Dominic Lawson’s review in the Sunday Times of Niall Ferguson’s new book, ‘Civilisation: The West and the Rest’, refers to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences twenty year study of western society in an attempt to account for its success. An official of the the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences 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.’
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”.
Tom O’Gorman, on the Iona Blog, comments:
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.
Protect the Pope comment: It is ironic, and a little tragic, that while the secular idealogues of the West are accelerating their campaign to marginalise and negate our Christian heritage and way of life an agency of the Chinese communist government, after a 20 year study, has recognised that Christianity is fundamental to western civilisation. The chinese social scientists comments also supports Pope Benedict’s determination to remind the West of its Christian identity and roots. It is truly farcical that that preamble to the original European Constitution, drafted by a former French president, made reference to the Classical and Enlightenment roots of European culture, but pointedly omitted any reference to Christianity. This self-destructive blindness was repeated with the distribution to Europe’s school children of a diary that included all other religious festivals but missed out all Christian feast days. From the Chinese point of view Europe, the USA, Canada, and Australia and in the process of destroying the source and foundation of their global success and advantage. They must be laughing at the dumb stupidity of Western secular intellectuals, journalists and politicians.
Thanks Louella for pointing this out to me