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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 07:29AM

"DAVIS, Calif. — When Ian Johnson first went to China as a student three decades ago, he pronounced religion there “dead.”

But Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist now based in Berlin and Beijing, has witnessed a transformation, one he documents in “The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao,” published in April.

China is experiencing “one of the great religious revivals of our time,” Johnson writes. “Across China, hundreds of temples, mosques and churches open each year, attracting millions of new worshippers. … Faith and values are returning to the center of a national discussion over how to organize Chinese life.

“This is not,” he continues, “the China we used to know.”"

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865680185/China-once-officially-atheist-now-booming-with-religion.html

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 09:26AM

a) "Faith and values are returning..." Atheists have beliefs (though they tend to get very squirmy if anyone calls that faith) and values. So those things are not "returning".

b) "Hundreds of temples, mosques, and churches..." is still a drop in the bucket. That's partly, perhaps totally, a rebound effect. I don't know at what level that will stabilize, but I doubt it will be all that high - 15% or so would be my guess. Of course even that would be almost 200 million people.

Mormons definitely ought not to be getting their hopes up. They will be a microscopic minority on a small minority. Methinks this is mostly Ian Johnson trying to sell books to frightened American believers who are looking for any shred of hope that *their* religious traditions are not on the decline.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 10:32AM

So tell us some Atheist beliefs.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 03:30PM

That's easy enough. I believe in a rational universe, which in the original meaning of the word rational meant a universe governed by mathematical laws that can be discovered and understood by humans. Capricious actions of gods do not control the universe.

That is the founding premise of secular humanism, a gift from the Greeks roughly 2,500 years ago. There may in fact be aspects of the universe that are beyond human understanding, even in theory. I have no way of proving that one way or the other, but my belief is that all of the universe is governed by laws that humans can and will eventually understand, if we don't do ourselves in first.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 03:50PM

OK, let's clear this up:

Yes, atheists (can) have beliefs. But those are the beliefs (if any) of the particular atheist, not beliefs IN atheism.

BoJ meant that atheist can and do have beliefs, which was an accurate response to the OP.

Dave thought he meant those beliefs are part of atheism. They're not.

Are we all on the same page now? :)

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 04:03PM

Sir, yes sir! :) [and spot on clarification. That was exactly what I was going for]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2017 04:12PM by Brother Of Jerry.

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Posted by: Bang ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 06:24PM

I would have no issue with that assessment if he had not made the "squirmy" crack. It is a subjected assessment of what others are doing, it is, at best, a belief, but not a verified fact.

From what I can see, theists tend get squirmy just by the existence of atheists.

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Posted by: Bang ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 11:31AM

Brother Of Jerry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> a) "Faith and values are returning..." Atheists
> have beliefs (though they tend to get very squirmy
> if anyone calls that faith) and values. So those
> things are not "returning".
>

I am an atheist and I do have beliefs, but I do not have faith in my beliefs. That is why I question, then change my beliefs based on evidence.


I am an atheist that knows there is a difference between a belief and faith.

I am an atheist that does not squirm when someone mislabels my beliefs as faith. Instead, I object to the mislabeling of my beliefs as faith.

I am an atheist that wonders why so many have to claim that because I believe something it has to mean I have faith.

I am an atheist that wonders why the phrase "though they tend to get very squirmy if anyone calls that faith" was included in the post when it appears to add nothing but an invalid dig at atheists.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 03:51PM

I said that atheists tend to get all squirmy about the word faith. I see this as basic insecurity on their part. They are terrified of the word faith, because that might lead to charges that atheism is just another religion. Atheists have beliefs. However, atheism is not a religion, unless you are willing to distort the meaning of the word "religion". Of course, lots of people are willing to do that because it is an easy way to "win" an argument. I put win in quotes because I was distorting the meaning of the word win.

Belief and faith are synonyms. Faith is generally used to refer to religious beliefs, but it doesn't have to be. Telling a coworker you believe in them, and telling them you have faith in them, is saying the same thing. You think they can accomplish the task under discussion. You might be wrong.

We all have beliefs. Dogs and frogs have beliefs. I'm not sure about moths and bacteria. We all think our beliefs are based on evidence. Moths probably believe that flying into a candle flame in a dark room makes sense in their worldview. Their worldview is unfortunately out of synch with the actual world in that particular instance.

Sorry for the thread hijack, he says sheepishly... :-/

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Posted by: Bang ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 06:00PM

I see the use of the term "squirmy" as an attempt as dismissing a legitimate point via ridicule.

Belief and faith are not synonymous.

http://www.ethicsdefined.org/opinion/faith-vs-belief/
https://newcreeations.org/the-difference-between-faith-and-belief/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rea-nolan-martin/faith-and-belief_b_4166117.html

Even a religious page disagrees with you.


Then according to Websters, though there is overlap, you can hardly claim them as synonymous. The way atheist would use the word belief "conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence belief in the validity of scientific statements" just is not in the definition of "faith"

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belief

Yes, we all have beliefs, we do not all have "faith"

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Posted by: Bang ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 06:10PM

To clarify my point, faith can be used as a synonym for belief, but the two words are not completely synonymous.

If belief is used to mean "conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence belief in the validity of scientific statements" It would be an error to say that this usage would be synonymous with faith.

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Posted by: Shummy ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 09:51AM

The new god they now worship is the Almighty Dollar.

Bad news is America owes them zillions in unpaid tithing.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 10:43AM

Look at it this way Shummy: There's money to be made in that good old fashioned religion.

So it has been, and so it is. It also gives people something to believe in and hope for, as in more than this life has to give by looking beyond the physical realm to the metaphysical.

Marx called it the "Opiate of the masses," for a reason.

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Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 10:12AM

This strikes me as a generalized trend. It was recently announced that, in the UK, officially a Christian Anglican country, less than 50% of people now believe in religion.

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Posted by: Darren Steers ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 10:19AM

When tracting on my mission in the UK, at least 95% claimed to be CofE or Catholic. :o)

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 11:12AM

Iran is booming with religion.

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Posted by: Shummy ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 11:16AM

Well I'd be willing to bet that the current generation couldn't pick Karl Marx out of a lineup.

Their parents would just as soon forget chairman Mao and his ridiculous little red book.

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Posted by: Babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 11:45AM

Hopefully they're leery of authoritarian religions. Too much like the old days. I thought it was funny when Russia was complaining that TSCC is too authoritarian.

Religion isn't bad per se. We all need belief systems. Yes, they all hit wide of the mark. That doesn't mean anything goes. If you don't distinguish shit from shineola, who knows what will end up in the village well?

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 12:04PM

That's right Babylon. Question everything. But not like a man who stands for nothing falls for everything either.

Core integrity comes with a value system in something.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 03:09PM

My (imperfect and limited) understanding is that China has "opened up" (compared to the 1970s or so) to religion by, in effect, essentially co-opting religion.

My understanding is that there are five Chinese-approved religions, and that these five (and ONLY these five) are, effectively, "allowed":

1) Buddhist Association of China
2) Chinese Taoist Association
3) Islamic Association of China
4) Three-Self Patriotic Movement [Protestant]
5) Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association

Each of these is basically an adjunct arm of the Chinese government (with, evidently, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which is Protestant, being especially heavily controlled by central Chinese government authority).

The notion (which I am sure the DESERET NEWS is trying to advance to its readers) that Mormonism could possibly enter Chinese life through the Three-Self Patriotic Movement [Protestant] is not likely. ;)

Noticeably absent from the approved list are the Chinese Jews (who have existed continuously in China since the days of the Silk Road, about 1,000 C.E.), who are today most widely known as the Kai Feng Jews---an enduring and long-historic community which has been coping with a new government crackdown since last year. The problem with this religious "boom" in China is that, even if the Kai Feng Jews were to be suddenly "approved" by the central Chinese government, it would be for the purpose of more effectively imposing central government authority over them, this time by means of an approved government "Association," which would, intentionally, negate any apparent "improvement."

I have no doubt that it is far easier, and MUCH safer (by an enormous measure), to be "religious" today in China than it was during the nightmare times of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and this is very good for those Chinese who are religious, but this "boom" is, in truth, being VERY carefully controlled by the central government in Beijing. (Lipstick and farm animals come to mind here.)

P.S. There is a marvelous photo, taken in Israel, of Chinese-Jewish kids who recently arrived, and are now living, in Israel at twitter.com/shaveiisrael (Shavei Israel is an organization devoted to locating "lost and dispersed" communities of Jews worldwide, wherever they may be on the planet, and bringing "home" to Israel those who choose to "return.")



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2017 03:13PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: Shummy ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 03:16PM

I've been reading an inside JFK book that talks about how the Pope's alarm over the communist takeover of China gave impetus to JFK's ill-advised struggle to hold the line in South Vietnam.

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Posted by: Happy_Heretic ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 03:42PM

Religion in China (CFPS 2014)

Chinese folk religion/unaffiliated (73.56%)
Buddhism (15.87%)
Other religious organisations, including folk sects and the Taoist Church (7.6%)
Christianity (2.53%)
Islam (0.45%)


Yup... real Abrahamic religious boom there...

HH =)

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 04:01PM

Happy_Heretic Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Religion in China (CFPS 2014)
>
> Chinese folk religion/unaffiliated (73.56%)
> Buddhism (15.87%)
> Other religious organisations, including folk
> sects and the Taoist Church (7.6%)
> Christianity (2.53%)
> Islam (0.45%)
>
>
> Yup... real Abrahamic religious boom there...


:D :D :D

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 04:25PM

Did you know that Shanghai accepted Jewish refugees throughout the Holocaust?

An entire section of Shanghai was inhabited by a diverse Jewish community.

In Rabbi Tokayer's words (Chief Rabbi to the Far East for nearly two decades, he writes:)

"From 1938 to 1943, there were more than twenty-five thousand Jews living in Shanghai, twenty thousand of whom were Jewish refugees, with ten thousand Jews arriving within a six-month period at the height of Jews escaping from Europe. More than five thousand were Russian Jew, Baghdadi Jews and German/Austrian/Polish Jews who had been residents of Shanghai before the war and, therefore, were not considered refugees."

In his preface to "Pepper, Silk & Ivory" he writes, "Every part of the Far East has a relationship with Jews. The Eastern world did not have a history of anti-Semitism or persecution; it was blessed with the concepts of tolerance and cultural pluralism."

From, "Pepper, Silk & Ivory," pub. 2014, Jerusalem, Israel

He wrote another book about Jews in Japan during the Holocaust. They were allowed to immigrate to Fugu, where at its peak housed 60,000 Jews to save them from the Nazis. It was a little known fact of Jewish history prior to Rabbi Tokayer being named Chief Rabbi to the Far East. Once he learned of the history of both the Japanese and Chinese taking in refugees, he has been writing and lecturing about it since.

There have been ancient Mongolian Jews living for centuries in China. Also a little known fact that Rabbi Tokayer uncovered.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2017 04:31PM by Amyjo.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 05:24PM

Amyjo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Did you know that Shanghai accepted Jewish
> refugees throughout the Holocaust?
>
> An entire section of Shanghai was inhabited by a
> diverse Jewish community.
>
> In Rabbi Tokayer's words (Chief Rabbi to the Far
> East for nearly two decades, he writes:)
>
> "From 1938 to 1943, there were more than
> twenty-five thousand Jews living in Shanghai,
> twenty thousand of whom were Jewish refugees, with
> ten thousand Jews arriving within a six-month
> period at the height of Jews escaping from Europe.
> More than five thousand were Russian Jew, Baghdadi
> Jews and German/Austrian/Polish Jews who had been
> residents of Shanghai before the war and,
> therefore, were not considered refugees."
>
> In his preface to "Pepper, Silk & Ivory" he
> writes, "Every part of the Far East has a
> relationship with Jews. The Eastern world did not
> have a history of anti-Semitism or persecution; it
> was blessed with the concepts of tolerance and
> cultural pluralism."
>
> From, "Pepper, Silk & Ivory," pub. 2014,
> Jerusalem, Israel
>
> He wrote another book about Jews in Japan during
> the Holocaust. They were allowed to immigrate to
> Fugu, where at its peak housed 60,000 Jews to save
> them from the Nazis. It was a little known fact of
> Jewish history prior to Rabbi Tokayer being named
> Chief Rabbi to the Far East. Once he learned of
> the history of both the Japanese and Chinese
> taking in refugees, he has been writing and
> lecturing about it since.
>
> There have been ancient Mongolian Jews living for
> centuries in China. Also a little known fact that
> Rabbi Tokayer uncovered.

The Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII: I think the first time I heard about European Jews, who were fleeing the Nazis and were granted refuge in Shanghai, was in my conversion-to-Judaism class, but Rabbi Vorspan (my history teacher) just mentioned it in passing, and I never did any follow up.

I had NO knowledge of Jews in Japan during this same period until I read this post! SIXTY THOUSAND of them!! This is jaw-dropping amazing to me!!!

I also had no knowledge of Mongolian Jews at all!!! I am not surprised (the Silk Road, after all, and the propensities of ancient and medieval Jews to travel and trade so incredibly widely, especially across Eurasia), but until I read this, I had not read anything at all about Jews in Mongolia (and I actually do have a fair number of books and videos on Mongolia).

Thank you so much for this incredibly informative post, Amyjo!

It is very much appreciated!

:)

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 06:12PM

He gave a talk at one of the annual rabbi luncheons our synagogue hosts a couple of years back.

You might be able to buy his books online. "The Fugu Plan" is the one about the Japanese helping to rehome some expatriated Jews, or rather refugees, from Europe.

He told an interesting story about Japan's involvement up to a point in WWII. It was allied with Hitler up until a meeting was called 'The Fugu Plan' to discuss whether the Japanese would take in Jewish refugees.

In the book he documents what happened. He mentioned the Japanese were sitting around a conference table discussing their options, when they asked their Jewish guest for his opinion on what was devolving. Up to then they were not aware of Hitler's "Final Solution" or that it would have included their race of people, or for that matter the Jews.

He told them how Hitler planned to save only the Aryan race from extinction, and create a world of only fair Anglo-Saxon Caucasians. A pall settled around the room as the gravity of what he was telling them sunk in. They had another hushed discussion amongst themselves, and before the meeting was over had announced the European Jews would be welcome in Kobe, Japan.

Chiune Siguhara, the Japanese diplomat to Europe, who lost his post and career from helping to save thousands of Jews flee Nazi war torn Europe was not even aware of the Fugu Plan as it was unfolding. He told Rabbi Tokayer years later had he known about it would have made his life that much easier. As he felt "the sole burden of responsibility for issuing the visas." He was later named one of the "Righteous Among the Nations," by Israel. You've likely heard of him. There's a monument to his memory in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles.

Tokayer is retired now and up in years. I just checked the dust jacket of one of his books, and it says he was the first and Chief Rabbi of the Far East from 1968 until 1976. He's held some other top posts, that being one of several.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 10:22PM

Tevai,

Here's a link to a book review on Marvin Tokayer's book, "Pepper, Silk and Ivory," with a summary description here of the chapter that discusses Jewish settlements in China going back literally centuries:

"Some of Rabbi Tokayer’s stories go back many centuries. In discussing the story of the Jews of Kaifeng, China, he tells the story of a Jesuit Missionary, Father Matteo Ricci, who arrived in Kaifeng in 1605, not knowing that a colony of Jews had settled centuries previously in Kaifeng, with written records dating back to the twelfth century. One Chinese man asked him if he had come to teach about the “One God.” Father Ricci immediately assumed that the man was a descendant of Christians who had made their way to China in the distant past and then disappeared, perhaps by assimilation. Meanwhile his questioner, Ai Ten, having never heard of Christianity, assumed that Fr. Ricci was a fellow Jew. When he saw a painting of the Last Supper, he mistook it for one depicting Jacob and his 12 sons. As the story went, Father Ricci then showed Ai the figurines of John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus, asking him to kneel with him in prayer. At that point, Ai realized the priest was not a Jew because Jews do not kneel in front of statues. Father Ricci caught on to Ai’s identity when Ai recognized the Hebrew words in one of his Bibles."

http://www.sdjewishworld.com/2014/10/25/rabbi-tokayer-chronicles-many-jews-asia/

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Posted by: incognitotoday ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 06:08PM

Hey, I don't know where this new China religion rumor started. Have you been or lived in China? Spent three years there in Suzhou. Knew folks very well. There is no religious revival. That's nuts. Yeah, the people are wonderful. Food is to die for. They have mobile execution vans for hell sakes. It's even on TV. Step out of line the man puts you away. Even the Budhist temple is empty except for the pail to donate.

Never saw ANY evidence of religion. Never once. Fake news...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2017 06:13PM by incognitotoday.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 06:13PM

It isn't fake news.

The article and publication is written by a Pulitzer prize winning American journalist based in Berlin and Beijing.

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Posted by: incognitotoday ( )
Date: May 18, 2017 06:16PM

There is an agenda. It is wholly untrue. They close churches unless the party line is preached. I stand by fake news.

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