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Cults and World Religions

Confucianism



The question of history has always been whether this is a religion or an ethical philosophy of life. The religion seems to go back to the beginnings of the Chinese civilization.

The religious base of Confucianism is a combination of animism 242 and ancestor worship. Confucius lived 551-479 B.C. He was born Chiu Kung and is credited with establishing the ethical system which now bears his name. At his death, his disciples collected his sayings in the Analects. The social systems of China were destroying themselves in the time of Confucius and his solution was deliberate tradition.

The ethical system assumes that men have the freedom to make choices. It further assumes that man is basically good. The ultimate virtue is a combination of self-respect and humanitarian feelings toward others. Confucianism is credited with the “Silver Rule:” “What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to them.”

His approach was to follow the middle road, avoiding the extremes of either side. This includes respect for age and certain relationships: father/son, ruler/subject, elder brother/younger brother, friend/friend, and husband/wife.

Confucianism was more concerned with life on earth or not with heaven. It is a religion where ethics begins and ends with the wisdom of man. It is clearly a self-effort system. Confucius taught that man need no help beyond himself.

In the period of 206 B.C. - A.D. 220, Confucianism became the state religion of China. It remained the religion of the nation until 1912 with the formation of the Chinese Republic.

Footnote: 242. Animism is the belief that all matter is produced by a spiritual force which is separate from matter. This belief usually includes the idea that souls are independent of their physical being. This leads to both the concept of angels and demons, but also to the ability to communicate with the spirits and to become part of it.

 

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