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Christianity the reason for West's success, say the Chinese
Iona Institute ^ | 3rd March 2011 | Tom O'Gorman

Posted on 03/07/2011 9:00:56 AM PST by Eurotwit

In the West we are doing our best to destroy our Christian heritage but in China, Chinese intellectuals are coming around to the view that it is precisely this heritage that has made the West so successful.

Former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Dominic Lawson, in a review in the Sunday Times of Niall Ferguson's new book, ‘Civilisation: The West and the Rest’, carries a quote from a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in which he tries to account for the success of the West, to date.

He said: “One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world.

“We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had.

“Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system.

“But in the past twenty years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful.

“The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

Note the source. It isn't from a religious leader, or some religious think-tank. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is an instrument of the Chinese Communist government which spends a not inconsiderable amount of time and money persecuting Christians and is officially atheistic.

If this is the conclusion it has come to, maybe Europe needs to reconsider whether it mightn't be an idea to encourage rather than eradicate Christianity.

Incidentally, just to drive home the point, Lawson also refers to this data point in Ferguson's book: Wenzhou, the Chinese city which is rated as the most entrepreneurial in the country, is also home to 1,400 churches.

Lawson refers to a quote in the book from a prominent Wenzhou business leader, a Mr Hanping Zhang, who argues that “an absence of trust had been one of the main factors holding China back; but he feels he can trust his fellow Christians because he knows that they will be honest in their dealings with him”.

It has long been accepted that Christianity is one of the core elements of Western civilisation; it is too little understood that it is also one of the secrets of the stunning success of that civilisation.


TOPICS: Religion
KEYWORDS: china; clashofcivilizations
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Interesting...
1 posted on 03/07/2011 9:00:58 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit

Forwarding article to Charlie Sheen.


2 posted on 03/07/2011 9:03:45 AM PST by TexasPatriot1 (I am unique, Just like everybody else.)
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To: Eurotwit

Its all vary twue. Its the root of the G7 ...excepting Japan ... that rode together to the Crusades....


3 posted on 03/07/2011 9:05:18 AM PST by himno hero
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To: Eurotwit

Absolutely no doubt about it. The Greeks developed some great political and philosophical ideas, but Athens didn’t last long because they didn’t have a religion that would enable them to hold on to it.

Christopher Dawson has written several excellent books on this subject.

Put it another way. Christianity develops the idea of free will, which is dependent upon moral behavior, within a rational universe. Islam has zero idea of free will, and Allah is not rational. Confucianism was a reasonably good way of running things, which let people rise through the ranks by virtue of their scholarship, but it did not have Christianity’s ideas about free will and moral choice.


4 posted on 03/07/2011 9:05:34 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Eurotwit

Yes, God blesses the faithful with prosperity.

Luke 12:29-34 (Phi) “You must not set your heart on what you eat or drink, nor must you live in a state of anxiety. The whole heathen world is busy about getting food and drink, and your Father knows well enough that you need such things. No, set your heart on his kingdom, and your food and drink will come as a matter of course... Sell your possessions and give the money away to those in need. Get yourselves purses that never grow old, inexhaustible treasure in Heaven, where no thief can ever reach it, or moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, you may be certain that your heart will be there too!”


5 posted on 03/07/2011 9:07:41 AM PST by King_Corey (www.kingcorey.com)
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To: Eurotwit
“The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

Seems to be a lifetime ago that I leaned this in a freshman Western Civilization class in college. I seriously doubt any college would deliver that message today, but it is the fact none the less.

6 posted on 03/07/2011 9:09:06 AM PST by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: Eurotwit
Acknowledge that natural rights descend from God and prosper.

Depend upon men for your liberties and be enslaved. Obama.

7 posted on 03/07/2011 9:09:46 AM PST by skeeter
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To: Eurotwit

Francis Schaeffer was documenting this 50 years ago.


8 posted on 03/07/2011 9:10:35 AM PST by circlecity
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To: Eurotwit

Confucius say, “A pearl before swine is still a pearl.”


9 posted on 03/07/2011 9:11:51 AM PST by pgyanke (Republicans get in trouble when not living up to their principles. Democrats... when they do.)
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To: Eurotwit

“....the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful.”

.
Main target for liberals, communists and Islam.


10 posted on 03/07/2011 9:12:47 AM PST by 353FMG (Liberalism = Communism under the guise of compassion.)
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To: circlecity

You also of course had works like the seminal:

“The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” - Max Weber

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Protestant_Ethic_and_the_Spirit_of_Capitalism

published more than a hundred years ago.

It used to be on the reading list for any college graduate at least within the social sciences or economics..


11 posted on 03/07/2011 9:16:01 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit

Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner!


12 posted on 03/07/2011 9:17:01 AM PST by denydenydeny (Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak-Adams)
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To: Eurotwit

Forwarding this article to the Mad Muslim Terrorist pretending to be the POTUS desecrating Our White House as we type this message!


13 posted on 03/07/2011 9:17:24 AM PST by True Republican Patriot (May GOD Continue to BLESS Our Greatest President :George W. Bush!!)
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To: Eurotwit
This tends to reinforce some of the premises of the book I'm working on. Specifically, that the rise of the will to power as the animating force behind the twentieth centurys worst slaughter and atrocities is a direct consequence of the removal of Christian thought and influence form the public square - or, the 'death of God,' as Nietzsche put it.

As I mention in the essay that formed the inspiration for the book:

"But it took another philosopher to highlight and to put into play one of the most destructive ideas to emerge in modern times."

"Friedrich Nietzsche was also an atheist. But he saw God not as an invention, but as a casualty. He wrote in 1886: "The greatest event in recent times - that 'God is Dead,' that the belief in the Christian God is no longer tenable - is beginning to cast its first shadows upon Europe." The Christian God, he wrote, would no longer stand in the way of the development of the New Man who Nietzsche said would be ‘beyond good and evil’. Nietzsche knew that in Europe, the decline of religion as a guide to conscience and morality would leave a huge vacuum. Who or what would fill that vacuum? "

"Nietzsche thought that the most likely candidate would be what he called the 'Will to Power,' which he felt offered a better and more persuasive explanation of human behavior than either Marx or Freud. In place of religious belief, there would be secular ideology. The very concept of good and evil would be discarded as the product of weak and inferior minds."

"But above all, Nietzsche believed that the Will to Power would produce a new kind of messiah, uninhibited by religious sanctions, without moral restraint of any kind, and with an unappeasable appetite for controlling mankind."

A lot of what's happening today can only make sense if seen in that light.

14 posted on 03/07/2011 9:19:42 AM PST by Noumenon ("We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.")
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To: Quix

Thought you’d enjoy this.


15 posted on 03/07/2011 9:21:29 AM PST by oprahstheantichrist (The MSM is a demonic stronghold, PLEASE pray accordingly - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
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To: TexasPatriot1
Forwarding article to Charlie Sheen.

Forwarding article to Barack Obama.

16 posted on 03/07/2011 9:22:41 AM PST by mancini
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To: Eurotwit

“The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

Tell that to Schumer, Franken, Soros, Harvard, the Brookings Institution, et. al; and keep your head down.

Thus the clandestine hatred for George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin.

Johnny Suntrade

17 posted on 03/07/2011 9:23:12 AM PST by jnsun (The Left: the need to manipulate others because of nothing productive to offer.)
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To: Cicero

So you think it has some merits to say that we stand on the pillars of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome?

That the Christian idea about morals was wedded to the “western” logical thoughts of the Greeks to put it simply...

(I need to post here more. My English is deteriorating...)


18 posted on 03/07/2011 9:24:49 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: oprahstheantichrist

Thanks.

When I was there,

there was a classified doc that had been outted affirming that the most reliable, honest, trustworthy, effective employees were Christians etc.

PRAISE GOD.


19 posted on 03/07/2011 9:26:29 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Eurotwit

To be more specific, it’s Protestantism.. or God Himself that made us a success. The same cannot be said of predominantly Catholic countries.


20 posted on 03/07/2011 9:28:17 AM PST by wolfman
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To: Noumenon

Sounds like a very interesting book. If you remember, it would be great if you could ping me when it comes close to getting published.

Though my thoughts would be that the Faustian (”western”) will for power has also been a very positive force. It has made us cross the oceans, fly to the moon, seek the next frontier...

But, this will to power must surely be tempered by Christian ethics and belief not to run amok. Tempered by Christian feeling, this will to power is not necessarily a bad thing...

Thoughts?


21 posted on 03/07/2011 9:30:40 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit
Hope these Chinese intellectuals are reading our comments because in our Declaration of Independence, it is declared that there are certain “ unalienable Rights “ that " these truths to be self-evident " .. " that all men are created equal " .. " that they are endowed by their Creator " .. ( the GOD of Israel ) and that these " certain unalienable rights " are not granted by governments, but, they were " endowed " by GOD to all man kind.
The liberals, communist, atheist will try to eradicate Christianity at their own peril.
22 posted on 03/07/2011 9:32:04 AM PST by American Constitutionalist (The fool has said in his heart, " there is no GOD " ..)
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To: Eurotwit
But hardly an original insight. This is the same basic argument that Richard Tawney made in "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism" in 1926. And before Tawney, Max Weber's "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," published in 1904 and 1905, which argues that capitalism in northern Europe evolved when the Protestant (particularly Calvinist) ethic "influenced large numbers of people to engage in work in the secular world, developing their own enterprises and engaging in trade and the accumulation of wealth for investment," as opposed to conspicuous consumption. In other words, "the Protestant work ethic was a force behind an unplanned and uncoordinated mass action that influenced the development of capitalism."

The Chinese appear to be reinventing the wheel.

23 posted on 03/07/2011 9:32:15 AM PST by La Lydia
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To: mancini

“Forewarding article to Barack Obama”
You mean that guy that spent 20 years in “reverend” Wright’s The Church of GD America? That guy?


24 posted on 03/07/2011 9:33:06 AM PST by Cold Heart
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To: Noumenon
...the rise of the will to power as the animating force behind the twentieth centurys worst slaughter and atrocities is a direct consequence of the removal of Christian thought and influence form the public square - or, the 'death of God,' as Nietzsche put it.

Absolutely. You can see it all played out in small scale in the French Revolution's attack on Christianity. Reading about the French Revolution is like looking at one of those miniature dioramas of some Civil War battle, except in this case the diorama is of the Holocaust and the Gulag.

25 posted on 03/07/2011 9:33:06 AM PST by denydenydeny (Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak-Adams)
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To: Eurotwit

One must feel some concern for the health and safety of prominent Wenzhou business leader, Mr Hanping Zhang.


26 posted on 03/07/2011 9:34:47 AM PST by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: wolfman; Noumenon

I did bring up Max Weber in a later post, and surely Protestantism brought it whole to a different level with the emergence of the UK, Holland and later of course the United States.

And, funnily enough I do think that has something to do with the much maligned Faustian “will for power.

And, catholic countries are not faring too badly in a global sense. Italy and France are g-8 countries.

It life had been fair, you would have just bought catholic tankers for the U.S. Air Force ;-)


27 posted on 03/07/2011 9:35:31 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: wolfman
If the Catholics were to be honest and admit it, Catholicism and Islam has some history in common, for example, i.e. The Spanish Inquisition.
28 posted on 03/07/2011 9:36:23 AM PST by American Constitutionalist (The fool has said in his heart, " there is no GOD " ..)
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To: Quix

You and your classified documents. lol.

Anyhow enjoy your posts :D


29 posted on 03/07/2011 9:36:36 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit
One of the biggest mistakes the Russian commies made was trying to eradicate religion, especially Christanity. They would of had a far more compelling argument if they had embraced the New Testament whole heartedly and argued for communism based on Jesus’s teachings (yes I know, this would of been a distortion of biblical truth, but honestly it's an effective distortion that liberals use to fool the masses every day)
30 posted on 03/07/2011 9:38:22 AM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama = Carter 2.0 The Epic Fail Edition)
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To: Eurotwit

Hmmmmmm

Thanks for your kind reply.

I think.


31 posted on 03/07/2011 9:38:32 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Cicero
Nobody can ever accuse the Chinese of being stupid. They were inventing gunpowder, fireworks and great works of art at the same time western civilization was in the Dark Ages producing little more than crayon quality art, Viking raids and peasants with pitchforks and flails to fight them off.

The Dark Ages began with the fall of Rome in 476 a.d. and ended with the Christianizing of Europe and crusades.

The spread of Islam produced exactly the opposite effect and is probably evident nowhere more than Persia.

Confucianism, as you say, was a reasonably good way of running things, but was undermined by the Mandarin bureaucrats who did much the same thing to the clever inventive Chinese civilization starting in about the 13th century which our atheistic liberals are doing to western civilization today.

Without the moral underpinnings provided by Christianity, a meritocracy, however well-intentioned, is eventually distorted by those who gain control of an amoral legal system to set the rules.

32 posted on 03/07/2011 9:38:32 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: La Lydia

“The Chinese appear to be reinventing the wheel.”

Good on them. It seems like it needs reinventing from time to time.

In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

- George Orwell

:D


33 posted on 03/07/2011 9:39:06 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: Cold Heart
ou mean that guy that spent 20 years in “reverend” Wright’s The Church of GD America? That guy?

Yup, LOL. The guy posing as a president of a superpower.

34 posted on 03/07/2011 9:43:42 AM PST by mancini
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To: Eurotwit

Yes. Absolutely. Aristotle and Plato, and philosophical thinking in general, were pretty much abandoned in Greece, especially after the fall of Constantinople.

The one place where philosophy was regularly practiced was in the Christian West.

There was a golden age of philosophy in the Muslim world, but that was the work of people they conquered. And it didn’t last long. It was in the Christian monasteries and universities that philosophy was preserved and developed.

China had scholarship and philosophy, but without the basis in moral love that Christianity offers. Taoism is contradictory and can even be turned to evil. Confucianism was the main basis of their civilization, but it doesn’t make much allowance for free will among ordinary people.


35 posted on 03/07/2011 9:43:46 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Eurotwit
Perhaps these Chinese thought leaders have read Edmund Burke's 1775 "Speech on Conciliation," John Quincy Adams' "Jubilee" Address of 1839, Tocqueville's 1830 "Democracy in America," or the 1872 Frothingham "Rise of the Republic of the United States."

Each of these works came to a similar conclusion--even in those early years of the Republic.

One should note, however, that to find an American who, over the past several decades, read these important documents, would be rare.

In 1775, Burke advised his colleagues in the Parliament of the astounding economic success of the colonies and traced what he called their "spirit of liberty."

By Frothingham's 1872 history, America'as experiment in liberty, opportunity and prosperity was even more pronounced, and Frothingham discusses "the Chrisian idea of man" as having been essential to its development.

Sadly, Americans have been "dumbed down" by a monopoly education establishment whose controllers effectively censored the ideas of liberty from the nation's schools and public discourse.

That "hiding" of the founding ideas and of such writings from school children and the general public has contributed to an effective "erasing" of the national memory of the truly miraculous progress from tyranny to liberty which took place on the American continent, culminating in the 1776 Declaration and 1787's "People's" Constitution.

36 posted on 03/07/2011 9:43:46 AM PST by loveliberty2
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To: American Constitutionalist

The Spanish Inquisition was developed to weed out Islamic 5th-columnists, after a particularly valuable port was ceded to the Moors by a traitor.

It worked so well that the Moors were eventually kicked out of Spain. This was known as the “Reconquista”.

Meanwhile in Northern Europe: after losing the battle of Muhlberg the Protestants - unable to win on the battlefield - started spreading ever-more deranged lies about the Inquisition.

At one point the ‘Black Legend’ grew to such an immense and bloated lie that the Protestants were confidently ascribing more deaths to the Inquisition than the number of people who lived in Europe.

So we see that - if Protestants were to be honest and admit it, they share a lot of history with - for example: the Left Wing Media.


37 posted on 03/07/2011 9:46:14 AM PST by agere_contra (Whenever a Liberal admits to something: he is covering up something far worse)
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To: American Constitutionalist
Why try to troll for division and dissent?

We are ONE christian body.

:D

38 posted on 03/07/2011 9:47:32 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: American Constitutionalist
And Protestants never hanged or burned witches?

Eye, mote, beam etc.

39 posted on 03/07/2011 9:47:32 AM PST by muir_redwoods (Obama. Chauncey Gardiner without the homburg.)
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To: Noumenon
Weeeellll...

Nietzsche? Freud? Marx? All that bunch of stupids?

‘Will to Power,’ which he felt offered a better and more persuasive explanation of human behavior than either Marx or Freud. In place of religious belief, there would be secular ideology.

A New Messiah? Perhaps like Moamar Qaddafi?

40 posted on 03/07/2011 9:48:04 AM PST by Mayr Fortuna
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To: self

ping


41 posted on 03/07/2011 9:52:14 AM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Cicero
Good book on this subject:
The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West
42 posted on 03/07/2011 9:54:36 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: loveliberty2

I know.

Reading through pretty much all the enlightenment thinkers... Locke... later on Adam Smith...

They all emphasized the importance of “christian ethics” - in Adam Smith’s case in tempering the raw effects human greed and unbridled capitalism could have. i.e. Greed is not good. A little greed and a little christian love for your next man will go a long way :D

Perhaps not the most popular words here on freerepublic, but they are there nonetheless.

Cheers.


43 posted on 03/07/2011 9:54:40 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: Eurotwit

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”
2 Cor 3:17

When a person or society is self-governed by Christian principles, very little outside control (government) is necessary.


44 posted on 03/07/2011 9:56:36 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: Cicero

Very incisive post on your part.

I must recommend the book Fortunate Sons by Liel Leibovitz.

It is an amazing story of 120 Chinese children who came to the U.S. 150 years ago. They came here at the young age of 5 or 6 living with adopted American families and stayed for 15years before being called back to China.

They went to Yale and Harvard and interacted with the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain. They went back to become leaders in China.

But their Western education and technological ideas were no match against the ingrained Chinese culture and feng shui.

We often ask is the man or the times that determine history? Perhaps the better question is whether it is the culture or the religion?

I’ve yet to read a better book elucidating Kipling’s ballad of “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.”


45 posted on 03/07/2011 9:56:39 AM PST by A'elian' nation (Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. Jacques Barzun)
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To: Eurotwit
Thanks for the commentary, and I'll remember to ping you when the book is ready to go. When you said,

But, this will to power must surely be tempered by Christian ethics and belief not to run amok. Tempered by Christian feeling, this will to power is not necessarily a bad thing...

You are correct. As Solzhenitysn put it in his monumental speech at Harvard in June, 1978 (A World Split Apart), and far better than I could:

"And yet in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted on the ground that man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding one thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose, simply for the satisfaction of his whims.

"Subsequently, however, all such limitations were eroded everywhere in the West; a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice.

State systems were becoming ever more materialistic. The West has finally achieved the rights of man, and even to excess, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society has grown dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistic selfishness of the Western approach to the world has reached its peak and the world has found itself in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the celebrated technological achievements of progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the twentieth century’s moral poverty, which no one could have imagined even as late as the nineteenth century."

As a side note, we should recall that Solzhenitsyn was jeered and booed as he delivered this speech. Seems that his observation toucheda nerve or two. So yes, our desire for knowledge and all of our creativity can be seen as an expression of the will to power, but stripped of moral restraint or any kind of religious sanctions regarding right and wrong, the will to power quickly descends into savagery and monstrosity.

46 posted on 03/07/2011 9:58:01 AM PST by Noumenon ("We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.")
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To: Cicero

freedom and liberty with a moral foundation.


47 posted on 03/07/2011 9:58:18 AM PST by vanilla swirl (We are the Patrick Henry we have been waiting for!)
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To: wolfman

To be more specific, absent Catholicism, Protestantism would not exist.


48 posted on 03/07/2011 9:58:38 AM PST by Jacquerie (Christianity is the heart of our culture. To destroy America, destroy Christianity.)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

It’s an interesting thought. And, by the way, they never succeeded. Christianity lived on in Russia even under the depravities of Stalin.

Though if the the Communists had embraced Christianity they never could have done the atrocities they committed. Shooting, starving millions of people. Not very Christian.

As an economist my view on Jesus... He IS God. It’s silly to take him on anyone’s side in economic debates. I guess he was a non-materialist though.

So in that way opposed to both Marxists and avid capitalists.

Though as Jesus said, if you follow him and stop praying to the false god of materialism, you will be amply taken care of :D


49 posted on 03/07/2011 10:01:56 AM PST by Eurotwit
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To: Quix

It’s both. I like reading your posts in the same way I like watching the movie “Alien” or the old show X-Files :D

Interesting stuff, but as always the smoking man gets away :(


50 posted on 03/07/2011 10:03:24 AM PST by Eurotwit
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