In the past several decades, as Christianity boomed in China, so have many sects and even cults. One movement in particular has attracted a great deal of attention. The Church of the Almighty God (also known as, “Eastern Lightning”) has gained thousands of followers in the past two decades.
Outlawed in 1995 and labeled by the Chinese government as an “evil cult,” The Church of Almighty God (CAG) has also attracted a great deal of criticism and concern. Most notably, in 2014, CAG made headlines in the Chinese media after six members of CAG attacked and killed a 37-year-old woman in a McDonalds in Zhaoyuan, Shandong Province. Footage of the murder spread widely across Chinese social media. CAG members say the government fabricated the claims.
Although it has attracted attention, the inner workings and belief system of CAG remain a mystery to many. CAG supporters claim they have been misrepresented and persecuted as a religious group. They further contend that CAG has its origins in Christianity (similar to Jehovah’s Witnesses or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and is a Christian sect or church. Therefore, they should enjoy religious freedoms as do other religions.
However, critics of CAG argue that, despite any Christian origins, its current beliefs and practices clearly demonstrate CAG is not Christian. Some argue that it is a cult and should be considered a danger to society. One such critic is scholar, Bai Yun (pseudonym), who has written a paper titled, “The Analysis of a Mobaituanti from the Perspective of Religion—The Case Study of the Church of Almighty God.” The article was given to ChinaSource, both the original Chinese and a translated English version, and has included it in our “Resource Share” section.
In the paper Bai Yun analyzes the beliefs and practices of CAG and compares that with orthodox Christianity. Bai Yun also provides background on CAG, as well as excerpts directly from CAG literature and doctrine. After reviewing CAG doctrine, leadership structure, believers’ practices, and church structure, Bai Yun concludes that “CAG appears to be Christian but is essentially different.”
This article gives more insight into an enigmatic religious movement that continues to influence portions of Chinese society.
To read “The Analysis of a Mobaituanti from the Perspective of Religion—The Case Study of the Church of Almighty God” in the original Chinese or the translated English version go to ChinaSource | Analysis of a Mobaituanti from the Perspective of Religion.
Original Article: “The Analysis of a Mobaituanti from the Perspective of Religion—The Case Study of the Church of Almighty God.”
Translation is not the work of ChinaSource. Reposted with permission.
Image courtesy of a friend of ChinaSource.
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