Political Theology Today A Forum for inter-disciplinary and inter-religious dialogue among clergy, scholars, students, and activists

All posts tagged China

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Negotiate Globally, Advocate Nationally: An American Catholic Response to the U.S.-China Climate Change Agreement

On Wednesday, November 12, the United States and China agreed to national carbon emission reductions. On the one hand, both countries are already set to meet their respective reduction targets based on existing commitments. On the other hand, the deal is significant because it signals that the world’s two largest […]

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qing dynasty

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom: Revolutionary Christianity Arrives in China

Is the Taiping Revolution (1850-1864) the moment when the revolutionary Christian tradition arrives in China? I suggest that it is precisely such a moment, for a number of reasons. These include a radical reinterpretation of the Bible, a thorough challenge to the underlying structures of existing power, a communistic way of life, and the development of a distinctly new religious form.

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Is Belief the Problem?

During my recent trip to China, I was asked: ‘Do you think China’s problem is that we don’t believe?’ ‘What do you mean?’ I said. ‘A Western religion like Christianity assumes that you must believe’, my companion said. ‘You must have an existential commitment to the cause. In China we […]

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2010-June-53a

Letters from China: Rethinking Religion and the State

To begin with, if there has never been a clearly identifiable religion of the state – as in Europe – or if China was not established in reaction to such religions – as with the USA – then what does that mean for the traditional and defining terminological opposition of religion and state? The way in which the narrative of political theory has been bequeathed to us in the West moves from inseparable connection to radical rupture. Or, it may trace a constant conflict between temporal popes and European emperors, only to lead to the humiliation of the pope’s temporal claims. Or, it may argue that all theories of the state are really secularised theologies (Schmitt). Yet all of this presupposes a strong contest between two powerful entities, which move back and forth between identity and difference. In a situation where there has never been such a struggle between two powerful entities, let alone a sustained and close alignment of religion and the state, the relation itself cannot be thought in these terms.

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2010 June 53a

Letters from China: Early Chinese Christian Socialism

Christianity in China: a story of early engagements, Nestorians in the seventh century, Roman Catholics in the sixteenth, Reformed Protestants with American haircuts and accents in the twentieth. Add to that the differences between the official and ‘underground’ churches (that is, not recognised by the state but known to everyone) and the picture is complete … Or is it?

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