Center for the History of Global Development

Religion and Social Development in China

At the center, Dr. Liu will develop a project on “Religion and Social Development in China.” With a global perspective and experiences in different religious traditions, he wants to re-explore a point of Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the designer of China’s Reform and Opening Up since the 1980s – the material and spiritual civilizations should both be developed. While China’s fast economic growth is amazing to the world, a “spiritual crisis” was caught by religious scholars. And religion does not just add a cultural dimension; its people and organizations have participated in the real process of development, with philanthropy as a key approach. Especially during the earthquake reliefs of 2008 and 2010, religion won a high profile and its distinctiveness was also discovered. Currently, when the government is encouraging the development of NGOs through legal and policy ways, religious organizations definitely will also benefit from it. Service as a key term will be emphasized in this program. 

Dr. Liu has done some preliminary work on “prosperity gospel” of Pentecostal-Charismatic churches, with both theoretical survey and field work. Now he is supervising two MA theses on business associations and political economy in Turkey. In the coming couple of years, he is planning to organize another seminar on religion and philanthropy. His personal aim is to develop a monograph on religion and social development in China, together with series of articles and reviews.  

Researcher: Liu Yi