Talk:Religion in China

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percentages of syncretism and buddhism[edit]

there is some new data that shows that 33% od the chinese popelation believes in buddhism. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LL02Ad01.html that calls many questions. are those buddhists included in the folk religion section? what differentiates the folk religion/taoist data from the buddhist data? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 201.9.137.55 (talk) 17:36, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Synthesis[edit]

The statement "the Chinese folk religion, Taoism and Buddhism are the largest religions in China" are not supported by any of the sources provided and looks like a clear example of WP:synthesis, which is why I have removed it.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 18:18, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

The statistics are not a synthesis, you find them here at p. 34 for Chinese folk religion, which is not "a mix of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism" but a distinct group of indigenous religions. Adherents.com that you keep adding as a source is not reliable.--79.10.80.90 (talk) 19:32, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
That is false. The Pew source does not state that "the Chinese folk religion, Taoism and Buddhism are the largest religions in China". In fact that source says "there is no clear boundary between Buddhism, Daoism and local [folk] religious practice." If you don't like Adhrents, I will find a different source.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 19:57, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
For a fair comparison of the size of various "religons", I've reinserted some of the data from the Pew source. This is complex issue because oftentimes, elements of Buddhism and Taosim (not to mention ancestral veneration and heaven worship) are incorporated in some forms of Chinese folk religions. Many Chinese are followers of both Buddhism and folk traditions. I think the article should make this clear.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:17, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

New statistics[edit]

The new statistics by CSLS are very useful and they should be kept as they are. In particular, those 173 million people who identify with both "folk religion" and "Taoism" may be the adherents of the many Taoist new religious movements. As for Buddhists who practice ancestor worship, I have added a note clarifying this.--79.16.78.113 (talk) 16:26, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

If you're gonna add this pie chart, you need to strictly stick to what the source says. If the source says ancestor veneration, we need to say that as well. In chart itself is already borderline WP:OR. The addition of folk religion in a Taoist framework is misleading because they are already part of folk religion.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 16:51, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
The note of "Chinese folk religion" clarifies that it includes "ancestor veneration" and "belief in spirits" (shen). In the last revision, I have also clarified "Chinese folk religion with Taoist practices".--79.16.78.113 (talk) 16:58, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I've made some edits making clearer the distinction between folk religions with Taosim and those without. I'm still uncomfortable with equating ancestor worship with Chinese folk religion, but as of now, I think the chart is adequate.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 17:16, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

New compromise[edit]

Thomasettaei keeps deleting the pie chart claiming that is "too repetitive" having both the pie chart and the extended table. However, various articles about religion in specific countries use the solution of tables of data in the "statistics" section, and a pie chart as summary in the lede (e. religion in England, religion in Indonesia. This solution should be implemented to this article too.

Moreover, in his edits he keeps removing the "12 million Taoists" figure: see. I would like to understand why, since the paper does not report them as part of the 173 millio folk religion/Taoists.--79.20.77.150 (talk) 12:44, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Reporting the statistics accurately[edit]

After a recent edit which has removed some statistics substituting them with others I propose a "back to what the source says" solution, reporting the statistics faithfully, and a clarification about the nature of Chinese spirituality.

First of all, let's see what the source says about the statistics collected by the CSLS:

  • Discussing in the same category "Chinese folk religion" and "Taoism" (p. 34) the report says that the CSLS had both a question for Taoism (implicit) and for the Chinese folk religion (quote: The CSLS questioned people on popular religious beliefs and practices as well, and came to the following estimates (excluding those who identified themselves with an institutional religion)). The statistics reported are the following ones:
    • Taoism: 12 million Taoists; 173 million has some Taoist practices, but difficult to differentiate from folk religion.
    • Chinese folk religion: 754 million practice ancestor worship, 216 million believe in the existence of shen, 141 million believe in Caishen (only an example among the many Chinese shen).

Regarding Chinese spirituality. First of all, the Chinese folk religion is based on practice of certain rites rather than belief in some creed, one can practice without believing in the sense the Abrahamic religions give to this term: in other terms, worship of the ancestor is a matter of filial piety and a mean of maintaining connection with the origin, not necessarily believing in "ghosts". It's maybe near to the concept of civil religion. So all the "but only X people believe" is rhetoric and interpretation through the categories of thought currently predominant in the Western world, leading to a misunderstanding of Chinese religion. In fact, the source doesn't compares the two figures through the "but".

Then, Chinese ancestor worship is intrinsically and inextricably part of Chinese folk religion, as many gods (such as the Caishen mentioned above) are deified ancestors and historical figures, so perceiving them as different things is another rhetorical misunderstanding.--79.16.79.199 (talk) 19:32, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, but Wikipeidia policies require us to report exactly what the sources say. Any dubious interpretation is WP:OR. The source says 754 million practioners of ancestral worship, not 754 million followers of Chinese folk religion. Folk religion and ancestral worship are not the same thing. We have other sources that actually state clearly: "X percent of Chinese are folk religonist." That is not found in the 2010 survey. We either report the data accurately or not report it at all.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 00:12, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Think about it. Most of our sources say that only about 30 percent of Chinese are religious. How on earth does does 56 percent of Chinese belonging practicing folk religion make any sense? The truth is that many (1) your source says 56% are practicing ancestral worship, not folk religion, and (2) many non-religious Chinese practice ancestral worship because that's just the local customs.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 00:39, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

You miss one thing: the report itself puts all the numbers we are discussing about under the section "Taoism and popular religion", discussing Chinese ancestral worship as part of this category, so there's no reason to discuss ancestral worship as a different thing from Chinese folk religion. Also, the report says crystal clear that the statistics for Taoism (173 m, 12 m) and folk religions (750 m, 216 m) are given by two different questions. I quote what it says: CSLS questioned people on popular religious beliefs and practices as well, and came to the following estimates (excluding those who identified themselves with an institutional religion), so the sum I added yesterday for the whole category of Taoism + folk religions/ancestor worship (932 m) is correct, fitting also with the statistic for atheists of the report: 14%.
Regarding the conflict of the concepts of "culture", "custom" and "religion", this is actually not the case of China, where the concept of "religion" in the (modern) Western sense as "belief", "creed", "dogma" is not part of Chinese thought. This is why most of older surveys result with high percentages of "non religious". The Chinese folk religion/ancestral worship is much more similar to the concept of "cultus" (that is "worship" -> "worth-ship"), that is also the original sense of "culture", of ancient European societies.--95.233.68.82 (talk) 19:05, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree that "clearly identify with Daoism" is in the institutional religion category. However, "some kind of Daoist practices, but they are difficult to differentiate from popular religion" is probably not part of the institutional religion category. This is why I don't agree with the "173 million + 754 million". Anyways, I think your edit that made the sentence say: "hunderds of millions of people practice some kind of Chinese folk religions and Taoism" is an acceptable compromise.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:47, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Pie chart[edit]

Consensus against adding pie charts to the article.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 22:57, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

@Thomasettaei: See Religion in the United States, Religion in Russia, Religion in the United Kingdom, etc. They all have pie charts. I don't see "other users... keeping adding other pie charts" in those articles. I think your fear is unwarranted. Pie charts help users understand the data.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 23:34, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

But there are several (at least five or six) surveys/studies that are in the section. Do we want to make pie charts for all of them? In the case of this section, where there are so many different studies, there is no reason to make a pie chart for just one of them.--Thomasettaei (talk) 09:23, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
We don't need to make a pie chart for all the studies. We just need to choose the best study and make a pie chart using its data. AFAIK there is only one study in the article for which a it's possible to make a pie chart, and the that's the one from the Pew Research Center. The other studies did not report a complete data set needed to make a pie chart (i.e. the percentages adding up to 100). It's not possible to make a pie chart using the limited data form the other studies.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 17:11, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Unless it is official census (which itself can be questionable), all these studies are interpretations. Saying its the "best" is simply subjective. The Pew Research Center study itself is already outdated now (its about as of 2010).--Thomasettaei (talk) 21:43, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, but I'm confused about your argument. If these studies are all so bad, then why don't we just delete all these statistics from the article? I don't understand what does this got to do with whether or not a pie chart should be allowed to be included in the article. Bad statistics is just as bad as bad pie charts. (Also, the PRC is one of the most respected research institutions in the world, and 2010 is hardly outdated.)--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 21:59, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

RfC[edit]

Should this article be allowed to show a pie chart of the religious composition of China?--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 21:53, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Yes - Religion in the United States, Religion in Russia, Religion in the United Kingdom, and many other "Religion in [name of country]" articles contain pie charts, which help readers understand the data. I don't any good reasons for why this article should not be allowed to have a pie chart.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 22:05, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • No - because the information from that Pew Research Center survey/study is already stated in the section. Adding a pie chart of the same information to that section is repetitive. Further, there are several surveys/studies that are in the Statistics section; no reason to make a chart for just one of them.--Thomasettaei (talk) 08:59, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment – I see no reason to formally forbid pie charts, but I have strong doubts about their usefulness. All these surveys are misleading. Unlike in western countries where people belong to churches, in China people worship gods and practice various rituals, but don't formally or exclusively follow a religion. We'll have no problem with Chinese Muslims and Christians, but the rest is a mess. People who say they "believe in the Buddha" (my overly literal translation of xin Fo 信佛) will still worship "Daoist" deities in temples, sometimes even in "Buddhist" temples. Nobody is a "Daoist" except for formal clergy (Daoist priests), and "folk religion" is a construct that encompasses everything from worship of the dragon god and Wangmu Niangniang to people who burn firecrackers on New year to ward off evil spirits. Surveys that rely on professed adherence ("I'm a Buddhist", "I'm a Daoist") are no more reliable, as few people are likely to say "I'm part of folk religion". IMHO, the most interesting surveys are about Chinese people's religious practices (burning incense in temples, wearing amulets, belief in hell or reincarnation, divination, etc.), not their formal religious affiliations or self-identification.[1] Vincent Goossaert and David Palmer have a lot more to say about these issues in their excellent book The Religious Question in Modern China, which I see is not quoted in this article. Madalibi (talk) 01:44, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
See also this useful comment by David Palmer on how to interpret religious statistics in China. Madalibi (talk) 01:57, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
  • No - The information is already contained in the lead and the body of the article. I see no reason to give it additional weight by adding a chart, especially since the figures are subject to change and controversy.-- KeithbobTalk 00:26, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
  • No - User FutureTrillionaire himself removed charts and tables based on this survey. The Pew report isn't even a survey but a collection of estimates, not even clearly saying where they are taken from.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 19:34, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - Madalibi made a very good point. There doesn't seem to be academic consensus on the size of certain religious groups in China. This is in contrast to the situation in other countries.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:52, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.