Academics from across China, Singapore, the UK and Australia today discussed how Christianity affects the values of both individuals and societies.
Some seventy people – including theologians, historians and students – met at the Bible Society-backed International Conference on the Role of Christianity in Modern Society, Bible and Values.
In its sixth year, the annual conference brings together church leaders and academics from across China, with government advisors and members of Bible Societies.
On today’s agenda were how Christianity promotes patriotism and how biblical values can be incorporated in societies through education.
Yang Guoqiang, an eminent Chinese historian, told the assembly, ‘Christianity has some values which are consistent with socialism. They both call for fairness and social justice.
‘Religion,’ he added, ‘can play an important role in the process of education. It educates people to lead a better life and to be a better human.’
His words were echoed by Prof Lee Sing Kong, a senior educationalist from Singapore. He spoke about how the Singapore education system had absorbed Christian values.
Christianity has some values which are consistent with socialism. They both call for fairness and social justice.
But he added that values had to be lived out by each generation in order to be passed onto the next. It was the responsibility of all adults to pass their faith on to their children, he said, rather than to depend solely on the education system.
‘How biblical values is passed on’ was vital he said, because of pressure from social media and the ‘breakdown’ of social structures.
‘How do we educate our children to have a happy life and feel contented in a world where greed becomes an obsession?’ he asked. He said that the answer had to be the ‘holistic development’ of children.
In response, Dr Paula Gooder, Theologian in Residence at the British & Foreign Bible Society, reflected that there had to be a link between values that were taught and how they were practiced.
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