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Chinese American Religion Phenomenon 2

Introduction 2

Literature Review 3

Data Analysis of Chinese religious phenomenon. 5

Conclusion 9

Works cited 10

Chinese American Religion PhenomenonIntroduction

Religionis a man’s way of ensuring that he or she reaches God or thatsupernatural being. Among the Asian community, religion is one of thetraditions that they hold dear to them(). The community that includesthe Asian American community have various elements that arecomposedof culture, spirituality, culture and faith, that is very dear tothese people and dates back to many years before. Most of the Asiancommunities arecomposedof diverse cultures, which in turn bring about a variety of theirreligious beliefs even though most of these groups subscribe to theBuddhist religion. Therefore, it is important to ask ourselves,amongst these many religions within the Asian community, which ofthese religions and faiths is the most popular and which is the leastpopular religion in the Chinese American communities and why.

Theresearch will aim to demystify which religion holds water within theAsian community and also will review several kinds of literature tobe able to understand the Asian American community religion inretrospect. Under the literature review, the paper will aim atoffering insights on what other authors have published about theAsian American religion, it will give substantive results both intheoretical and methodological manner. The chapter shall also reviewthe various religious faiths that are subscribed by the ChineseAmerican, and what is behind those kinds of religion.

Onthe data analysis, the chapter shall dwell much on the statisticsthat has been collected by various agencies and draw a correlationbetween the various religions(Carnes,312). The data analysis shallalso be used to analyze the validity of the various thesis statementput forward in the introduction that will determine whether thethesis statement is true or null.

Literature Review

AsianAmerican religion has been out of sight for most of the time it isuntil recently when several scholars have decided to study the AsianAmerican religion together with other academicians in otherdisciplines (Gidden, Mitchell, RichardandDeborah,181). From these studies,it is evident that religion had beenrelegatedto an undeserving status, thisbecause of the growing influence of theMarxist philosophies coupled with the anti-colonialism discourse(Carnes,265). Studies have shown that the Asian American religion hadbeenfinely marginalizedthis was due to the simple fact of racism and religious freedom thatis enshrined in the American constitution. Failure of the theories inthe past in social science discipline to provide necessary tools thatcould have been utilised in analyzing thereligion subscribed by the Asian immigrants and their descendantscomplicated the matter. The sociological categorization of variousreligions into a church, sect or cult also added to the difficulty inanalyzing the Asian American religion Buddhism (LiewandTat-Siong,99). Whereas those studies that wereconducted,described the Buddhism religion as a cult or just a new religiousmovement of some sort. Researchers werealso blindedby the fact that they only used existing theories such asassimilation and secularization theories from appreciating thereligion and ethnicity as important factors to research.

Indeed,religion has been a critical force to reckon within the AsianAmerican community(( It isevidentby the fact that betweenthe mid-nineteenth century and world wartwo, both the Japanese and the Chinese immigrants had built templesin the areas they had settled. The migrants later built the Buddhisttemples, as well as hundreds of churches belonging to the Christiancommunity. This kind of religion enabled the Asian immigrantcommunity to receive the so much needed social services as well asthe religious services they needed and their descendants. Worthnoting is that despite the main religious practices within the Asiancommunity(, there also exist other religious groupsat home and also personal spirituals among individuals in differentAsian American communities.

Inthe recent past, the study of the Asian community religion has grownand. Therefore,many kinds of literature have been developed by scholars, forinstance, the secularization theories became replaced by a newfrontier of studies, which aimed at treating religion, not as avestigial part of the ancient times but as a diverse and vitalelement of the modern and also postmodern community as aphenomenon(( religion grow regardinginfluenceto play an important and critical role in societal spheres.

Inher book, Janet McLellan, Many petals of the Lotus, she opines thatBuddhism as an Asian community religion, and that many Asiancommunities such as the Chinese adhere to this tradition that isancient as their religion. Other books have also concentrated theirattention to Buddhism as a religion of the Asian migrants who happento constitute majorly the Chinese and the Japanese and also theVietnamese. Various Buddhist ethnic groups converse differentlanguage and thus practice different Buddhists sub-traditionsGeertz,356).This isbecause most communities have had diverse experiences duringimmigration periods.

TheAsian community, particularly the Chinese have contributed immenselyto the US religious landscape, and they are largely responsible forthe growth of religious faith in America, particularly thenon-Abrahamic faith, which includes the Buddhism and Hinduism. If thecensus isdonetoday, the number of Buddhists and Hinduism account almost the sameas the number of the Jewish community, although they don’t match upto the same number of the Christian community in the Asian society.

Data Analysis of Chinese religious phenomenon.

Americansbelieve in God in how they pray on a daily basis, but a higherproportion of the Asian American are always not affiliated with anyreligion according to the survey. The modern Asian community belongsto the two main religious groups in America, Which include: Christiancommunity and those who don’t subscribe to any particular religiousgroup. According to the survey conducted nationwide by the PEWresearch center. Amongthe Asian community, Christians constitute the largest religiousgroups in the US among the Asian group constituting about 42%,whereas those not affiliated with any religious group constituteabout 26%. This is followed by the Buddhist religion(14%), Hindus(10%), Muslims(4%) and Sikhs(1%), other religions constitute about 2%of the U.S Asian community.

Worthnoting is that Asian community provides a study that is a clearcontrast from other studies. In that, it gives a unique featurebetween those who are religious and those who are not religious. Theunaffiliated group within the secular community show least levels ofreligious commitment that the ordinary secular American, on himanother hand, the most religious among the Asian American communityshow more commitment to religion than ordinary American citizens.

Fig1 show the proportion of religion within the Asian Americancommunity(Source:PEWResearch Center)

Narrowingdown to the Chinese American society, research conducted by the PEWresearch center, that focused on the countrywide survey(Gannonand Pillai, 117).Reveals an otherwise state of affairs from what isgivenin the thesis statement. Majorityof the Chinese Americans according to the survey are non-affiliatedto any religion whatsoever, and they constitute 54% of the totalChinese American community, the Protestants follow the non-affiliatedin a distant second place by 22%, the Buddhist religion is third inthe survey by 15% then the Catholics at 8% as shown in the figurebelow.

Fig2: Apie chart representing the proportion of various religious groupsin the chinese american community(Source: PEW research center)

Thischart represents Chinese Americans who represent about a quarter ofthe total Asian American population. This chart represents thecomposition of the religious affiliation of the Chinese subgroup.

Thesurvey went further to explore the element of religious commitmentamong the Chinese Americans and the general American public.Inthis survey, it was discovered thatreligion is less important to Chinese Americans than the general USpublic.That is, only fewer Chinese Americans hold religion as veryimportant to their lives as compared to the general American(only 38%of the Chinese Americans are of the view that religion is moreimportant to them compared to 58% of the general US public).Amongthis percentage approximately 30% are of the opinion that religionis neither too important or just that it’s a nonfactor as comparedto only 16% of the general US public who are of the same view. Also,the percentage of the Chinese American who pray on a daily basis areless compared to the normal US public. The following statistics showsthe comparison of religious commitment between Chinese American andthe general US public.

ChineseAmericanGeneral Americanpublic

Importanceof religion in your life %%

Veryimportant39 58

Somewhat30 24

Nottoo/not at all 30 16

Don’tknow 1 1

Frequencyof prayer % %

Daily40 56

Weekly/monthly 24 23

Seldom/never 35 19

Don’tknow 2 2

Attendworship prayers % %

Weeklyor more 32 36

Monthly/yearly 35 34

Seldom/never 33 28

Don’tknow 1 1

Believein God? % %

Yes 79 92

No 16 6

Other(vol)/Don’t Know 5 2

Datafrom PEW Research Center


Religionis a significant aspect of human life, andthus,most people adhere to it to get spiritual fulfillment. Even thoughthe overall results shows that majority of the Chinese Americans arenot affiliatedwith any religion whatsoever and that their commitment to religioncompared to other US population is lesser. A good number areaffiliatedwith either religion, Buddhist, Christianity or Hinduism. Thisfigure, also, enables us to understand the differences betweencertain religious beliefs that exist among other religions andChristianity(Hondagneu-Sotelo,178).For instance, in Buddhism, their religion rarely focuses on a beingcalled God but rather it is more inclined towards spiritual awakeningand enlightenment. They also regard prayer differently from whatChristian’s do. We can also see the difference in how they livetheir private life. The Buddhist and Hindus are reported to have areligious shrine at home, where they pray and meditate on theirspiritual life.

Thestudy opens up our understanding of the Chinese American community onhow their religion isstratified,and it also gives the behavioral patterns of various religious groupsand characteristics. Despite the study’s finding, severallimitations were evident. The research is not comprehensive when itcomes to other subgroups of the Asian-American community. Dataanalysis relies on secondary sources that have been carried out byanother agency. Therefore, it may contain errors.

Works cited,&quotSpirituality,Religion, &amp Faith: Asian-Nation: Asian American History,Demographics, &amp Issues.&quotN.p., 2015. Web. 13 Dec. 2015.

Carnes,Tony.&nbspAsianAmerican Religions: The Making and Remaking of Borders andBoundaries.New York[u.a.: New York University Press, 2004. Print.p.268-408

Gannon,Martin J, and Rajnandini Pillai. UnderstandingGlobal Cultures.Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2013. Print.p.117

Geertz,Clifford.&nbspTheInterpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays.New York, NY: BasicBooks, 2000. Print,p.356.

GiddensAnthony, Mitchell Duneier, Richard P. Appelbaum, and Deborah S.Carr.Introductionto Sociology., 2014. Print. p.181

Hondagneu-Sotelo,Pierrette. ReligionAnd Social Justice For Immigrants.New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2007. Print.p.178.

Keast,John.&nbspReligiousDiversity and Intercultural Education: A Reference Book for Schools.Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, 2007. Print,p.206.

Liew,Tat-Siong B.&nbspWhatIs Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics?: Reading the New Testament.Honolulu, T.H: University of Hawai`i Press, 2008. Print.p.99-108.

PewResearch Center`s Religion &amp Public Life Project,&quotAsian Americans: A Mosaic Of Faiths.&quotN.p., 2012. Web. 13 Dec. 2015.

Religionand American Cultures: 1.Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.: ABC- CLIO, 2003. Print,p.323.

Tseng,Timothy, and Viji Nakka-Cammauf.&nbspAsianAmerican Christianity Reader.CastroValley, Calif: Pacific Asian American &amp Canadian ChristianEducation Project and the Institute for the Study of Asian AmericanChristianity, 2009.Print,p.56-66.

Collins,Steven. &quotThe body in Theravada Buddhist monasticism.&quot&nbspReligionand the Body&nbsp(1997):185-204.

Ch`en,Kenneth KS.&nbspBuddhismin China: A historical survey.Vol. 1972. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1964.

Cohen,Paul A.&nbspDiscoveringHistoryin China: American HistoricalWritingon the recent Chinese past.Columbia University Press, 2010.

Wong,Janelle.&nbspAsianAmerican Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and TheirPolitical Identities.New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2011. Print. p.196.

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