Less than 40 years after the death of Mao, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation, reports The Telegraph/Ucanews.
The 5,000-capacity Liushi church in China, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 66-metre crucifix that can be seen for kilometres around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a 'miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church.'
The $13 million building is also one of the most visible symbols of Communist China's breakneck conversion as it evolves into one of the largest Christian congregations on earth.
Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country, but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither Communism nor Capitalism seem to have supplied.
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Fewer than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
'By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,' said Fenggang Yang, Professor of Sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule. 'It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.'
China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life.
FULL STORY China set to be 'world's most Christian country' by 2030 (The Telegraph/Ucanews)