Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Scott the Buddhist

micMAC was doing a presentation at a meeting of the Qingdao Business Leaders (QBL), which was kind of a big deal, so on a particular wednesday night in November I found myself in a small conference room full of important people, lots of suits, and lots of social small talk in one of the many five star hotels here in Qingdao.

The most interesting part of the night was probably meeting and talking with Scott. He is an assistant or intern for a law company. He must still be in in his twenties. We were exchanging pleaseantries, and he asked me about school and what I studied. Since I studied at a school called Florida Christian College and majored in Bible and Humanities, that naturally led into talking about Christianity. He had some very interesting things to say.

Apparently he was once a professing Christian. Some Christian English teachers spoke to him and many of his classmates in college about Christ, and most of them became Christians. But after about two years, he left the Church. Why? Because the Chinese Church is “very zealous” but they “don't think things through”. He is now a Buddhist because 1) it makes sense and more importantly 2) it works. Christianity just added more stress to his life, and the church only pressured him. Buddhism actually helps him. He has a high stress life and doing some buddhist relaxation techniques helps him. His conclusion on the Church? “There is no peace in that community.”

No peace. That is his real criticism I think. When pushed, he confessed to not really knowing anything about buddhism's propositional philosophy. It wasn't that Christianity was philosophically or intellectually un-meritable. It was that it did not improve his life pragmatically. It seems that in the increasingly urbanized China, Christianity will have to fight to make itself relevant in the high stress and fast paced world of materialism. Funny. Sounds kind of like another country I know...

~J.L. Smith

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