English and the spread of Christianity.

@andygogo (1579)
China
December 29, 2006 9:26am CST
I've noticed since I've been in China that some Christians exploit Chinese education policy as a means to spread Christianity (who would have ever thought that China's own policies would be helping the spread of Christianity?). Anyway, this is how it works. Some Christians offer free English lessons on condition that the textbook used be the Holy Bible. Needledd to say, Chinese of limited financial means and desperate to pass English exams will often taek Christians up on this offer. Now while this alone will not guarantee that that Chinese will Christianise, none can deny that such a practice is still unjust and of course, if nothing else, increases the chances of Christians gaining more converts in an unfair manner by having the tables stacked in their favour. Now in principle, I am in favour of more religious freedom in China just as we see in many other countries. But on the other hand, I also believe in government not assisting, wittingly or otherwise, in the propagation of any faith. From that standpoint, I think it is important for the Chinese government, prior to giving full religious freedom in China, to first look at any policies of its which might in fact be assisting in the propagation of any faith. I believe China's English policy is one of such. I have noticed that many Chinese Christians do in fact speak English better than the average, and it is common for many to have adopted the Christian Faith thanks to their foreing teacher in university. Many foreign teachers are in fact sponsored by Christian organisations likewise. Yet here's the twist. I do not blame the Christians, either foreign or Chinese, in the least. The foreigners have the right to promote their faith (as long as it's outside the classroom, which is usually the case from what I've been able to observe), and Chinese are free to adopt the Faith. Heck, I'm a foreigner myself, and I'd had a few Chinese Christians try to bring me into the Christian fold. No harm done there, though if they're particularly aggressive about it, it can be irritating. So whom do I blame? The Chinese Ministry of Education! If primary and middle schools could choose among a wider range of languages, then English, a language the majority of whose speakers are in fact Christian, would no longer have the monopoly it does now. Imagine, for instance, that students could choose between any of China's minority languages (including Russian, Korean, Uighur, Zhuang, Mongolian, etc.), English, Esperanto, Arabic and Persian. Then we could expect that many of China's foreign teachers would be of many Faiths, with Christianity no longer holding such a monopoly through English. At the moment, I'm working on an English-language moral education curriculum fro children, and one person I was consulting immediately suggested including some quotes from teh Bible. Well, considering that the bible has in fact had quite an impact on English literature, guess what: that person had a point from a cultural standpoint. Many English speakers do in fact get their moral educaiton form the bible jsut as many chinese children do from Di Zi Gui, Lunyu, Daxue, etc. So including Bible quotes to teach moral education in English is in and of itself a reasonable proposition if we should consider it from a cultural context; the problem is that English holds a monopoly on China's foreign language curriculum, thanks to the Ministry of Education. This means that any English-language moral education curriculum that should include Bible quotes would not be taught to a small number of children just to expand their knowledge of English culture and moral conscience, but rather could be taught to such a large number as to allow it to penetrate the fabric of Chinese culture itself. For these reasons, I do beleive that, before teh Chinese government gives full freedom of religion in China, the Ministry of Education must needs change its foreign language policy first, as the two are in fact more closely interlinked than one might expect at first sight.
2 people like this
10 responses
• India
30 Dec 06
i tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
@sahergul (774)
• Pakistan
30 Dec 06
they are wrong... nothing is vain...
@JBD189 (345)
• India
30 Dec 06
What's the problem in using the Bible as study material for the English courses. Using the Bible as a text book for study will enable the learner to learn the good values in life and make him a better person, while in the process of learning. Of course, I am not commenting on conversions. That's a personal issue, altogether.
@2613563 (148)
• France
30 Dec 06
yes both are the relation.
@mikaghi (388)
• United States
29 Dec 06
i have real issues with the evangelists. i have christian friends and they don't like them either coz they so "i am better than u" type. i really wish that all religions could peacefully co-exisist with one pressuring followers of other religion.
@tamra2 (259)
• United States
29 Dec 06
Welcome to my world! I am Pagan, and not only to I have to tolerate Christians demeaning my faith and insulting me, I also have to deal with the fact that they (Christians)celebrate PAGAN holidays, my holidays, and name them Christian holy days. They say Christmas, I say Yule, yet I am the bad guy! Hello!!!! The season is YULE and has been since well before Christianity decided to make it their own and call it "Christmas".
@MrNiceGuy (4147)
• United States
29 Dec 06
So you're worried about Chinese converting to Christianity but not that they learn english nor that its free? Why can't they do what they want? What if the Chinese don't want to convert, no one is forcing them. They were the ones that wanted to learn english.
@nuffsed (1273)
29 Dec 06
Yes of course we have to be sympathetic to the Chinese. After all they have civilisation several thousand years older than ours. That we are accused of taking advantage of such a developed civilisation is laughable. If they were so poor, you can be sure that official corruption is at the heart of that poverty.
29 Dec 06
sure you didn't just copy and paste it lol? joking yeah i know where your coming from a lot of religions are going to highly populated areas to preach. for e.g. Africa, Kenya, Ghana where there is poverty. religions help these people and the same time they teach these people about religion and try and make them join?
@kellahinx (372)
• United States
29 Dec 06
i see your point on how this policy has basically forced christian indoctrination. however, i think that the ministry of education probably requires english for a different reason than to give privilege to thr christian faith. China has a goal to be a strong capitalist market and in order to do so they need english speaking employees to work for american based corporations. although french is also a business language so they should probably also be promoting that. either way though, there are a lot of other moral texts written in english than the bible, so while i don;t think that it should be ignored, i also think that it doesn't need to be focused on above the rest.