No Children Permitted In Chinese Churches

One of the things that shocked me about the UK smoking ban of 1 July 2007 was that even churches were required to put up No Smoking signs, even though smoking in churches was something that simply didn’t happen.

So this report from China reminded me of No Smoking signs going up in churches:

Chinese Pastors Ordered to Post Signs on Churches Forbidding Entry to Minors

As part of its most recent clampdown on Christian churches, Chinese authorities have instructed priests and pastors to post signs on churches barring entry to minors.

The instruction is part of a new set of communist party-controlled regulations on religious activities that went into effect on February 1 and is aimed at preventing children and young people from getting religious instruction or taking an active part in Christian worship…

Chinese authorities stated that church attendance and religious instruction keep young persons from developing “a correct worldview and set of values.”

All done for the sake of the chiiiildren – another familiar tactic.

And wasn’t the UK smoking ban that exiled smokers to the outdoors in 2007 also all about getting them to develop “a correct worldview and set of values” (i.e. stop smoking)?

But who really has the correct set of values anyway? Given one set of communist party values and another set of Christian values, which would you prefer? I may not be a churchgoer, but I remain powerfully aware of my Christian upbringing, and I haven’t changed my values significantly throughout my life. And I’ve also been very interested in the whole question of where fundamental values are derived from. It seems to me that it is one of the most pressing questions of our age, at a time when Christian values are increasingly being replaced by new values, usually at the behest of a state which seems (like the Chinese communist party) to have begun to decide for itself what is right and wrong, what matters and what doesn’t matter  (and in the UK seems to have elevated Health to be the prime value, with all other moral considerations dispensed with).

Anyway I have far more faith in the ability of Christian churches to impart traditional values to children than I have in the Chinese state. If nothing else, Christian values have been around for 2000 years (along with equally venerable Buddhist teachings), while the Chinese state has been around for considerably less than a century.

And in addition I don’t believe that new values (e.g. health) can readily replace old ones. For I think that the moral task we have is not so much to invent new values, but to discover what our true values really are. To me it seems that we should be trying to understand what our inherent and immutable values really are, in the same way that we try to discover inherent and immutable laws of physics.

About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to No Children Permitted In Chinese Churches

  1. RdM says:

    To me it seems that we should be trying to understand what our inherent and immutable values really are, in the same way that we try to discover inherent and immutable laws of physics.

    I still think this is worth looking at, for exactly those reasons.

    • RdM says:

      Oops, instead of the detailed Q&A, perhaps it could have been

      But within that is a link to a nice talk.
      That really might be a read worth considering.

      More later maybe…

    • RdM says:

      I don’t mean to suggest that I’m any exemplar of that!

      While I went on a course at the suggestion of a friend in the 80’s, and it was the most marvelous experience, the best lesson in self that I ever had, afterward finding flows of goodness in interactions with people, strangers, even utterly calm with a bee alighting.

      I didn’t keep up any sort of meditation practice, I had lots of background emotional angst unresolved, I took up smoking tobacco again, I had plenty to go on with.

      “Upon Meditation… Make sure you really need this on top of the worries you’ve already got.” … JP Donleavy

      I went on another course though, some decades later, actually met S.N. Goenka, but had to leave early, a big upset, too much to handle at the time.

      Still, I value the experience, and fantasize about going on another one, but also realise it’s a really serious commitment, one needs to be quite serious, seriously inquiring, not taking intoxicants, it’s hard work, perhaps the most one has undertaken, yet made easy by committing to it and the basic moral precepts for the duration of the course.

      There’s still something there…

      Oh wow, maybe that’s all possibly a little bit embarrassing…
      It’s a tale only partly told, so no worries really!

      Still smoking and drinking…


  2. Peter Carter says:

    Yes, I remember that thing about No Smoking signs in churches.

    All my life I have been dimly aware that much of the population has no actual taste or preference for how things look (i.e. ‘aesthetics’). When such people are on a mission to save us and are granted power over the environment it ruins it for everyone else. The removal and dumping of the iron railings in WW2 is an example, I think; ironwork that survived that unnecessary vandalism leaps out at you when you see it – far finer than the modern replacements. Wind turbines, solar panels, ‘eco towns’ in the Green Belt, etc. etc.

  3. Clicky says:

  4. Joe Jackson says:

    David Hockney says that ‘No Smoking’ signs, horror-porn packaging, etc, are part of the ‘Uglification of Britain’.

    • nisakiman says:

      Yes, I’ve said on a number of occasions that the motivation behind most of this stupidity is to uglify anything to do with smoking. The destruction of anything aesthetically pleasing associated with the pastime of smoking is a priority in their eyes. I enjoyed immensely the thought of their displeasure when they saw the photos of the uber-cool glitterati smoking in the loos at the Met in NY last year.

      They really are a bunch of Philistines. They remind me of the Taleban and ISIS, destroying things of beauty because it offends their ideology. Brute force and ignorance, that’s all they know.

    • Lepercolonist says:

      I detest Modern Architecture. No external ornamentation to speak of. Big rectangular boxes that a child could design.

  5. beobrigitte says:

    Chinese authorities stated that church attendance and religious instruction keep young persons from developing “a correct worldview and set of values.”
    What exactly is meant by ‘a correct worldview and set of values’? Not only the Chinese authorities need to explain in great detail!

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    O/T On the Formula 1 Grid Girls Ban… I found a pretty nice rebuke of the Grid Girls Ban at Quillete. It is worth a read. One salient excerpt:

    “The puritans’ methods can be summarised as follows:

    If they don’t say what we say, punish them.
    If they don’t think what we think, punish them.
    If they don’t act as we act, punish them.”

    “Grid Girls and Puritans”

  7. Lepercolonist says:

    But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

  8. waltc says:

    I think you have to be an adult and a thoughtful one at that before you can figure out your values–which of those you’ve been taught that seem irrelevant or bizarre that you can, in good conscience, cast aside, though I’ll admit that even as a kid I could do at least some of that. On the other hand I do think children need moral , if not religious, lessons. Left completely to our own devices, I think we’re little brigands. On the other Other Hand, no matter how steeped in moral education, there’ll always be adults whose values–predatory or murderous– suck

    • Frank Davis says:

      children need moral , if not religious, lessons.

      As a child my moral education was my religious education. i.e. the 10 Commandments and all that.

      My question (and it’s one I’ve been asking all my life) is: if you can’t get your morality from your religion, where can you get it from?

      • Rose says:

        Interesting, the only religion I have ever been subjected to was in RE and school assembly but I have always had a very strong sense of right and wrong, honesty and fair-play.

        • nisakiman says:

          Likewise, Rose. Our parents have huge influence there, and they instill values by example, not by anything they tell you to do or not do, which advice you will adopt or ignore as you see fit. So if your parents have a set of moral values which they adhere to, chances are that so will you.

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