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Religion and the State in Russia and China


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Table of Contents

Introduction: From Forced Secularization to Desecularization; 1. The Theological Roots of Militant Atheism; 2. Evicting God: Forced Secularization in the Soviet Union; 3. Faith in Defiance: The Persistence of Religion under Scientific Atheism; 4. Russia's Religious Renaissance; 5. China's Third Opium War: The CCP's Struggle With Religion; 6. Keeping the Faith: The Persistence of Religious Life in Communist China; 7. From Religious Anesthesia to Jesus Fever; Conclusion: Man, The State, and God.

About the Author

Christopher Marsh is Professor of Political Science and Director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. The author of several books, including Unparalleled Reforms: China's Rise, Russia's Fall, and the Interdependence of Transition, he also serves as editor of the Journal of Church & State. Dr. Marsh speaks Russian and Chinese and has conducted field research across Eurasia.


Lucidly and engagingly written, Christopher Marsh's book is a landmark contribution to the growing literature on secularization and desecularization in the modern world. Previous studies have typically focused on a single country or religious movement, while there has been precious little comparative, cross-national and cross-civilizational research. Yet, without comparative research, it is impossible to theorize desecularization and detect its broad, cross-national meaning, patterns, causes, and consequences. Dr. Marsh's book fills in this gap. It detects and theorizes the patterns of religions' suppression, resilience and resurgence by comparatively exploring the cases of Russia and China. These are, without an exaggeration, the two most important and massive cases of forced secularization and subsequent religious resurgence in the 20th - early 21st century. The book marshals impressive empirical evidence, ranging from documentary sources to representative national surveys. An outstanding expert on Russia as well as China, Christopher Marsh aptly utilizes his thorough knowledge of the two cases and his fluency in both languages to present to his readers a convincing, empirically grounded yet theoretically consequential account of the stunning resilience of faith under the ruthlessly oppressive atheist regimes, and of its ongoing spectacular revival. -Peter Berger, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Sociology and Theology. Director, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, Boston University.
This is a masterful work, by a scholar with the rare ability to handle sources in both Russian and Chinese, that sheds much light on theoretical debates surrounding religion and modernity, secularization, and desecularization. But it is much more than that; It is also an inspiring story of human resilience in the face of oppression. Peter L. Berger, University Professor Emeritus, Boston University

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