The Birth of Jesus, Conclusions: Part XVI

Essay by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 20 June 2013 3 Comments
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My question to you is about a column you wrote about two years ago describing your second visit to China. Did you actually witness everything you talked about or did someone else tell you these things? The reason I’m asking is because I read/saw an article on China last year (I can’t remember the source but I think it might have been Time Magazine to which I subscribe). The article showed this beautiful modern city but there were no folks in it. The writer said the high rises and buildings were only a façade and inside many of them it was an empty shell. Since I have already jumped to conclusions, I’ll be interested in your response.


Dear Judith,

Yes, indeed, I wrote about things I saw and about which I had an opportunity to ask after I had seen them. I doubt if your source for the idea that China is building massive cities that will be unoccupied was Time Magazine. That is far too reputable a news source to engage in that kind of fear mongering or irrational claim. China has 1.3 billion people and the new condominiums and apartments that we saw in about ten cities are occupied immediately after construction. There have been new planned cities built from scratch to house people in towns and villages that were flooded out of their homes when the Three Gorges Dam was built. These may have remained vacant for a few days after completion until the residents in the condemned towns and villages could be moved in, but that would be as close to what you describe as I can imagine. When dealing with a rival or enemy country, I think one must always be aware of the possibility of misrepresentation for propaganda purposes or even the paranoid imagination of the unbalanced among us. Thank you for your letter.

John Shelby Spong




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