3-Week Progress Report

At the 3-week mark of this class, I think what is going to be most important is to consider the various lenses through which we view religions in China and the role religion plays in Chinese society. The most important of these, in my opinion, is Lagerway’s concept of China as an inherently religious space, entirely sacred. Folk religion not only fills in the gaps of those who do not subscribe to an official religion, but it permeates the daily life of the vast majority of the country. Moreover, I think the five modalities of religion usefully stratify Chinese religion by what is important for our study, practice. A glaring difference that I noticed early on between my Catholic faith and the religions we are studying, is that dogma is not predominant. It’s not so much what you believe as what you do, and what those actions are supposed to do for you or you ancestors. I imagine these two concepts will provide a necessary framework through which we can view the various religious presences throughout all of China.


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