Resources on Religion in China

Jul 19

China’s Religious Revival

by Brent Fulton

A genuine "must-read" for those seeking to understand the complexities of religious life in China today. 

Jul 14

Christianity and China’s “Religious Ecology”

by Easten Law

In China, the study of religion as an academic discipline has been gaining momentum in recent years. Centers and institutes for the study of religion have been established at numerous top-tier Chinese universities. As research on religion in China grows, indigenous theories regarding the role of religion in Chinese society and culture are also being constructed and debated. One theoretical framework of note is the “religious ecology” model.

Jun 12

Recent Articles on Islam in China

by Joann Pittman

Last week Brent wrote about a Christian serving among China’s Muslims who joined in the Muslim celebration of Ramadan. Given the fact that we are now at the halfway point of the month of fasting, I thought it would be a good time to highlight some recent articles and resources about Islam in China.

Jun 5

China’s God-Shaped Vacuum

by Joann Pittman

Our friends at The Gospel Coalition recently asked me to review Ian Johnson’s book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao. Last week, it was published under the title "China’s God-Shaped Vacuum." 

Mar 20

The Souls of China: A Trailer

by Joann Pittman

A sneak peek at longtime China journalist Ian Johnson soon-to-be-released new book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao. A must-read for those who want to deepen their understanding of Chinese culture and religious life.

Aug 22, 2016

Daoism: Yesterday and Today

by Joann Pittman

I once had a discussion with my Chinese professor about the influences of Confucianism and Daoism (Taoism) in the worldview of Chinese people. “You have to understand,” he told me, “that we are Confucian when things are going well, when we have position and authority, and when life is hard for us and we are ‘down and out,’ we are Daoists.”

Jun 20, 2016

Islam in China

by Joann Pittman

A few years back I was talking with a Chinese scholar friend of mine about Islam in China. In what has to be one of the clearest examples of pragmatic religiosity I’ve encountered, he told me, “Islam has no future here because Han Chinese will never give up eating pork.”

May 19, 2014

Folk Thinking among Rural Christians

by Mans Ramstad

Christianity in rural China is heavily influenced by concepts of Chinese folk religion and functions in many ways like a folk religion. This is due to the influence of traditional religious concepts and the limited education among most rural people. Folk concepts observed in rural Christianity include predilection for the mysterious including evidence of supernatural power, obsession with objects (the evil of unspiritual objects as well as the benefit of spiritual objects like pictures of Jesus or crosses), an intuitive desire for ritual to express one's faith and other aspects to be discussed below.

Apr 16, 2014

Where Did Eastern Lightning Come From?

by William Bennett

Eastern Lightning is a Chinese cult that proclaims that Christ has already returned as a Chinese woman. The cult started in Henan Province in the early 1990s and reportedly has one million followers in mainland China.1

Feb 22, 2013

"Eastern Lightning Destroyed My Family"

by ChinaSource Team

The article translated below is a testimony from a Christian man who lost his wife to the Eastern Lightning Cult. It is posted on a Mainland-based website called Kuanye Zhi Sheng (Voice in the Wilderness).

Jan 7, 2013

Religious Statistics in China

by Tony Lambert

Current evidence is that religion is flourishing in China. However, practical problems make statistical statements for the number of religious believers in China quite hazardous. The author cautiously examines the evidence that exists for each of the five, major, officially-recognized religious faiths in China.

Dec 20, 2012

Eastern Lightning and the End of the World

by Joann Pittman

China's Eastern Lightning cult is back in the news again, thanks to the ancient Mayans. It seems that their calendar comes to an end on December 21, causing millions to believe that the day will mark the end of the world. The "doomsday" craze has hit China big-time and the Eastern Lightning cult (which, for some reason, media outlets have taken to calling the Almighty God cult) has used the opportunity to launch an "evangelistic" offensive in China, telling people that the only way to be saved from the coming apocalypse is to join the Eastern Lightning group.

Jun 21, 2012

Will the World End in 2012?

by ChinaSource Team

As the new year began in China, the Mayan prediction that the world will end in 2012 was a hot topic of conversation, for both Christians and non-Christians alike. This article, published in the Gospel Times on January 6, 2012 addressed the question from a Biblical perspective.