For this We Pay Unflagging Efforts

The establishment of PRC in 1949 represents the rise of contemporary China as a big political state in the international arena competing with western countries. After the economic crisis in 2008 we have even become a big economic state proposing new agenda for the world with other superpowers. At the same time, since there are cultural differences between east and west and conflicts of interest between countries, the ideology of “China threat” and even “containment of China” is built up. This makes different realms of China including political, commercial, academic, civic and so on find strategy to respond. Apart from political and economic strategy, it is understandable that some scholars also suggested to turning the way back to the traditional scriptures, religions and even Marxism as a reply at the cultural level. On one hand this is to resist the queries and challenges of the foreign “advanced” civilization. On the other hand this is a way of constructing one’s own cultural tradition. This confrontation calls back the reminiscence of the debate brought by the Jesuits some 400 years ago.

In face of this situation, I expect to learn from the 2000 years history of east west cultural exchange. We should not take the contemporary confrontation as a zero-sum game. Under the challenge of globalization, regardless of east and west, apart from enjoying the blessing of modernization we are also facing its curses including fetishism of commodity, one dimensional life, religious secularization, high risk society, etc. In face of this global cultural problem, academia of the east and west should make use of all cultural resources then and now to respond without partiality.

Sino-Christian theology started from the cultural heat of introducing western thoughts in the 1980s and 1990s. At that time Christian studies was something on the frontier and attracted quite a lot of Chinese scholars. Stepping in the 21st century, we are facing another situation of China on the rise. In addition, due to the culmination of the research experience of the last two decades western thoughts and even Christian studies no more appear fresh and foreign to Chinese scholars. There are more research options today compared to twenty years ago. Although the cultural and religious heat has passed, Sino-Christian theology/studies is still developing gradually because of its interdisciplinary nature and solid foundation in the humanities. Starting from philosophy, history and literature, it is now progressing to the realms of biblical studies, sociology of religion, public theology, and so on to produce interdisciplinary cooperation and result. But we are still working on some constant themes in the changing context such as the relationship between Christianity and world religions, Christian ethics and pluralistic world, the relationship between Christianity and science, society, politics, economics, etc. We still hold the same objective with the participating Chinese scholars that Sino-Christian theology should become a constituent of the Chinese academic tradition in parallel to Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, modern western thoughts, Marxism, and so on. For this we pay unflagging efforts.