|Buddha Statues in White Horse Temple, Luoyang|
With over 100,000,000 believers, China is a country where a number of religions exist side by side, including Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and other Christian believes. Besides, there are some innate Chinese religions such as Taoism, shamanism, Catholicism, Orthodox Eastern Chu and Dongba.
Religions and beliefs influence a believer's way of lives and production activities. It quite often coexists with feudal superstitions. Most Chinese religions and beliefs belong to the primitive way of worship, ancestor worship, totemism, divination and various forms of magic. Influenced by Taoism and Buddhism, many beliefs are blended together, coexisted and finally formed a special belief style -- worship--sacrifice--taboo. All kinds of temples are still kept in many parts of China, including the Temple of the Earth God, the Temple of the Dragon King and the Goddess of Mercy Temple. For instance, when it doesn't rain for a long time, people will go to the Temple of the Dragon King to offer sacrifices to the dragon king for they believe that it has the ability to bring rains; when something unusual happens, people will offer sacrifices to the spirits of their ancestors; when a couple is to get marry, their parents will ask the fortuneteller to help to choose an auspicious day to hold the wedding ceremony according to the birthday of the couple.
|Giant Buddha at Leshan Mountain|
Confucianism, a system of social and ethical philosophy rather than a religion, has also been the mainstream thinking of Chinese feudal society, ruling China for about 2,000 years.
Buddhism is divided into Han Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Southern Buddhism in China, having enjoyed a history of about 2,000 years. There are over 13,000 buddhist temples and about 200,000 monks in China.
Taoism is a native-born and mixed religion, adopting the nature worship and ancestor worship in ancient China. The number of Taoist temple reaches 1,500 and that for Taoist is over 25,000.
Islam is the faith of ten national minorities, including the Hui and Uygur, with about 20 million believers in China. Islam was introduced to China during the 7th century AD.
Christianity first came to China in the early 19th century and was brought in at a large scale during the middle 19th century. It is a religion whose believers believe that Jesus Christ is their savior. In China, there are over 10 million believers, 18,000 missionaries and 12,000 churches.
Catholicism was introduced to China in the 7th Century AD. There are over 4 millions believers and 4,600 churches.