even today the Chinese respect him].

“Actually, the religious exchange went both ways. Whilst the Jesuits brought Christianity to China, they also introduced Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism to Europe, because Father Ricci studied and translated many Chinese texts and sent them back to the Vatican.

“On the other hand, the Protestants arrived in China [in the 19th century] with the assistance of Western gunboats and opium. The first Protestant missionary was Robert Morrison of the Scottish Presbyterian Church. He pioneered the translation of the Bible into Chinese. He actually was hired by the notorious British East India Company that sold opium in China.

“Therefore, Chinese historians usually give a much higher respect to Father Matteo Ricci than to Rev. Robert Morrison. Today, Morrison has largely been forgotten by most Chinese.

“Father Matteo Ricci was an Italian, came to China 400 years ago, arrived in Macao and learned to speak fluent Cantonese rather than Mandarin.

“He studied Buddhism, dressed as a Buddhist monk and talked as if he were one when he tried to introduce Christianity to the Chinese people. However, Ricci discovered to gain the trust of the Chinese Emperor, he had to understand Confucianism.

“Through the study of Confucianism, he was accepted into the Imperial Court and was the first Westerner to hold a high position in the Chinese Government.

“Father Ricci treated Chinese culture and religions “EQUALLY” as he introduced Christianity to China, whilst the British missionaries [Robert Morrison and the Protestants] looked down on China as a land of barbarians [heathens] to be “saved” as they came ashore supported by gunboats and opium.

Return to A “Fruitful Meeting” Between Civilizations – Part 1

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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.

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The Connection between Opium, Christianity, Cults and Cannon Balls in China

March 1, 2011

Organized religions and cults such as 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” powered by opium.

The treaty that ended the opium wars included a clause that required China to allow Christian missionaries free access to all of China to convert the heathens.

Then the Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan, God’s Chinese son and a Christian convert, was responsible for more than 20 million deaths. Hong claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Millions believed him.

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.

Learn of Christianity and Islam in China

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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.

 

Note: This post first appeared on iLook China March 11, 2010 as post # 128. This revised version reappears as post # 1095.