Talk:Folk religion

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Confusing article[edit]

I came here from Shinto, which links to this article in the first phrase, claiming Shinto to be a folk religion. The definition in the first paragraph of this article is:

Folk religion consists of beliefs, superstitions and cultural practices transmitted from generation to generation. It could be contrasted with the "organized religion" or "historical religion" in which founders, creed, theology and ecclesiastical organizations are present.

Here I thought that this was descriptive enough of Shinto. But then, the article goes on to say:

For "folk religion" to be a meaningful category, there must be an institutional religion with a traditional teaching or professional clergy to contrast it against; in cultures that lack these things, it is difficult to speak of folk religion as a meaningful category.

and

No one consciously practices a folk religion or calls their own religious practices a folk religion. When awareness of the tension between folk religion and the formal creed of an institutional religion rises to conscious levels, and the folk religion successfully resists that tension, it is well on its way to becoming an institutional religion in its own right, and develops a body of doctrine of its own to justify its continued practice against the institutional opposition.

These did not fit at all. They don't fit Chinese folk religion either.

As the article says that "The term is also applied to" and "Folk religion can also be thought of as" and then gives multiple definitions of what folk religion is, the result is bit of a mess where you don't see how many definitions there are and which statements apply to which definition. I'm not familiar with this term so I can't clarify it either.

The motley list of examples at the end is also confusing, as it doesn't elaborate on the examples at all, but the reader is left on their own to find what's common in them and what else might fit the definition(s). Is astrology, for instance, a folk religion? While "use of Bible, crucifix, other objects as talismans" seems fitting, why is other "religious jewelry" also included, when it's simply used as a sort of advertisement of one's religion, not as a talisman? Why does "religious art in the home" specify that it has to be in the home, how does the place where the art is make any difference? And "monsters, aliens, ghosts, yurei and yokai in anime, manga and films" - huh? What do monsters and aliens have to do with religion, except that both are fictitious? Besides, doesn't religion usually involve some sort of belief, whereas nobody believes that stories in anime, manga and films (and books) are true (unless they are non-fiction), nor do they think they're practicing religion by reading/watching them? 82.103.215.236 03:34, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

There is also a really negative tone to this article. I thought an encyclopedia was to help us understand something not tell us how bad or inferior it is. For instance if there is a God who answers prayer, who are we to say the prayers of a folk religionist are inferior to those of a established clergyman? And if there is not, how could one religion be better than another anyway? Steve Dufour 04:47, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Proposed Split of 'Folk Magic'[edit]

I would like to propose a splitting apart of this article into two -- folk religion and folk magic, with an accompanying breakage of the current redirect from the term folk magic to this page. My reasoning is that folk magic is a subset of magic (paranomal) not of religion.

All the links i am finding in various articles to "folk magic" redirect here -- and yet folk magic is not even mentioned in the first paragraph of this article. Instead, the article mentions "superstition" in the first paragraph.. This is disrespectful to folk magic, respesents a clear case of bias against paranormal subject mater, and, most of all, simply does not help the reader to learn more about FOLK MAGIC, which is, prsumeably, why he or she clicked the link in the fist place.

I will let this comment sit for a few days. If there is no response from previous contributors or consensus on how to split the article apart and redirct the changes, i will begin to set about doing the work myself.

Catherineyronwode 01:26, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Ethnoreligious combination Proposed[edit]

I discovered this article while trying to find the article on Ethnoreligions. I feel the two topics are close enough that they should be combined into one article, as there appears to be little to separate a 'folk religion' as defined here from that of an 'Ethnoreligion'. As well perhaps a more neutral and objective tone could be added to the article to help. I'll do what I can. Adding the suggestion of combination in the Ethnoreligious discussion as well. Der.Gray (talk) 04:46, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

the topic is still in very poor shape. Yes, the distinction between "folk-" and "ethno-" is purely subjective, what you tend to classify as "folk" in your own group is "ethno" in foreign groups. Just a matter of perspective. --dab (𒁳) 12:10, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

I disagree. I think there are three distinct topics here:

  • Folk religion, the set of informal religious practices often associated with an organized religion
  • Ethnic religion, a religion closely tied to an ethnic identity
  • Ethnoreligious group, a demographic group that shares both a religious and an ethnic identity

Part of the confusion here may be that the concept of "ethnic religions" is sometimes referred to as "folk religions". But Wikipedia articles are about topics, not names. --Alynna (talk) 19:09, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I second the opinion of previous poster. My take on "folk religion" is something grass roots, just as the nomenclature suggests. I being Japanese, would offer examples like Koshin ko, or the "three monkeys" cult, or Fuji-ko(ja) that involves visiting Mt. Fuji various fake Fujis. I would submit that "folk religion" is often a non-organized religion, in the sense that they can be practiced without any congregating churches or temples, etc., and without any particular priest acting as preacher or guru. However, they may be connected to organized religion, for instance, worship of Jizo statues (small stone buddhas in small unmanned shrines or outdoors) may be considered folk religious. This issue is addressed by 82.103.215.236 topic at the top of this talk page, and like him/her I have a problem with the writer who says folk religion must be institutionalized and have a clergy, because my view is quite the opposite. And I also object (intellectually for me that is, but probably religiously to practitioners) to Shinto being classed as folk religion, and am going to remove it, and this seems to be one root of the problem.
As for Ethnic religion, I hardly think it merits an article in its own right. You don't have to go on paragraphs long to state the obvious that ethnic groups may have its own religious identity. Just give it in two lines, followed by a list of examples. (On the other hand Ethnoreligious group gives a list - of the ethnicities part anyway)
I also suspect that the term "Ethno-religious group" might not necessarily refer to ethnically homogenized groups, but quite the opposite. A region that has received waves of migrations may have ethnic diversity but through assimilation have cultural unity... but I digress Kiyoweap (talk) 07:19, 20 April 2012 (UTC)