On Sun, 7 May 2017 21:57:40 -0000 (UTC), Torbjorn Lindgren
Post by Torbjorn Lindgren
An argument can be made that China is at the top of the "atheism
percentage" list, but other think the Chinese Communist party
qualifies as religion and then they're pretty far down on the list
and/or that their result is incorrect due to them prosecuting
religions (like many of the communist regimes).
Oh, China's more complicated than that.
Mao is now a Daoist deity -- you can buy idols of him, and make
offerings to him, though as yet I'm not aware of any actual temples
dedicated to him. But the people who worship him aren't generally
Communists; they're Daoists or animists, and some may well claim to be
atheists. We met a cab driver who seemed to fall into that category
-- he denied having any religion, but had a picture of Mao in the form
of a prayer card hanging from his rear-view mirror, and seemed to be
(No one has yet declared Mao a bodhisattva, to the best of my
knowledge, so the Buddhists don't buy his idols.)
In the last forty years Confucianism has gone from being banned to
being actively encouraged, as it encourages respect for authority --
but does it count as a religion, or a philosophy, as currently
practiced? The seventy-two sages aren't really considered divine, and
the old temples are mostly now schools rather than places of worship
-- but in 2006 we saw people burning incense and bowing to statues of
the sages in Jiading's old Palace of the Autumn Wind.
There's also the issue that the Chinese don't see anything
unreasonable about following multiple religions simultaneously.
It's probably impossible to know how many followers each religion has
in China because they do overlap, and get fuzzy around the edges, and
people don't even agree on what constitutes religion and what doesn't.
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