Sunday, February 4, 2007

Religion in China

More evidence of what Peter Berger has called the "desecularization of the world":

If the party is still trying to keep its members atheist, it is fighting a losing battle.

What's interesting is there appears to be a fairly even split among the five recognized religions, at least according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Buddhism claims the most adherents (100M) and clergy (200,000), while Protestantism claims the most places of worship (55,000). I suspect this diversity is a major factor behind the government's shift towards religious freedom. That and apparently the government fat cats have figured out how to milk the religious, which probably means they favor the religions which tolerate bribery. But I think China is large enough that the religious diversity factor is sending them down the path towards a free market in religion. It may one day end up being more free than many European countries, which continue to favor an official state religion.

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