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Peter Tze Ming NG: “Education of Love and Humanity: Dialectics at Work between the Global and..."

Education of Love and Humanity: Dialectics at Work

Between the Global and the Local in Chinese Context


Peter Tze Ming NG


Professor Peter NG (NG) served as Professor of Religious Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for 23 years. He has held many guest appointments in mainland China and established networks worldwide in the fields of education, Christian higher education and the history of Christianity in China. Apart from serving as a senior researcher at Lumina College, NG is chair professor of China Victory Theological Seminary of Hong Kong; adjunct professors of the Centre for the Study of Religion and Chinese Society, Shanghai University, China; and of the School of Inter-Cultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA.


Having studied the history of Christian higher education in Modern and Republican China, NG reviewed Tao Xingzhi (Tao) and Lin Chi-ping (Lin)’s implementation of Christian education into the Chinese contexts of their times. Tao emphasized education of love whereas Lin advocated the education for true humanity. Both their thoughts and works illustrated how Chinese Christians have understood and demonstrated their Christian minds in their contemporary Chinese contexts.


Christian religious education has been translated into education of love by Tao during the Republican era in the mid-20th century China and as education for true humanity by Lin in Taiwan in more recent years. Both attempted to integrate Christian Faith to education and life in the Chinese contexts. NG then compared their respective understanding of Christian education and discussed how they could be seen as cases for the faith learning integration in their contemporary Chinese contexts.


Though Tao was in the Mainland and Lin in Taiwan, they both graduated from Christian universities and committed themselves to integrating Christian faith into Chinese culture. They were dedicated to the realization of Christian education into the Chinese context. NG expounded further his discovery on their dialectics at work between the global and local reality and how the Christian faith has enlightened Tao and Lin to go beyond the traditional and modern theories of education, and to offer themselves in the mid-20th century and in the early 21st century China.


Despite their different interpretations of Christian education, many important elements are found common in them:


  1. “Global Perspective”- they both opened themselves to a global perspective on faith and culture. Tao learned from John Dewey and others the progressive theories of education and developed a new perspective of life and society in relation to education in China; whereas Lin learned from the changing worldviews by Western scientific rationalism and development of technological advancements in recent decades and discovered that modern human culture has become one which is void of God and results in the loss of humanity.

  2. “Dialectics at Work between the Global and the Local”- they both realized the need to consider the local contexts, such as socio-cultural and political contexts into which they were implementing their Christian faith. Tao lived in a time during which the Chinese intellectuals were committing themselves to save China from poverty and backwardness when being challenged by Western powers. Tao, on the other hand, committed himself to save China, not by military or political forces, but by the education of the mass. Whereas Lin was confronted by the rising social problems in Taiwan and committed himself to the promotion of whole-person education to supplement the contemporary understanding of life education there. Both of them attempted to move beyond Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism by adding new ingredients from the Christian faith, which actually was another dialectic at work between Christian faith and Chinese culture.

  3. “Create Culture in Local Contexts”- they both believed that Christian faith could help create a new culture for China. Tao advocated “education for all” through education reform movements, especially the People’s Education Movements. This was seen in the motto “Let the whole world be filled with Love” when he started the Xiaozhuang Teachers’ College, and magnified later in his saying “Xiaozhung is born of love, … if there is no love, no Xiaozhuang”. While affirming the Confucian belief that human nature was potentially good, Lin emphasized that it could be based on the Christian belief that men and women were created “in the image of God”, and hence becoming “a spirited, living person”.


What can Christian education contribute to the world today? As revealed from the study of Tao and Lin, Ng concluded that if their Christian mind of knowing and doing in the education of love and true humanity could be recognized and developed, if the whole world be filled with God’s Love, and if the Christian faith could help to bring humanity back by restoring human relationship with God, then no matter they were in the American, Asian or Chinese contexts, they had already demonstrated how Christian faith could help to move beyond Western and Chinese cultures and create new cultural elements in them. Hence, the works of Tao and Lin are still relevant and worthy of the attention of our Christian scholars and of those who are serious about the integration of Christian faith and World cultures today.


「愛的教育」和「人文教育」: 在中國處境中


一個全球與本土相互辨證的個案研究


吳梓明教授(吳)服務了香港中文大學宗教系(2004年起改稱為「文化及宗教研究系」) 達23年。他在中國及世界各地建立了廣闊的學術網絡,範疇包括教育學、中國基督教高等教育和中國基督教史研究等。 吳現任香港恩光書院研究中心資深研究員,同時也是香港中國得勝神學院的講座教授,與及上海大學文學院宗教與中國社會研究中心和美國福樂神學院文化研究學院的客座教授。


綜觀現代中國基督教高等教育史時,吳檢視了陶行知(陶)和林治平(林)在中國基督教教育實踐的不同理念 - 陶強調「愛的教育」而林倡導真正的「人文教育」。 他亦指出可以透過對他們的教育思想研究,重新發現中國基督徒是如何在當代的中國處境中理解和展示出華人基督徒的獨特思維的。


雖然陶是身處中國內地而林在台灣,他們都是畢業於中國教會大學(即南京金陵大學與台灣中原大學)、和願意委身於整合基督教信仰和中國的教育文化系統。 從陶和林在全球和本土的相互辯証中,吳發現基督教信仰亦曾啟迪及幫助華人信徒如何超越中國的傳統和西方的現代教育理論。


陶與林兩位均嘗試在當代的中國處境中整合基督教信仰和中國的教育系統。 基督教宗教教育在二十世紀中國被陶詮釋為「愛的教育」,近年在台灣則被林詮釋為真正的「人文教育」。 他們對基督教教育的詮釋和如何能夠結合中國的文化和社會處境等的理解,均可以作為今日整合信仰與學術的典範。


雖然陶和林對基督教教育有不同的詮釋, 他們皆有以下的共同重要元素:


  1. 全球性視野。 兩位學者均是對信仰和文化採取開放的全球化視野。陶學習杜威的教育理論而發展出一套關乎生活和社會而又創新的教育視野,林則從近代之理性科學和科技發展及世界觀的變化, 發現現代人類的文化已變成一個背棄神和失去人文本性的思維。

  2. 全球和本土的相互辯證。 兩位學者均是深切理解本土處境的需要,尤其是在實踐基督教信仰時更須關注的社會文化和政治處境。 陶身處的年代正值中國知識份子投身救國救民的大時代、亦是急須挽救中國社會的貧窮和落後的時刻。 陶的救國方法並不是透過武力和政治力量、而是透過教育國民- 推行平民的教育與愛的教育。 林在台灣則是面對鋭升的社會問題而須倡導全人教育去彌補當代的生命教育的不足。 兩位學者亦嘗試超越當代中國的儒家及新儒家思想,注入全球化基督教信仰的新元素,這就是基督教信仰和中國文化的相互辯證的結果。

  3. 在本土處境創新文化。 兩位學者均相信基督教信仰能幫助中國創造新文化。陶所倡議的是平民教育、主張「愛的教育」,又推行教育改革運動,以全國人民為對象的全民教育。 他的座右銘就是:「愛滿天下」; 他在開創曉莊師範學院時的教育宣言是:「沒有愛就沒有曉莊」。 林則是確認儒家思想的人性本善說,他更強調這亦是本於基督教的信仰:「人是照著神的形像造的」、是被創造成為一個有靈的活人。


基督教教育能對這個世界有什麼貢獻呢? 從陶和林的個案中可見:假如「愛的教育」和「人文教育」- 這些基督徒教育思維能夠被公眾認受和拓展的話、假如全世界都是充滿著愛的教育的話、又假如基督教信仰能幫助人類重拾他們的人性和恢復人與神的關係的話,無論他們在任何的國家處境中,他們最少亦能展示出基督教信仰是可以幫助信徒超越西方或中國的文化而創造出新的元素來。 對於當今認真關注基督教信仰和世界文化整合的基督徒學者而言,陶和林两位學者所作的嘗試仍然是十分適切和值得我們關注的。