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Confucianism Religion Theology Assignment Papaer (Essay Sample)


confucianism religion

The term Confucianism is used to mean the religious and ethical ideas believed to have their origins in the teachings of Confucius. Confucianism is held by the Chinese for over 25 centuries now. The term is derived from the latinization of K’ung Fu-tze (K’ung the philosopher or Sage). It is believed that Jesuit missionaries who went to spread Christianity in China in the 19th century were the first to use term in its Latinized form that is Confucius and Confucianism. Although Confucianism is studied and considered as a religion, some authorities claim that it does not qualify to be classified as a religion. They claim that, because of its emphasis on the ethical and moral aspects of man, it neglects the supernatural and the life after death aspect of religion. Confucianism as a religion is a matter of some controversy. However, there are elements in Confucianism that would be employed to classify it as a religion. The following is a detailed discussion of the major aspects of the Confucianism religion.
Teachers of Confucianism
The following are some of the teachers of Confucianism and how they contributed to its spread.
Confucius: The Great Teacher
Confucius, who was known to be the founder of Confucianism religion, was born as Chiu K’ung in the state of Lu about the year 551 B.C. He lived and later died not far from his birthplace about the year 479 B.C. He was raised by his mother, his father having died while he was still a child. As a young person; Confucius showed great interest in teaching and observing the traditional rites of his people.
Born and raised in poverty and hopelessness at a time of great despair in China, Confucius felt the desire to study how a just, honest and peaceful government might be attained. From the very early in his life, Confucius believed that the solution to the problem of poverty and oppression in the China of his day was through proper education. If the ignorance of the people could be eliminated, he believed, all these problems would disappear and the people would be able to live in honor and dignity. He therefore devoted his life to the education of the people, both the poor and the nobility.
According to Berthrong (2014), Confucius also believed that constructive moral insights and a just and sound political strategy may be discovered in the meticulous study of the history of Chinese people. He held with austere idealism to the traditions of his forefathers and attached great significance to the preservation and imitation of their ceremony and ritual. He once says “True filial piety consists in successfully carrying out the unfinished work of our forefathers and transmitting their achievements to posterity…”
In most ways, Confucius desire was the revitalization of the ancient Chinese values which he thought had been corrupted. His commitment to harmonious relationships among persons and particularly between the family and the ruler that is, ruled relationships, and formed the central part of his moral teachings. He loved and practiced Chinese cultural traits, such as sense of humor, love of music and accepting all persons of his family. He hated hypocrisy and insincerity and promoted the dignity of each person. Confucius was married and had one son to whom he hoped to bequeath his teachings.
Philosophers argue about the details of his life. He was born in Shandong, which is a town near Confucius birthplace. It is said that he was raised near a school and began to imitate the students and teachers and gained a love of learning. He was said to have been taught by one of the grandchildren of Confucius himself. Mencius is regarded as the second most important philosopher of Confucianism.
He was more influential during his days than Confucius. He helped develop the strain of Confucianism teaching that was much later adopted in the doctrines of Confucianism based on the idea that man is born innately good. He trained influential noblemen and rulers. He wrote a book called Mencius, and became one of the most famous Confucians. In the book, he supplements the philosophy of Confucianism by a system of ideas positing the goodness and perfectibility of men. It is thought that the subject of the innate quality of man was left moot by Confucius himself. His era, there was a turbulent period of history when kingdoms were struggling for power.
Other disciples of Confucius, such as Hsun-Tzu also taught Confucianism and advanced it from one level to another, by teaching it to the Chinese people. The Confucianism religion has therefore been passed to a sequence of generations up to today.
The Scriptures and the Sacred books of Confucianism.
The most important sacred books are the Analects and the Five K’ing of Ch’ing, which contain the basic teachings of Confucius ethics. In the Analects there are several mentions of Heaven (T’ien). During the days of Confucius, there was a general belief in a divine power, (T’ien) and Confucius seems to have employed this belief in his approach to religious ideas. While he did not seem to understand T’ien as a personal reality, it does appear that he regarded it as a universal spirit that inspired and directed him. He is reported to have said “Heaven (T’ien) begat the virtue that is in me”. Confucius had considerable ceremonies in honor of the dead, and the veneration of the ancestors. He acknowledged and included in his heart the presence of something greater than himself.
Statistics about Confucianism followers
According to Ebrey (2014), there are over 300 million people who consider themselves as Confucianism followers although the exact figures cannot be ascertained. Confucianism permeates much of the Chinese culture and it is therefore difficult to determine the extent of the religion in the lives of the people. Confucianism is considered one of the three ways (Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism) that teach Tao (the way), accepted by Chinese people. It is therefore difficult to determine how many Chinese people are followers of one of the three religions without falling into the danger of duplication. However, it is evident from research that most of the Chinese people are followers of the Confucianism religion.
The Moral/Religious Philosophy of Confucianism
According to Sun (2013), the central teaching of Confucianism is argued to be based on morals and religion. In one of the four books of Confucianism, the Chung Yung, which became the basis of Confucian moral philosophy, it is explicitly stated that the sage, having realized the true integrity (ch’eng), becomes one with Heaven and Earth. Confucian moral metaphysics reaches over into the religious quest for unity with the ground of being. Confucianism gave emphasis to the ethical meaning of relationships. Confucius is remembered as the model of a great teacher on the concepts of order and harmony between the various segments of a society. Confucius defined the ideal man as one governed by propriety serious in personal conduct, deferential to superiors, just and benevolent to all people, particularly the poor. He observed the “filial piety”, which is the duty of sons to care for their parents and the veneration of the ancestors as prescribed by tradition.
He is best remembered for being the first to practice the “Golden Rule” which is interpreted as “what I do not wish others to do to me, that also I do not wish to do to them”. The central concept of Tao (The Way), which later was interpreted as harmony with the way of nature, was applied by Confucius to mean the “wa...
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