Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

“No Superstitious Activity Allowed”

June 16th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

That’s what the sign in a park in communist China said. You could do almost anything else in the park –many, many people were exercising individually or in small or even large groups, some practicing singing or playing instruments, playing card and board games, and even American ballroom, country-western and line dancing. But superstitious activity? Definitely not. It was clear: superstitious activity was right up there with failure to control your dog.

Fingering your Rosary beads on a park bench in China can get you in trouble for religion constitues superstition in China; it’s okay in the privacy of your own home but it has no business in the public square. Promoting or discussing religion in public introduces irrational and divisive thinking among the citizenry.

“When some people get sick or in trouble they will turn to Buddha or Jesus. Not me! I will rely on myself.” That was what a young woman (30ish)in Yangshuo told me in a brief conversation or exchange about religion. She has an interest in religion, however. She mentioned several books on various religions she is reading. I would guess that most of the young people brought up in the strictly atheistic  atmosphere of China hold the same views as that woman. They most likely read about religion as well if the stacks of books on religion prominently displayed in China’s airports and train stations are any indication. The interest is in the facts, however. You won’t find any books on the spiritual life.

Most of the older folks hold on to some kind of religious belief or practice. A shrine is dominant in the main room of the older houses. A statue of Buddha or other religious figure is usually displayed along with pictures and photos of relatives, living and deceased. Incense and flowers are obviously tendered on a daily basis. Such practices have come to be tolerated by the authorities as they are viewed as private. It might make a difference if you had career plans involving public service, though.

Actually, the more you think about it, the situation regarding religious belief and practice here in the good old U. S. of A. is rapidly becoming the same. How long before that Nativity scene you put on the front lawn every Christmas –sorry, holiday season–  will have to be restricted to the back yard.

Keep those beads to yourself!

Some of my snaps:

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