How true religion got corrupted in China
Over time, the Chinese began to add more and more gods and slowly worship moved away from the Supreme Deity. This is what God warned us not to.

(Exo 20:1-5 NIV)  And God spoke all these words: {2} “I am the LORD your God…{3} “You shall have no other gods before me. {4} “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. {5} You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…

出 埃 及 记
20:1 神吩咐这一切的话说,
20:2 我是耶和华你的神,曾将你从埃及地为奴之家领出来。
20:3 除了我以外,你不可有别的神。
20:4 不可为自己雕刻偶像,也不可作什么形像彷佛上天,下地,和地底下,水中的百物。
20:5 不可跪拜那些像,也不可事奉它,因为我耶和华你的神是忌邪的神。

What gods did the Chinese worship?

Humans deified as gods
Over time many gods were introduced into Chinese worship. Not only that, many of these gods were not from above but were formerly human beings.

For example, Kuan Kung 關公 (or Kuan Ti 關帝) was an actual historical figure, a general of the Han dynasty renowned for his skill as a warrior and his justness as a ruler. Because the Chinese respected him so much, they made him into a god.

Likewise for Buddha. He did not claim to be God and saw himself only as a teacher. However, after his death, his followers deified and worshipped him.

Buddha did not teach about religion. He taught a philosophy of life. He taught that the cause of all unhappiness is desire. The lust for power, success, money, sex and comfort results in suffering if these are not attained. Therefore, he taught that to be free from suffering one has to be free from all desires. What he taught was philosophy of life rather than religion.

The Bible agrees that craving and greed are bad and warned us against them.
(Col 3:5 NIV)  Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

歌 罗 西 书
3:5 所以要治死你们在地上的肢体。就如淫乱,污秽,邪情,恶欲,和贪婪,贪婪就与拜偶像一样。

There is nothing wrong with the core teachings of Buddhism. But it is not a religion; it is a philosophy and way of life. Even Buddha did not teach that he is god or ask his disciples to worship him.

Filial piety turned into ancestral worship
Ancestral worship is a component of Chinese religion. The rationale of ancestral worship is filial piety. Chinese believe that a person who does not worship his ancestors is not a filial person.

The Bible is not against filial piety. In fact, filial piety is one of the Ten Commandments. It is also the first commandment in the Bible that comes with a promise.

(Eph 6:2-3 NIV)  “Honour your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise– {3} “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

以 弗 所 书
6:2 要孝敬父母,使你们得福,在世长寿。
6:3 这是第一条带应许的诫命。

While the Bible teaches us to honour our parents, there is a great difference between honouring them when they are alive and worshipping them after they are dead.

The Bible tells us to honour our parents when they are live. But we are to worship only God.

Even animals deified as gods
Not only were respectable man made into gods, animals were also worshipped as gods. This is contrary to what God had intended for man. God intended for man to rule the world and be dominant over animals, certainly not to worship them.

(Gen 1:26 NIV)  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

创 世 纪
1:26 神说,我们要照着我们的形像,按着我们的样式造人,使他们管理海里的鱼,空中的鸟,地上的牲畜,和全地,并地上所爬的一切昆虫。

Man was created in the image of God and God intended for man to rule over the animals. But instead man chose to worship animals.

From what we see around us, we know that man is indeed dominating over animals. There is not a country in the world where men are ruled by animals. Therefore men make a mistake when they elevate animals to become an object of worship.

Many territorial gods
God is the Ruler over all the earth. He is not the God of only a specific location.
(Isa 37:16 NIV)  “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

以 赛 亚 书
37:16 坐在二基路伯上万军之耶和华以色列的神阿,你,惟有你,是天下万国的神。你曾创造天地。

The early Chinese worshipped the Supreme Ruler but later added many other gods. The Chinese today worship TU-TI KUNG 土地公, who is the local god. Usually portrayed as kindly, respectable old men, they see to it that the domains under their protection run smoothly.

Attributes of God became gods
Many Chinese worship the goddess Kuan Ying 观音, who is the goddess of mercy. This is an example of an attribute of God that was made into a separate god.

The Bible teaches us to marvel at the attributes of God.

(Psa 145:3, 7-8 NIV)  Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. {7} They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. {8} The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

诗 篇
145:3   耶和华本为大,该受大赞美。其大无法测度。
145:7   他们记念你的大恩,就要传出来,并要歌唱你的公义。
145:8   耶和华有恩惠,有怜悯,不轻易发怒,大有慈爱。

But we should not worship that attribute as a separate god.

The Bible tells us that God is merciful.

(Dan 9:9-10 NIV)  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; {10} we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.

但 以 理 書
9:9 主我们的神是怜悯饶恕人的,我们却违背了他,
9:10 也没有听从耶和华我们神的话,没有遵行他藉仆人众先知向我们所陈明的律法。

Yet we should not turn an attribute of God into a separate god. For example, you may have a friend who is a kind person. But that kindness is part of your friend; it is not a separate person.

Because of the failure to understand this, the Chinese have created for them numerous gods to represent the attributes of a one true God.

Besides the goddess of mercy, the Chinese also worship god of happiness, protection, etc.

Creation of God become gods themselves
The very first verse of the Bible teaches that God is the creator of everything.

(Gen 1:1 NIV)  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
创 世 纪
1:1 起初神创造天地。
The Bible teaches us to marvel at the creation of God for they are indeed wonderful.
(Psa 19:1 NIV)  The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
诗 篇
19:1     诸天述说神的荣耀,穹苍传扬他的手段。
However, we must be careful not to worship the created things of God.
The Chinese created for themselves many gods by making the created things of God into separate gods.
For example, there is a god of thunder 雷公.
The worship of the moon god is not as common today but in the past people worship the moon god as well.
God warns us against doing this.
(Rom 1:25 NIV)  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised.
罗 马 书
1:25 他们将神的真实变为虚谎,去敬拜事奉受造之物,不敬奉那造物的主。主乃是可称颂的,直到永远。
 (Deu 4:15-19 NIV)  Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, {16} so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, {17} or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, {18} or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. {19} And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars–all the heavenly array–do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.
申 命 记
4:16 惟恐你们败坏自己,雕刻偶像,彷佛什么男像女像,
4:17 或地上走兽的像,或空中飞鸟的像,
4:18 或地上爬物的像,或地底下水中鱼的像。
4:19 又恐怕你向天举目观看,见耶和华你的神为天下万民所摆列的日月星,就是天上的万象,自己便被勾引敬拜事奉它。

Man-made objects are worshipped
(Isa 44:14-17 NIV)  He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. ….{16} Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” {17} From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me; you are my god.”

以 赛 亚 书
44:14 他砍伐香柏树,又取柞(或作青桐)树和橡树,在树林中选定了一棵。
44:16 他把一分烧在火中,把一分烤肉吃饱。自己烤火说,阿哈,我暖和了,我见火了。
44:17 他用剩下的作了一神,就是雕刻的偶像,他向这偶像俯伏叩拜,祷告他说,求你拯救我,因你是我的神。
After building the most splendid temple the world has known, King Solomon dared not even think that the temple is worthy of God’s presence.
(2 Chr 6:18 NIV)  “But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!
历 代 志 下
6:18 神果真与世人同住在地上麽。看哪,天和天上的天尚且不足你居住的,何况我所建的这殿呢。
That is why it must be so displeasing to God for man to think that he can fashion an object with his hands and claim that his God dwells within it.

Blessings of God become gods themselves
The Bible teaches that we have a God who loves us and wants to bless us. One of the ways God blesses us is to make us prosperous. Believers in God do not lack good things.
(Deu 8:18 NIV)  But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
申 命 记
8:18 你要记念耶和华你的神,因为得货财的力量是他给你的,为要坚定他向你列祖起誓所立的约,像今日一样。
(Psa 91:14-16 NIV)  “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. {15} He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. {16} With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
诗 篇
91:14 神说,因为他专心爱我,我就搭救他。因为他知道我的名,我要把他安置在高处。
91:15 他若求告我,我就应允他。他在急难中,我要与他同在。我要搭救他,使他尊贵。
91:16 我要使他足享长寿,将我的救恩显明给他?/
God wants to bless us with every good thing – prosperity, protection, long life, etc. Yet men have made each good thing God has done into a separate god. For example, there is a god of wealth 财神, longevity, etc.

Gods are also created from mythology or story books
One example is the Monkey God, which was a character from a story book.