Time foundation funds research on religions in China
Director Yang Fenggang wants to rally scholars from US, Europe and China, and train new ones, in developing a social scientific study of religions in China.
The Purdue Centre on Religion and Chinese Society and the China Data Centre in the University of Michigan are planning an in-depth study on religions in China. The study would be made public to help people learn more about religion in China.
The research that would focus on Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Taoism is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation – established by Time magazine co-founder Henry Luce to honour his missionary parents who worked in China.
“China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world in less than two decades. This is astounding, considering religion was banned till just a few decades ago and is still restricted,” said Purdue Centre Director Yang Fenggang.
“The country’s religious scene is changing beyond Christianity and needs to be understood as these changes could affect the economical, cultural and political landscape of the world’s most-populous country,” he said.
Yang wants to rally scholars from US, Europe and China, and train new ones, in developing a social scientific study of religions in China. More information on religions in China would help, “As we only have Chinese government data on religion,” he said.
Chinese government data is considered unreliable as it supposedly reflects official bias. More demographic information was needed to identify religions embraced by various groups in China, he said. Author of ‘Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule’, Yang said there were more faiths thriving in China, apart from the traditional six, though they do not have government approval.
Source: Sunday Examiner