Explaining Christianity in China : why a foreign religion has taken root in unfertile ground.

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Chinese Christians are growing rapidly, yet their exact number remains controversial. Christian growth is somewhat surprising given that China is inhospitable to Christianity. First, the state closely regulates religious activity, making it difficult for religious groups to recruit members. Second, Chinese religious history is dominated by traditional religions venerating ancestors, only to be replaced by state-sponsored atheism; it is unclear how Christianity would find cultural inroads here. This paper seeks to establish the probable range of Christians and their growing trajectory. Additionally, I identify the regions where Christianity is most popular and test some hypotheses about why these areas are more conducive to a Western monotheism. I conclude that huge labor emigration, along with lower commitment to ancestral worship, have created a cultural space for Christianity in China. In particular, Christianity grows among a network of women who have lost their ritual ties to the past and the patriarchal hierarchies.

Christianity. China.