Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of Religion :

The premise of Confucian teachings are centered around the idea of Jen or the ³virtue of humanity (Ching 68). To accomplish this divinity, five relationships must be honored: ruler and minister, father and son, husband and wife, elder and younger brother, and friend and friend (Hope). These relationships led a push for a revolution of the political system to adopt the methods of Jen. Confucius sought to revive the ancient Chinese culture by redefining the importance of society and government. He described a society governed by ³reasonable, humane, and just sensibilities, not by the passions of individuals arbitrarily empowered by hereditary status² (Clearly). He felt that this could be achieved through education and the unification of cultural beliefs. He believed that a nation would be benefited by citizens that were ³cultivated people whose intellects and emotions had been developed and matured by conscious people² (Clearly). He felt that those born into the feudal system were had a personal duty to excel socially by means of power. Those who were of lesser class should also seek out education to better themselves. All purposes for betterment of man and society as one whole is known as Li. Li means ³the rationalized social order² (Yutang). Confucius felt that love and respect for authority was a key to a perfect society; this strict respect was practiced through rituals and magic (Smith). The Confucius traditions have caused a tradition to set within its institution and is extremely active. It has, unfortunately, allowed the political institution to manipulate the Confucius system As with Christianity.

Christianity also preaches a divine, brotherly love. Modern Christianity seeks to discover a ³rational understanding of the person² as did Confucius (Ess ed. 381); yet, Christianity feels that faith in the Jesus Christ as a personal savior is essential to this enlightenment. It was also under the guise of Christianity that it had to confront totalitarian systems ³[dehumanize] uses of power in its sphere of influence (state and church, and [these] systems triumphed under the banner of de-Christianization (Ess ed. 384). Unlike Confucius reformers of their corrupt state pushed the beliefs of the true ideals of Confucius, Christians believed in an ³Absolute against all absolving of the relative, can protest in the name of God (Ess ed. 384).² Some would argue that Confucius did support and an Absolute, but he described it as the entirety of Heaven. Several scholars believe that his Heaven was analogous to the God unto which Christians served. Christians feel that in order to also gain a Jen-like status one must have a serious relationship with the church and Jesus Christ himself. Confucius differed in that they feel that the body, mind and soul must be recognized as one to reach Jen (Smith).

Through education or ritual practices one gains wealth. With wealth one achieved power. These are the essentials to living a good life (O¹Briére). However, relationships between men is the most desirable. These aspects are the embodiment of Li. Li was love for authority and respect for others (Alexander). Christianity also looks at wealth in a slightly different manner. ³At the heart of the Christian faith and at its source of its traditions in Scripture is the belief in a covenant (Carmen 17).² It is the promise between God and the individual that ensures (through faith) that one¹s kindly actions on Earth will be divinely awarded. The five relationships of Jen are also honored in Christianity with references to ³Honor thy father and mother, for this is the first commandment with promise (Ephesians 6:1).

It is prevalent that Christianity and Confucius are very similar in their philosophy. Some would argue that Confucius lack of a strong theology is its failure to comply with the Christian ethics. Others would say it is there drive to be a virtuous individual compensates for this tedium. They equally feel that relationships with neighbors and family is an integral part of becoming virtuous. Even the spiritual outlook on the self is equivalent in the sense of purification. Christians rely on the teachings of Jesus while the Confucius look towards those who have wealthy estates. This point conveys that Christians may be more dependent on their spiritual guidance opposed to the Confucius examination of the worldly infrastructure of trial and error. Thus it is not surprising that when faced with a choice of both religions, an individual’s merit may be the deciding factor on which is more ideal for them.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ahern, Emily M. The Cult of the Dead in a Chinese Village. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California; 1973.

Alitto, S. Guy. The Last Confucian: Liang Shu-ming and the Chinese Dilemma of Modernity. University of California Press, Berkeley; 1979.

Alexander, G. G. Confucius, the Great Teacher. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co., London; 1980.

Beversluis, Joel. A Source Book for Earth¹s Community of Religion. New York; 1995

Carmen, John B. and Donald G. Dawe. Christianity Faith In a Religiously Plural World. Orbis Books, New York; 1978.

Chan, W. T. Religious Trends in Modern China. Columbia University Press, New York – 1953

Ching, Julia and Hans Küng. Christianity and Chinese Religious. Doubleday, London – 1988

Clearly, Thomas. The Essential Confucius. Harper, San Fransico; 1992. Cochrane, Norris Charles. Christianity and Classical Culture. Oxford University Press - London; 1972

Conzlemann, Hans. The History of Primitive Christianity. Abingdon Press, New York – 1973

Philosophy of Religion - Philosophy of Religion - Philosophy of Religion

More Essays on Philosophy

Philosophy of Religion :

Essays Index

Philosophy of Religion To HOME PAGE

Related Links : Philosophy of Religion