Zhuanyong wrote:Before anyone reads my post, please note that I have very limited knowledge on Confucianism.
My opinion based on what I do know and have observed on Confucianism, is that it is a philosophical means of how one can live out their life. However the philosophy itself, just as derekh hachaim, becomes a religion or way of faith-based observance once it is corregated with rituals, precepts, and denominational spawnings.
Anything can be pretty much made into a religion and given a standard name based on the doctrine or root of it's standing.
Korin wrote:this gonna stay a debate for a long time...
cause I believe it's more philosophy than religion
but then again
I don't really know much
I'm just going by of what I've read so don't judge me
this my opinion, don't take it as fact lol
Lady Wu wrote:If we're limiting to Confucius himself (and maybe add Mencius and Xunzi, basically the people of the Confucian school before there's such a thing), then no, he was not teaching religion. He was teaching people how to be good given the existing social/political/religious context. My extremely sloppy of a religion is that it is a set of beliefs that answer "why" questions ("why is there thunder?", "why is it not good to eat this kind of plant/animal?", "why do we exist?", "why is there suffering in the world?") by invoking a supernatural force or entity that cannot be directly experienced or observed. It's been a long time since I've read the Analects, but I don't think Confucius bothered to explain why certain things happen or why certain things have to be done, apart from that "it'll make society a better place." He was a humanist concerned with this life ("未知生，焉知死"), and while he probably believed in spirits and such (I personally think he's a religious person at heart), he advised against focusing too much on the supernatural ("敬鬼神而遠之").
Religions also require a leap of faith, and the only really leap of faith required in Confucianism is to believe in an underlying order (理) in the universe--which, really, modern science also requires. Confucius himself presented a social theory of this underlying order; other Confucians have extended it to natural phenomena (e.g., Dong Zhongshu). The supernatural realm plays no part in strict Confucianism.
Lady Wu wrote:What about temples and ancestor-worshipping, then? I think it's a bit of a cheat to ascribe that to Confucianism. Those "Confucian" practices really just piggy-back on existing indigenous/folk religion in Chinese culture. Worshipping Heaven and Earth is just acknowledging Man's role in the social order, and worshipping ancestors is an act of filial piety (and again, acknowledging social structure) more than supernatural piety. In fact, even if you eliminate temple worship completely from Confucianism, what you end up with is still unmistakably Confucianism. Occam's razor. You can be a complete atheist, someone who doesn't believe in the existence of things science cannot prove, and still be a good Confucian.
People get confused by Confucianism's (or Daoism's) status as a religion because Confucianism is a set of beliefs with a strong cultural background, and that cultural background involved spirits and gods. The concept of a single, supreme god (天帝), which the Jesuits jumped on, existed long before Confucius' time. By continuing to appeal to the "one god", the Chinese were simply continuing an ancient tradition/belief, rather than doing something particularly "Confucian". Of course, part of being Confucian was about continuing traditions, but I don't think it really mattered what the tradition was.
Starscream wrote:It depends on how you view Confucius and Confucianism. If you deify Confucius and perform rituals of worship to his individual person, then it is a religion. If you practice what he preached, then it is philosophy.
It is the same as Buddhism imo. However, Confucianism is a more down-to-earth philosophy that recommends behaviour that are ideal for maintaining social order and harmony. Confucius himself focused more on the mundane world than on transcendental elements. Though Confucius covered some areas of conducting proper rites and rituals, these relate to filial piety.
Starscream wrote:Then again, you have to define what you meant by "religion" and "philosophy". Does it involve all these?
- a doctrine
- a figure of worship
- thoughts and ideas
- followers and educators
Lady Wu wrote:What about temples and ancestor-worshipping, then? I think it's a bit of a cheat to ascribe that to Confucianism. Those "Confucian" practices really just piggy-back on existing indigenous/folk religion in Chinese culture. Worshipping Heaven and Earth is just acknowledging Man's role in the social order, and worshipping ancestors is an act of filial piety (and again, acknowledging social structure) more than supernatural piety. In fact, even if you eliminate temple worship completely from Confucianism, what you end up with is still unmistakably Confucianism. Occam's razor.
Lady Wu wrote:You can be a complete atheist, someone who doesn't believe in the existence of things science cannot prove, and still be a good Confucian.
WeiWenDi wrote:My personal take is that religion is an attempt to order values, beliefs and desires through ritual and mythic narrative, in relation to an experience of the sacred.
agga wrote:to argue from analogy, isn't this similar to christianity being a sort of 'rectification' of judaism?
again, by analogy, does this mean that many unitarian universalists (who might deny that there was anything supernatural about jesus, etc etc) are not religious?
and, argument from experience, when i (who grew up as a christian) have bowed to my wife's ancestors on many occasions, including at their graves, it really felt as though i were praying - though of course it's my only point of reference, it still seems to me that it's more than just a symbolic act.
i think that perpetuation through generations, especially from parents to children, is another important feature of a religion (obviously not a sufficient one, but necessary i would say), in particular one that distinguishes a religion from a cult. also, the way religious practices take a place within a family (with my personal experience with christianity, islam, hinduism, and confucianesque (as opposed to buddhaesque) chinese religion), seems to me pretty similar..
Lady Wu wrote:Confucius doesn't say anything about what deities are, what they do, why worship them, or what happens to people after they die. He pretty much leaves people to interpret what they will from existing religious traditions... I'm just saying that part of the definition of being religious is the belief in a system of supernatural or unmeasurable forces (which would include animists), and that Confucianism is silent on the existence or non-existence of such forces.
Lady Wu wrote:You're making the assumption that your wife practises that out of her Confucian values (and is she a self-professed Confucian?), rather than out of her Chinese tradition.
Lady Wu wrote:What about people who keep a moment of silence or take their hats off and bow in remembrance of the dead (Veteran's Day, death anniversaries, etc.)? Are they all necessary praying or believing in the spirits of the dead? Are they all religious by your argument?
Lady Wu wrote:Similarly, ancestor worship fits in nicely with the values Confucius promoted, but is not fundamental to Confucianism.
agga wrote:i think that perpetuation through generations, especially from parents to children, is another important feature of a religion ..., in particular one that distinguishes a religion from a cult. also, the way religious practices take a place within a family ..., seems to me pretty similar..
Lady Wu wrote:Was Christianity a cult then, at the time of the Disciples? Was Islam a cult, then, at the time of Mohammed? Was Buddhism a cult, then, when Siddhārtha Gautama travelled and taught in India?
Lady Wu wrote:I think you are confusing Confucianism with "what Chinese people believe". I maintain that Confucianism influences and is influenced by, but not equivalent to, Chinese traditional religion. I'd be interested to hearing what teaching of Confucianism you know fits in with your definition of a religion.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest
Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved