The article points out the “crisis of faith” in China, the fact that the Chinese society does not have a shared belief system. The society needs “social renewal” which is a common theme among urban churches in China. Liu Peng, a researcher in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and founder of a Beijing-based think tank on religious policy, writes that “Faith is necessary to offer a fundamental reason for its existence and development and to motivate its citizens to work together for greater achievements.”
09/09/2014 China (ChinaSource)-The notion of social renewal is a common theme among urban church leaders as they consider what it means for the church to take its place on the stage of society. The need for social renewal is linked to the recognition that there is currently no shared belief system among China’s people.
In an article entitled “The Achilles’ Heel of China’s Rise: Belief,” Liu Peng, a researcher in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and founder of a Beijing-based think tank on religious policy, writes that China’s current “crisis of faith” is the result of more than three decades of rapid economic development divorced from any underlying ideology. Absent a common belief system, Deng Xiaoping’s dictum, “To get rich is glorious,” remains the guiding principle in society. Public trust is at an all-time low, scandals are uncovered at increasingly higher levels within the government (leaving the public to speculate on what hasn’t yet been uncovered) and corruption and fraud are rampant across society.
In Liu’s words, “The reason why Chinese society has seen an abundance of outrageous and ridiculous phenomena, with little corresponding uprightness is not because we are short of money. Rather, it is because we have lost our faith….While the core of the value and belief systems that buoyed the Chinese spirit in the past has been destroyed, we have not yet made the innovations necessary to develop and maintain new core value and belief systems for contemporary Chinese.”1
Liu is not necessarily referring to religious faith. Faith, for Liu, is simply a set of beliefs one internalizes, which provides meaning and motivation for life. In the case of a nation, “Faith is necessary to offer a fundamental reason for its existence and development and to motivate its citizens to work together for greater achievements.”2 This faith is comprised of the common goals of its citizens. The faith of the individual and of the nation are thus connected.
Liu advocates that the Party acknowledge what most people already know to be true, namely, that the Party’s days of telling people what to believe are over.