Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Christianity in Ancient China

Although this post is religious in nature, I did not want to post it on my religion blog because the thoughts I will share are not doctrine of our church.  But reason, and evidence, combined with religious beliefs, persuade that my theory is correct.  And I must first state that I have read books written by authors who agree with me.

I believe that ancient China, at one time or another, had Christianity.  Chinese history dates back thousands of years, starting about 2800 B.C.  I don't think that written history mentions anything about Christianity during the reign of any of the emperors.

 Here is where I need to insert some religious beliefs.  In Christianity, we believe the account of Noah, who built an ark, and saved his family from a giant flood that covered the earth.  All other human life was killed by that flood.  According to the Bible, 8 souls were saved during this great flood.  There is some thought that one of Noah's sons Japheth. was the father of what would become the Chinese people.

In our religion, we believe that Jesus Christ, in his pre-mortal state, was the God of the Old Testament.  So when we speak about Christianity, we are referring also to the religion practiced in the Old Testament.  The Children of Israel were commanded to make sacrifices.  These blood sacrifices were symbolic of the sacrifice Jesus Christ was make to atone for our sins.  So this same Christianity would have been practiced by Noah and his family.  So that could have been the first introduction of Christianity to China.

In addition, at one point, about 600 B.C., the city of Jerusalem was taken over by the Babylonians, and some of the tribes of Israel were carried away captive.  The Bible speaks about them being taken captive in to the "north countries".  This makes me question whether some of these people could have ended up in China.

In our theology, we believe that we all existed as spirits before this earth was created.  We were all spirit children of God.  God the Father proposed a plan whereby we would come to this earth gain physical bodies.  We would also be tried and tested to see if we were worthy to return to live with Him after our death.  He knew that we would make mistakes, so His plan included a Savior that would atone for our sins so that we could repent of the wrong that we did.  In a great council in heaven, the plan was proposed, and one among us offered to be the Savior.  His name was Lucifer.  But he wanted to alter the plan slightly.  He suggested that we should not be given free agency, but that we should be forced to obey.  Then, when we all returned safely back to God's presence, Lucifer would get all of the glory for having accomplished this.  Another stepped forward and offered to be the Savior.  His pre-mortal name was Jehovah.  He wanted to follow God the Father's plan, which would allow us to have free agency to choose for ourselves.  He also wanted the glory to go to the Father.  God the Father chose Jehovah, whose name on earth would be Jesus.  Lucifer was angry, and started a war with God.  One-third of the spirits in heaven chose to follow Lucifer.  They were all cast out of heaven, and Lucifer became Satan, or the devil.  I'm kind of giving you the condensed version of this, but if you are interested in scriptures that explain this event, please let me know.  So Satan, was cast to this earth, but in his mind, the war isn't over.  He would like to ensure that NONE of us return to live with God again.  He and his followers try to tempt us to do what is wrong.

It's very interesting to me that even though China might have had some record of God, or of Christianity, it was probably destroyed during the Chinese cultural revolution.  The communist party line was something like "out with the old".  So even valuable art pieces were destroyed.  Some might say that is just collateral damage.  I tend to wonder if Satan had a hand in trying to destroy any evidence of religion in ancient China.

There are many scholars who believe that the written language of Chinese contains reference to the Bible.  Many other scholars disagree, but as I have studied the books that have been written on this subject, I still believe there is truth in this.  And what do we see happening after communist takeover?  We see that the government changed the writing system to a "simplified" writing system.  So even if there were traces of Christianity in the Chinese characters, they now are not discernable.  And I would bet that Satan had a hand in this elimination of the ancient characters as well.  Luckily, those complex characters have been kept alive in Hong Kong and Taiwan, although most mainland Chinese can't read them.

So these are some thoughts that have been swirling around in my head the past year and a half while I have been living in China.  I'm looking at this from a perspective influenced by my own religious beliefs.  I don't know if this will really make sense to non-LDS, but I wanted to write out my thoughts anyway.  What do you think?


Grannymar said...

I'm no theologian,but I thought that Christianity began following the birth of Jesus Christ and that it grew from a 1 st century Jewish following.

Max Coutinho said...

Hi D,

Well, as a non-Christian I do not fully agree with the notion that Christ was the pre-incarnated God of the Old Testament (to tell you the truth, I don't even believe in Jesus as a god, but as a Messenger...a Prophet - and in this, I might be more in line with what the Quran says of Christ). But I would agree with you that there might have been Christians in China. I really think you may be on to something there.

But how will we know for sure, if the Communist party burned everything during the cultural revolution?
If you ever find a confirmation to this (maybe in Japan or South Korea - they may also have Chinese texts) share with us, because now I am curious.

Good post, darling!


Delirious said...

Grannymar, I'm not sure what all Christian churches believe, but we believe that Jesus Christ is the God spoken of in the Old Testament. So the people in those times followed the commandments given, and looked forward to his birth. In the book of Isaiah it prophecies about His life. The people in those days made blood sacrifices in the temple to atone for their sins. We believe this was symbolic of the sacrifice Jesus would later make.
So yes, it was called Christianity after Christ came to the Earth, but we believe it was the same religion even back in Old Testament times.

Delirious said...

Max, if you visit a Chinese museum, you will see that there aren't many artifacts left. Most artifacts that remain are those that were taken to TAiwan by CHang Kai Shek. Some do remain, but the majority were destroyed. What will be interesting to see is what they find when they finish opening tombs that at present are being left shut. The government says that they want to wait until technology is good enough to accurately preserve the items that are inside. There are many, many untouched tombs still waiting to be explored.

Rummuser said...

My experience with the Chinese Christians and Muslims are different from yours. These two sects, at least those that I met in Hong Kong and Taiwan besides Singapore, have a strong influence of their own cultural backgrounds, just as you will find in India too. While the rites and rituals may be followed, they are at best superficial and they revert to their ancient traditions with ease. So Abrahamin ideas of sin, satan etc are of less importance to them than other aspects like ancestor worship.