Chinese Religion

About Chinese Religon

Chinese ReligionReligion in China has been characterized by pluralism since the beginning of Chinese history. The Chinese religions are family-oriented and do not demand the exclusive adherence of members. Some scholars question the use of the term "religion" in reference to Buddhism and Daoism, and suggest "cultural practices" or "thought systems" as more appropriate names.

The questions of who should be called religious in China, and what religion or religions they should be called are up to debate. Generally, the percentage of people who call themselves religious in China have been the lowest in the world. Buddhism remains the largest organized religion in China since its introduction in the 1st century. Ancestor worship is the original basic Chinese religion. According to ancient law, the highest King of China, also called the Son of Heaven (Tianzi), sacrificed to Heaven (Tian or Shangdi), Earth (Di) and other gods- especially those of famous mountains and rivers. Seigneurs or officials were accredited to sacrifice to respective gods. Daoism was formed during the Han Dynasty around the time Buddhism was introduced to China, and it rose to predominance during the Tang Dynasty, which initially tolerated its coexistence.

Tensions between Buddhism and the Chinese Tang state led to the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution in 845 CE when the emperor felt that force of the religion was threatening the government. The Chinese religious tradition of Three Religions Combining into One which means combining Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism into one religion was greatly developed during Sui and Tang Dynasty. In the 18th and 19th centuries, with the introduction of Western ideology into China, and as the country developed industrially, traditional religions began to fade. Western religions took a foothold, notably causing the Taiping Rebellion. The communist and atheist CPC came to power in 1949.

It viewed traditional religions as backwards, and Western religions such as Christianity as the tool of Western colonialism. This led to China being among the least religious countries in the world since the 1950s. After the "opening up" of the 1980s, more religious freedoms were granted, and traditional beliefs like Taoism and Buddhism were supported as an integral part of the Chinese culture. Now Buddhism is the largest and fastest-growing religion in China, thriving throughout the country as the government is allowing it to spread