Opinion

what climate change means for religion in china

Much intellectual discourse about Chinese philosophical and religious views of nature focuses on ideals such as harmony between humans and the natural world, or “forming one body with heaven and earth” (tian ren he yi). But when it comes to historical studies of Chinese environmental history, it’s hard to find instances of where this ideal…

How Confucianism could curb global warming

In today’s Christian Science Monitor, I published an op-ed piece that ties together some of the themes that I’ve been blogging about lately: Is democracy the best vehicle to ensure sustainable development? What is the Confucian view of the human person and its relationship to the environment? How is the Confucian renaissance in China changing…

what is freedom of religion for?

There is hardly a truth more sacred to the contemporary American imagination than that religion must be free from interference by the state and that the state must be free from interference from religion. Neither of these ideals holds true in China, and this fact is an enormous thorn in the side of Chinese-American relations,…

is democracy good for sustainability?

I’m teaching a course in religion and the environment this term, and my students are preparing to debate this very question: is democracy good for sustainability? By way of background, they have been reading Judith Shapiro’s book Mao’s War Against Nature, which forcefully details the way that Maoist ideology trumped scientific reason in charting China’s…

religious traditions and the future of east asia

Here’s three reasons why China’s traditional religions and cultures will play an increasingly important role in the East Asian political scene.  In mainland China, more people than ever are turning to religion. An interview with Arrianna Liu, who works in a Beijing-based NGO, reported that it’s not just the government’s attitudes that have changed. Ordinary…

china’s confucian revival

By James Miller In a recent article entitled Two Big China Stories You Missed This Year Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a respected professor of Chinese history at UC Irvine, highlighted the rehabilitation of Confucius as one of the most significant trends in contemporary China. As a historian, his main point was, well, historical. To outsiders it may seem perfectly…

i’m dreaming of a green christmas

By James Miller Christmas, as we all know, is the grand festival of the religion of consumerism. We pay homage to our saviour Santa Claus in the vast cathedral of the shopping mall. There we make a sizeable donation to the faltering economy and, just because it’s Christmas, cheerfully pay the GST to our non-existent…