EDIT: after too broad closure, split into:

The Chinese government has made lots of publicity against Falun Gong, but they have a political agenda so they are not a good source.

But of course, we cannot rely on Falun Gong related sources either.

So are there other external sources that claim that Falun Gong is good or bad, either for believers' well being, or for society in general?

In particular is it worse / better than other religions, specially those with similar number of believers? Falun Gong claims 200M believers today, many sources claim 70M at the time of the ban in China, so I think it is safe to assume that there are at least lower tens of millions. Other religions can be found here.

The only obvious concern I can see is the possibility that Li Hongzhi, the only prophet of the religion, is actually evil or crazy, given the large amount of power he has over believers. But I haven't seen evidence of that so far. And the same could be asked about Jesus?

DISCLAIMER: my girlfriend does Falun Gong. I don't, and I'm agnostic. I only want the truth. I am however for freedom of religion, unless the religion in question causes serious harm to believers or society.

  • @Oddthinking: I understand the close, but the "bad for practicionners" question can be compared to skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1325/… , and the bad for society question to skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/18539/… Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 6:40
  • 1
    I think these are false analogies. A key claim of Falun Gong (over qigong techniques) is spiritual enlightenment. Does spiritual enlightenment exist? Matter of faith. Does the effort and risks of Falun Gong outweigh the possibility of spiritual enlightenment? Matter of opinion. Would it be better for society to have more people who are spiritually enlightened? Matter of opinion. Is Li Hongzhi evil? Matter of opinion. Do qigong practices improve health? Possibly in scope, but I'd like to see a more specific claim.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 7:39
  • @Oddthinking I agree that spiritual enlightenment is not measurable, but I did not mention that, and intended to have only "harder" measures like money or health issues. By "Is Li Hongzhi evil?" I meant "does not really believe in it, and only exploits believers" or "orders believers to do evil things like killing themselves". But fair enough, I will try to split this into one question per precise Communist / Falun Gong claim. Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 7:46
  • Be aware that it will be very difficult to assign causality of an outcome to believing in Falun Gong, because we can't do randomised controlled trials. We may be able to measure, for example, the effects of meditation on blood pressure (but be sure to find a notable claim of that.)
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 7:55
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    Is Catholicism evil? Is LaVeyan Satanism evil? All a question of point of view. When you want to know how true the Chinese anti Falun Gong propaganda is, you might want to ask about specific claims, like "Is the claim by the Chinese government that Falun Gong practices [X] true?"
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 12:44


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