How does this help the poor Chinese worker? It only proves the quote by Marx that religion is the opium of the masses. By encouraging religion as a way of stabilizing society the Communist Party avoids having to deal with the corruption at its core. This allows them to continue their horrid labor practices, pollution and oppression. As Marx’s quote so succinctly states, religion’s purpose is to create illusory fantasies for the poor. Economic realities prevent them from finding true happiness in this life, so religion tells them that this is OK because they will find true happiness in the next life.
Richard Madsen notices that, according to a recent Gallup poll, 47% of the Chinese population claims to be atheist – yet other surveys demonstrate that nearly 85% of the country “carry out rituals to honor ancestors, seek out good fortune, ward off evil, celebrate festivals, and accumulate merit for a good afterlife.” So what gives?
An answer is to be found in the social nature of indigenous Chinese religion—it is more about belonging than belief. The collapse of the commune and state industrial work unit systems has made the search for forms of community not controlled by the state more pressing than ever. These alternative forms are typically established through myth and ritual, which meaningfully anchor persons to families and communities. But participants in the myth-telling and ritual performance might understand them in very diverse ways, including skepticism about the truth of the myths that they tell and the…
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