After reading these two texts, I feel like there are a lot of similarities between Chinese and Western societies when it comes to religious belief. Although the media often demonizes Chinese people as irreligious or immoral, the actions of individual Chinese people prove otherwise. Many Chinese people seek to fill a “spiritual void” in order to make sense of this world, much like many people in Western societies. Despite official government policies of atheism, even high-ranking government officials feel this need to have a spiritual belief system. This isn’t necessarily a hypocritical act, but rather an aspect of human nature, finding somewhere you belong.
The actions of many modern Chinese people in regard to religion are not homogeneous. Just like Christians, Chinese Buddhists use religion for problem-solving, seeking spiritual meaning, and as a lifestyle. While many people may view this simply as a “casual” form of religiosity, this occurs all the time in Western countries. Many people view China through a strictly political lens when instead they should be viewing it (and other countries as well) from all perspectives, including a socioeconomic one. In order to truly be aware of the complexities of Chinese culture, one must understand the vital role religion plays.
I feel as though religion acts as a humanizing factor and a better understanding of others’ beliefs can bring people together. Despite all the turmoil in this world, religion still plays a role in the daily lives of many people, and in order for this world to become more just, a more tolerant and forgiving society needs to be more appreciative of the diversity that surrounds all of us.