Sunday, 27 March 2011

Taiping Rebellion: previous missions


This paper has been put together by the inspiration of our great leader Professor Dr Obreption, who is currently researching and checking out various innovations in Austin, TX. Through a very unreliable communication link, caused no doubt by the time change and the ‘whacky’ nature of this part of Texas, the support staff at headquarters have had to do some research extrapolation and research on our own. 

In a recent In Our Time, Lord Melvyn Bragg discussed the Taiping Rebellion.  (see the BBC website:  The Rebellion is said to have caused the deaths of 20 million people and was based on an encounter with some Baptists Missionaries from Tennessee.  The siren words on the BBC broadcast, which included Professor Rana Mitter, were acculturation and acclimatization, and these triggered an expectancy of some other sociological descriptors.  This programme was certainly not theological and those of our readers with theological nervous dispositions should not read further. 

The syncretic traditions of China and to some extent Japan are well noted.  Many Asian societies are quite happy to mix Buddhist philosophies with Shinto, Taoism and Confucius.  Accordingly, if a religious poll is carried out in some Asian societies, people would assume that that society is a 120% religious. 

The Taiping Rebellion can be researched through listening to the programme ( and reading the material recommended.  It goes to show what happens when people think they are related to ‘Jesus Christ’.  This is not some Dan Brown story.  This really DID happen. 

The Taiping state was based in Nanjing and there is now a museum there to commemorate the Rebellion:

As Chou En Lai said when talking about the French Revolution, it's too early to say what effect Taiping had on current Chinese philosophy and economic theory.  To some extent the same could be said of the influence of the dissenting Presbyterians and their thought processes on Thomas Jefferson and the US Constitutional theory. 

Meanwhile Obreption was in Austin checking out the tele-evangelist Monetisation and noted that a few faces were missing from the usual roster of Sunday morning worship and hermeneutics.  Obreption has an aversion to the BBC Radio 4 programme called Sunday which is usually referred to as Today Lite.  Other national BBC programmes in Wales, Scotland and Ulster are occasionally dipped into.  For some reason the BBC iPlayer was not available to overseas listeners, though a programme presented by Lynda Bryans of Radio Ulster regarding the philosopher Francis Hutcheson was available.  (

Knowing Obreptions views that Smith, Hume and Kant put the full stop on philosophy and economics, it was interesting to hear the roots of Francis Hutcheson of Saintfield via Glasgow, Smith, Hume, Jefferson and the mayhem that they all caused.  During Hutcheson's time in Glasgow, where he was professor, there were many turbulent times.  He also spent time in Dublin and is buried there.  His influence on Smith and the Enlightenment is significant and can be researched in any decent website - for example:

As the presenter said, the British Isles were responsible for some interesting thoughts.  Even Jeremy Bentham’s phrase “Greatest good for the greatest number” is said to have originated with Hutcheson, as was J.F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you” quote.

Obreption’s last intelligible words, while sipping a Lenten brunch special Bloody Mary and a couple of Tequila slammers were: get them to look up Utilitarianism, acculturation, syncretism and check out rebellions, marches; and something about the state of Nelson’s column which we think is still in Trafalgar Square in London.


  1. Thank you for this. It makes on appreciate how wonderful the BBC is for making all these programmes - can't think why those losers at the Telegraph and Spectator never stop moaning about it.

  2. I agree - I listened to the programme on Radio Ulster and it was very good. It is a shame that we don't have thinkers like that anymore - I mean the likes of these so called journalists who try and pass themselves off as intellectual .....

  3. I hope you're not suggesting that all tyrants are nutters, with some form of religious experience or have seen visions. You might scoff at our leader Gaddafi, our dear friend Dr Bashar and our Yemeni lifetime of service in many parts of the world while you reduce everything to tyranny.

  4. Talking about tyranny, next you'll be trying to claim that the Jesuits, the Franciscans and even Mother Theresa were involved in covering up and declaring war on the rest of the world. This is awful -