Putting the ‘cred’ into ‘credulity’.
In this morning’s post, I forgot to mention the recent survey which claimed that China was the most atheist country in the world. If this was some measure of how enlightened the place was, then there might be something to celebrate, but I wonder whether the wrong question was being asked. Also, there’s a difference between being an atheist and being sceptical about a whole range of beliefs.
For one thing, there was no shortage of people making offerings to the idols in 雍和宫 in Beijing, or 青羊宫 and 大慈 in Chengdu even if, I believe, they tend to pray for very modern things. There’s no shortage of churches in Fuzhou or people to attend them, and there are plenty of temples to native deities as well.
Although there are native Chinese gods, I’m not aware of them being organised per se. Buddhism and Daoism got thrown into the pot, and like the Roman Empire, China seems to have been fairly pluralistic. I know there were phases when the Buddhists or Daoists were predominant, and one side or the other was persona non gratia. The situation was, I presume, different from the schism between the Catholic and Protestant churches in Europe, and no one here ever thought that their religion should be imposed on others whether they were willing or not.