The concept of religion in modern Chinese society and its scientific reflection
Zdrojový dokument: Religio. 2012, roč. 20, č. 2, s. -251
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
Licence: Neurčená licence
When analyzing contemporary Chinese religious life and religious policy of the Chinese state, the starting point should be to understand the context in which the term religion was introduced in China and to recognize the tools that the Chinese state has been using for handling religious expressions in society. These issues are rooted in the long history of the relationship between religion and the state in China; however, they are perceived through modern terminological and theoretical discourse. In fact, it is modern European science (humanities) that has defined the historical role, function, and form of religion since the late 19th century. With extensive help from the Chinese intellectual elite, the humanities have also interpreted various manifestations of religion in modern as well as in traditional Chinese society. Indeed, science, both domestic Chinese and Western, has played an important role in the introduction of the theoretical concept of religion into Chinese society and its subsequent use for specific political goals. This paper focuses on the origins of the concept of religion in the Chinese reality; it traces these origins in modern European thought and, in particular, the cultural and structural patterns that are unfamiliar to traditional (pre-modern) Chinese culture and society. It also attempts to outline problems that arise from the penetration and acculturation of the concept of religion into Chinese society and describes how these problems are reflected in the academic environment, especially in the Euro-American area.