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Messianism and Politics in Contemporary ChinaThe Church of Almighty God

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The present paper discusses the structure of the Church of Almighty God, which enables its leader to control the church from a distance, and reconsiders the relationship between politics and religion. Although the church has a Christian identity, its adoption of a rigidly hierarchical structure has its roots in Maoist political culture and in a Chinese messianic tradition as well. The encounter of these traditions and cultures in the context of contemporary China shows us how new religious groups absorb different symbolic resources to nurture their own organization, and to what extent Christianity is sinicized. Through this case study, we see how an old tradition can remain alive today, as well as the ease with which discourses and practices may be shared between social and political organizations. Not only do religious groups draw inspiration from the government when creating their own administrative structures, government measures also influence religious groups’ practices. 摘要 本文討論全能神教會的組織以及其領導者對教會進行遠距離控制的機制,并重新審視了政治與宗教的關係。雖然全能神教會有著基督教的背景,但其高度等級化的組織結構更多地來自於毛主義的政治文化與中國救世信仰傳統。這些文化與傳統在當代中國的背景下的交匯為我們展現了一個新宗教團體如何吸收不同的象征資源來充實自己的組織結構,以及基督教在中國本地化的程度。通過這個個案研究,我們可以看到一個古老的傳統如何在當代復興,以及社會與政治組織之間在話語敘述與策略實踐上的互相借用的普遍性。政府可以從宗教團體中得到啟發來制定自己的政策,宗教團體也可以借鑒政府的策略來開展自己的活動。

Affiliations: 1: cnrs, Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités


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