Religion in contemporary China.
Access changed 12/11/19.
Different from many societies that religion is embedded in the cultural tradition and is supported or subsidized by the state, religion in China is marginalized by the Confucian tradition and regulated by the atheist government. Yet, religion in China has been thriving dramatically over the past four decades along with unprecedented modernization process. Why is religion thriving in China? What effect will religion bring to this society? How do this society react to religious minorities? Driven by these questions, this project is organized by three independent studies on religion in China. Theoretically, the first study revisits and updates the life deprivation theory. Specifically, there are three mechanisms linking life strains and religious involvement: searching for materialistic benefits, increasing existential security, and coping with emotional deprivation. While the former two approaches have been widely explored, the later one has long been discarded due to limitations of method and data. Using Lagged Dependent Variable models on the China Family Panel Study, this study provides support for the subjective deprivation approach. By controlling for previous wave of religiosity, this study found that experiencing life strains increases religious involvement and subjective deprivation is a significant mediator. The second study examines the moral community thesis in the secular context of China. Using multilevel logistic regression, this chapter tests (1) whether both individual-level and aggregate-level religiosity are inversely related to law and rule violations at the individual level and (2) whether provincial-level religiosity enhances the inverse relationship between individual religiosity and deviant behaviors. Results show that both individual- and aggregate-level religiosity are inversely related to the odds of violating the law and rules of authorities. Finally, I investigate religious tolerance in China. Deriving from two competing perspectives—education as liberation and education as socialization—this chapter examines the relationship between education and religious tolerance in China, using the 2010 Wave of China General Social Survey. Results from multiple regressions indicate that education in China only increases religious tolerance on a general level and in private life. In contrast, educational attainment is correlated with less tolerance of religion in the public and political spheres.