Talk:Religion in China

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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 The Pew Research Center study itself is already outdated now (its about as of 2010).--Thomasettaei (talk) 21:43, 21 February 2014 (UTC)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 (Also, the PRC is one of the most respected research institutions in the world, and 2010 is hardly outdated.)--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 21:59, 21 February 2014 (UTC)


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.

International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temples in China.[edit]

The statement "Presently there are temples of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in China." is not supported with any source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shapath (talkcontribs) 04:50, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

Hi Shapath, and thanks for noticing this! I found no mention of this in Hinduism in China, and checked Google Books but only found a claim that the ISKCON did some work in Macau in the late 1980s and had a few followers there.[2] This of course doesn't amount to the ISKCON "having temples in China". Because the sentence sounds dubious, I've made it invisible . Cheers! Madalibi (talk) 15:11, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

Chinese religion from the Shang to Han dynasties[edit]

Title Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang Through Han (1250 BC-220 AD) (2 Vols) Early Chinese Religion Editors John Lagerwey, Marc Kalinowski Publisher BRILL, 2008 ISBN 9004168354, 9789004168350

Rajmaan (talk) 19:29, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Tables for data from different surveys[edit]

@Thomasettaei, I agree that the tables are quite cumbersome, but they are informative, as they provide the complete breakdown of the results of the surveys that is not included in the general list above. The consensus in previous discussions was for an exclusion of pie charts, especially when placed in the lede to provide information exclusively from one survey. Also, I don't understand your comments (1, 2), as I did not include charts or tables for the Pew RC data because it is an estimate and not a proper survey, and I personally think it is unreliable.

I don't think there's a way to add the entire breakdown of the surveys without tables, as you suggest. A solution would be to incorporate them as a collapsible template.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 15:57, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't think, as informative as all these tables/charts you provided are, they are anymore important or necessary than the Pew Research Center one, in which the above consensus decided not to add a chart (based on it).
And I'm sure there are way more surveys on this topic out there, are you going to continually add more?
My suggestion is, why can't you incorporate the essential information from these surveys and the charts (if you find putting all the information altogether bit "cumbersome") into the Statistics part of the article? Just summarize the main ideas (maybe not all the specifics) of these surveys, and then for those who are interested in more, they can read the whole thing by going to the links.--Thomasettaei (talk) 12:18, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Consider that a template is a separate page. This is an advantage resolving possible problems of loading all the tables. However, the list of tables would never grow too long, as the complete results of future newer surveys will replace those of older surveys, or new tables for comparison of older and newer data will be created.
The essential informations from the surveys' results are already in the paragraph, and I have also added a textual summary of the socioeconomic findings of Yu Tao 2008 and CFPS 2012. However, a textual summary will never be as complete as a table, and I continue to think that adding the tables with the complete results (for example the breakdown of religions by age of the CFPS 2012 etc.) will only make the article better, more complete and informative. Also consider that the online pdf results might be deleted in the future.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 14:58, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

FT's recent edits[edit]

I will discuss here what's wrong with the recent edits (1, 2), which I have reverted.

Edit 1
  • First of all a "fact" tag has no sense in a lede paragraph of that type, that is meant as a summary of what the various surveys have found (complete results are listed below and are properly wikilinked in the lede paragraph).
  • Secondly, the explanation of the edit was that "Pew's esitmate is 21%, can't find 80%", while no one has used the Pew Forum as a source for that edit. The "statistics" section, which reports many surveys that have been conducted to count religious believers in China, is there for readers who want to study the topic in depth.
  • The Pew's report is not a survey, but a collection of estimates. Other users, in other articles, have expressed doubts on the reliability of Pew's statistics and metholodogy (Iryna Harpy). I agree with these doubts about Pew, and I don't think that it should be preferred over surveys, when proper surveys are available; in the case of this article, surveys are available and they must be preferred over Pew's estimates.
Edit 2, that was made on the "China" article
  • First of all, there was consensus against the inclusion of any pie chart in this article ("Religion in China") because of the confuse nature of Pew and especially CSLS statistics, when they were the only sources available. Now the list of surveys available has expanded and the new ones are well done, based on large samples, and clear. Moreover, the ban on pie charts doesn't apply to other articles.
  • The CFPS clearly states that most of the Chinese practice the cults of gods, while 6.3% are "atheist". There is a huge difference between the Western concepts of "religion" and "not religious" and the Chinese concept of zong jiao, which is conventionally translated as "religion". I have tried the best to write about this in the article, and most authoritative scholars explain these language differences—and the misunderstandings that arise from them—in depth. The Chinese do not consider zong jiao the cults of gods and ancestors (baibai, jing, "cultivate", "honour"), that in Western literature have been categorised as "Chinese folk religion" or "traditional religion". These cults do not have a -jiao name in Chinese. By zong jiao the Chinese mean a doctrine that is learned by belonging to an organisation (ex. a Christian church or a Buddhist association). "Folk religion" in Chinese identifies organised sects with a doctrine like the Yiguandao, not the cults of gods and ancestors. When most of the Chinese say "I am not religious" they mean "I do not belong to any zong jiao (organised doctrinal religion)".--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 19:26, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Where in the article is the 80% figure? There is no source for it. --FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:12, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
The CFPS implies it explaining that most of the practitioners of cults of gods define themselves as "not religious" and only 6.3% of the Chinese are atheist. The Office of the State Council of China (1995) published a census saying that 1 billion Chinese practice the traditional religions. Have you read my explanation about the Chinese understanding of "religion" here above, under Edit 2? If you do not study in depth what religion in Chinese culture is about, please do not edit this kind of articles.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 20:26, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
You can't just calculate your own numbers. That's WP:OR. As for the pie chart. Feel free to start another RfC. I'll agreed to what ever the consensus will be.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:28, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I have not calculated anything, I have just made clear that the "non religious" population mostly comprehends worshipers of gods and ancestors. This is what the sources say. I know that this goes against the popular western view of the Chinese as atheists, but that view is far from reality. Regarding the pie chart, I don't see the need for one of them here, since the "statistics" section has tables for the complete results (many of the results) of most of the surveys.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 20:35, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
How did the author of the study arrive at 6.3%? And how is that estimate more accurate than 47 % from Gallup, which directly asked people if they were atheist? Wouldn't it be more accurate to rely on what people identify themselves?--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:55, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
They have clearly used a different methodology to arrive to such different numbers. I wonder what have they asked to the Chinese sample. Atheism in Chinese is 无神论 Wúshénlùn (= no-god-theory). I have found the official release and it seems that in China they have found (p. 16) the same average numbers that other surveys find: 14% "religious" (members of religious groups); 30% "non religious" (not members of religious groups), 47% atheist, 9% no response. This could be added as a source for a range of atheists, since it seems reliable and the sample is robust (50.000).--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 21:12, 14 January 2015 (UTC)