Chinese Atheists Lured to U.S. Christian Schools

Some American Christians are capitalizing on the desire and ability of many wealthy Chinese families to send their children abroad to study. Bloomberg reports on the increasing numbers of Chinese students in religious schools in the U.S., many of whom are being converted while they are there:

As evangelical schools capitalize on the desire of affluent Chinese families for the prestige of an American education, many Chinese students are learning first-hand how the Bible Belt got its name.

While proselytizing is banned in China, Protestant — and, to a lesser extent, Catholic — high schools are doing their missionary work on this side of the Pacific Ocean. Through placement agents and religious networking, they’re recruiting growing numbers of students from China, most of them atheists, and encouraging them to convert, in the hope that some of them will spread the faith back home.

Plunged with little preparation into an intense religious environment, Chinese students often struggle to fit in. Some shed their skepticism and become Christians, delighting school officials and dismaying their families in China.

Eighty of Ben Lippen’s 108 international students come from China, up from hardly any five years ago, said Emery Nickerson, director of the boarding program. A “large minority” commit to Christianity, he said.

December 20, 2011 11:54 PM
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