History of the Religion of China

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History of the Religion of China

Brief History of the Religion of ChinaReligion- 宗教 ZōngjiàoChina's religion has a complex past and history. In the Shang dynasty, divination was common. Cattle scapulae or turtle plastrons had a hole bored into them and intense heat was applied, causing the shell to crack. The diviners read the cracks as lucky or unlucky. The Ch'oe Dynasty was when Confucius and Mo-tzu lived. Both taught a religion that placed importance in virtue, humanity, the importance of social relationships, and a just ruler. The Han Dynasty was the first dynasty to accept Confucianism. During this dynasty, the concept of the Mandate of Heaven came to be widely accepted. The Mandate of Heaven was the concept that the Emperor recieved the right to rule from Heaven. Toward the end of the Han Dynasty, Buddism and Taiosm emerged. During the period of turbulence after the Han Dynasty, Buddism spread, new Buddist schools were established, and its popularity grew. During the Sung Dynasty, philosophers began to answer the questions posed in Confucian Classics. Finally, in the early years of the People's Republic of China, religion was treated with a hostile attitude. In the late 1970's, this hostile attitude ended, and China allowed free religion (with some restrictions). In the mid 1990's, many destroyed Buddhist temples were reconstructed. Today, the people of China enjoy the right to practice their religion of choice.

History of the Religion of China

Christianity in ChinaAbout 7.25% of Chinese people today are Christian. Although this number may seem insignificant, Christianity has deep roots and history in China. The Mongols captured China and started the Yuan Dynasty, which ruled from 1279-1368. In 1294, the Catholic pope sent a missionary to Beijing. The Mongols were tolerant of other religions, and they allowed the Catholics to build churches. By the end of the Yuan Dynasty, there were many Catholics in the area around Beijing. However, the Chinese did not like the Mongols, and when they rebelled against the Mongols, they also attacked the Catholics. During the Ming Dynasty, Catholics were expelled. Toward the end of the Ming Dynasty, there was a reformation of Christianity in Europe, and a group of Jesuits sent missionaries to Asia. In 1582, a Jesuit named Ricci went to Beijing. He spread Catholicism through China. In 1644, The Manchus conquered China and established the Qing Dynasty. The number of Catholics increased during the Qing Dynasty. But, one Qing emperor ordered that the churches be destroyed or confiscated, and Catholism dropped. In the 1800s, Protestant and Evangelical missionaries arrived from Europe and America. Many missionaries established schools and hospitals. Then in 1899, the Boxer Rebellion started when armed groups began attacking missionaries and Chinese Christians. The rebellion turned into an open attack on foreign armies in conjunction with the Qing army. The attack failed. Sun Yat-Sen was born in 1866 in Guangdong. He is called the most prominent baptized Christian in Chinese history. He traveled around the world to organize people and collect funding. He helped to organize a revolution against the Qing that was successful, and in 1912, Sun Yat-Sen became temporary president of the Republic of China. After he died, the Chinese government divided into Communist and Nationalist factions. The Nationalists initially controlled most of the country. Chiang Kai-shek was another Chinese president who was a baptized Christian. By the time the Nationalist government was driven out of China in 1949, it there were about 3 million Chinese Catholics and almost a million Chinese Protestants. After that, the Cultural Revolution in China occured. During the revolution, all religions were oppressed. Eventually, Christianity made its come back. Chinese Christianity is different because women are leaders and the religion is miracle focused. Christianity has a long history, and although it is not a major religion, it has significance in Chinese history.

Confucianism has two main virtues, Jen and Li. Jen (pronounced Ren) is the highest Confucius value. It translates into humanity, and it represents empathy and care. The value is present in Christianity too, with the Ten Commandments. One of the greatest commandments is the golden rule, which is represented by Jen. Jen is the Confucius equivalent of the golden rule. Li, the other virtue, translates into ritual and etiquette. Through Li, all of life is ritualized and declared sacred. Through it, life is properly ordered and harmony is established. Also through Li, the five relationships of Confucius are developed. The first relationship is ruler to subject. This means the ruler is the superior of the two. The ruler should be respected by the subject, and also prove himself worthy of the respect. The same concepts apply for the four relationships, father and son, husband and wife, oldest son and younger brother, and elders and juinors. This goes along with the concept of Shu, which is seen in the five relationships as follows:1. Benevolence in rulers, loyalty in subject2. Kindness in father, reverence in son3. Right behavior of husband, obedience of wife 4. Gentleness in oldest son, respect in younger sibling5. Humane consideration in elders, humility and respect in juniorsLi is carried out by respecting the relationships and practicing the proper rituals and etiquette. Together, Jen and Li create a disciplined person who behaves properly in every situation and is motivated by care, compassion, and empathy. This person is called the junzi, or superior person. They controlled their actions according to Jen and Li. Junzi emanate a special force called te, which compels others to follow their example. This makes these people perfect members of the society, and the goal of Confucianism is the cultivation moral character.

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