The Religious Blossoming of China
NPR has a story up today about the mounting religiosity of the Chinese people that is following in the wake of the free market reforms that have transformed the nation in recent years.
Across China, religious belief has blossomed and flourished — far outpacing the government's framework to control it — with a profusion of charismatic movements and a revival in traditional Chinese religions. Two-thirds of those who described themselves as religious in the 2006 survey said they were Buddhists, Taoists or worshippers of folk gods such as the Dragon King or the God of Fortune.Perhaps it won't be too long before Mormon missionaries will be able to bring the fullness of the gospel to the hungry people of China. In the meantime, we are grateful for those inspired souls who are preparing the ground for the harvest.
Another popular goddess is Mazu, who is believed to protect sailors. Although she is included in the Daoist and Buddhist pantheons, she — and many other indigenous popular gods — falls outside China's five official religions. However, the worship of Mazu recently has been reclassified as "cultural heritage" rather than religious practice, making it acceptable even for Communist Party members.