Religion: Religion and Chinese Population Essay

Submitted By dasilverk
Words: 581
Pages: 3

Religion among Chinese-Americans The Chinese population in America is one of the fastest growing minorities in the country today. Asian-Pacific Islanders make up about 10% of country. A unique characteristic about the Chinese population is that they do not collectively identify themselves under a religion. This stems from the religions practice in China. The majority of the Chinese people are non-religious or practice local faiths and the national religion of the Republic of China is Atheist. For many of Chinese-Americans, they lose their religious identity. Most American born Chinese children when asked what religion their family practices will answer with, “I don’t know” or “Buddhism, I think.” This is a common occurrence that I have seen and have struggled with myself. I know that my family does practice religious beliefs, as all of my extended family has alters in the house, incents to burn on special holidays, and practices for the deceased. But if I was asked to identify what sect or religion I was practicing I wouldn’t be able to, even to this day. That is because Chinese culture has borrowed from Confuciust, Daoist, and Buddhist beliefs to fit the needs of the people.
As a young child I grew up practicing many different beliefs I felt had religious context. Every Lunar New Year we would be given red envelopes, and we would pray to an alter of Guan Yu that sat in the living room year round. We would light incents and eat certain foods. All of these practices felt like a religion, but when I curiously asked my parents what religion we are they simply said Chinese. At the tender age of 10 I took this as, I don’t have a religion, I have a nationality. But as time grew and I studied the traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daosim I began to piece together what it meant to be “Chinese.”
My family coming from the south China and Hong Kong had the culture influences of both of being part of a British colony, as well as a communist state. Both which did not promote a unified religion to be practiced. This gave way to a collage of local traditions, folklore, and family traditions. Raised with the traditional Confucianism values of family loyalty, etiquette, feng shui, and acquiring knowledge, combined with the idol worship of Gun Yum and Guan Yu, mixed with the…