Confucianism And Christianityexample Essay

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Confucianism and Christianity

M. Douglas McKinney

Philosophy of Religion

The premise of Confucian teachings are centered around the idea of Jen

or the virtue 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 (Hopfe). 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 reasonable, humane, and just sensibilities, not by the passions of

individuals arbitrarily empowered by hereditary status (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

cultivated people whose intellects and emotions had been developed and matured

by conscious people (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 the

rationalized social order (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 rational understanding of the person 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 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 Absolute against all absolving of the

relative, can protest in the name of God (Ess ed. 384). 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 (O’Briere).

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. At the

heart of the Christian faith and at its source of its traditions in Scripture is

the belief in a covenant (Carmen 17). It is the promise between God and the

individual that ensures (through faith) that one’s kindly actions on Earth will

be divinely awarded. The five relationships of Jen are also honored in

Christianity with references to Honor 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

individuals merit may be the deciding factor on which is more ideal for them.


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