(I’m a catholic. No, I don’t believe in god, I’m a cat-holic, nyahahaha!)
I know that the United States is a religious country. In god they trust. But being confronted by a Christian Taiwanese immigrant asking if you are interested in hearing from Jesus was not something to be expected on the very first day after arriving here.
I did meet a few Christian people back in China. I knew a girl who is Catholic. When I was in high school, a neon Christian cross presumably belonging to a Protestant church can be seen from my dorm building. (I also knew an American teacher who is a Mormon, but that’s not Christianity anymore, right?)
Generally, in China, those Catholic people who try to sell me their belief piss me off. And those politics, those freedom of religion and human right thing involved there, pissed me off even more. There is no God and I don’t even care about what you are doing!
But this time, they did made me interested in what they are doing. Yes, that’s how you sell your belief! Be friendly and helpful and avoid talking about anything explicitly religious at first, instead of going straight to the (pointless) point.
So I paid several visits to their church. It is just a home church of Chinese Protestants, mostly students or alumni of USC. They does not seem to belong to any denomination, but I think they are affiliated with other such groups.
We ate food, read the Bible and sang hymns. That’s fine for me, does not sound so religious. But some new students has gone as far as getting baptized.
Do I believe in God, or in Jesus? Definitely not. I might not be bold enough to self identify as an atheist, but at least I’m an agnostic. I’d say I’m interested in the religion itself rather than believing it.
I do think, though, those people in the church are much better than an average Chinese person I may meet. Do they become good people because of their belief? It would be hard to give a scientific answer.