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China and Its Economic Rise Through Christianity

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Denver Willis

Professor Blair Clark


12 September 2018

China and Its Economic Rise through Christianity

China’s economic strength is that of the power of diesel engine.  This used to be a diesel engine that barely ran due to being a poverty stricken country. How did China gain economic superiority? One can see the growth is there, but how did it come to be and what has influenced it? China is an extremely religious diverse country even though it is led by an atheistic party and it is Christianity that has been playing a role in the growth of the economic upsurge and most have no clue as to how. The article, “What Christianity Contributes To China’s Economic Rise” by Brian Grim creates a picture of the strength and growth in China’s economy and the contributions that Christianity has had.

Like a turbo to a motor, Christianity has spooled more economic growth within the country than one could have expected. Though China is primarily Buddhist, the ongoing growth of Christianity and the growth of China’s economy may be related (Grim), simply due to the increase in economic progress in areas where Christian congregation occurs in China. Using data from 2001 to 2011 the article examines the effects of economic growth through religious beliefs, and it shows Christian congregations account for 16.8 percent of all religious institutions, more than three times larger than the share of Christians in the general population (Grim). That is important to note since Christians only hold about 5 percent of the population throughout China.

An additional benefit that Christianity is playing a role in is the increase of China and its economic rise is that of the religious institutions. Religious institutions include direct spending for goods, services and salaries, as well as a broader “halo effect” (Grim). These would comprise of community networking, attracting outsiders to public spaces and centers of culture for lectures and weddings. The “halo effect” creates a demand for spending and therefor generates a local economic growth. Once congregations of Chinese Christians gather within the religious institutions, this only creates more economic growth due to Christian doctrine. This suggests that Christian ethics emphasize the overall development of human beings, not just economic development (Grim). This simply said, Christians are more likely to invest legally and rationally. This would be very noticeable in the growth of the economy since new infrastructures would need to spend money thus increasing the economy in every way.

Coming from a beat up old motor to a well-oiled strong economic diesel machine comes to light because of Christianity and its growth within China. Being the seventh largest Christian population (Grim) and only compromising of less than five percent of the population, it is hard for someone to grasp the belief that Christianity in China is a frontrunner for its economic growth. That being said, a study by Purdue University’s Fenggang Yang finds that China’s Christian population may become the world’s largest by 2030 (Grim), thus creating an even stronger continuous economic growth.  With the continuation of growth in Christianity that would mean that there will definitely be a growth in religious institutions, a need for more congregations, greater spending on goods and services and creating more economic influence in China.


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