Most educated Chinese would likely admit to being at least influenced by Confucianism, but many would deny that this has anything to do with religion. A popular saying has it that “Every Chinese is a Confucian in good times, and a Taoist in times of disaster.” In prosperous and secure times one sees the practical, skeptical, and socially correct side of Chinese behavior. In times of stress and danger the Chinese are inclined to show their mystical and spiritual side.
KeywordsMoral Character Filial Piety Chinese Group Religious Person American Response
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- 1.“The Analects of the sage [Confucius] have... been annotated, taught, and reinterpreted throughout the last twenty centuries. But,... for the scholars who thus engaged themselves, Confucius was not a god and Confucianism was not a religion.” — Hsu, p. 264.Google Scholar
- 2.“With the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, all places of worship in the country were closed or put to other uses and religious personnel were made to do labor reform and sometimes even tortured and killed. *** Like Islam and Catholicism, Protestantism is a recreationary feudal ideology...with foreign and contacts... We are atheists; we believe only in Mao Tse-tung.” — Julia Ching. Probing China’s Soul (1990), pp.128–129.Google Scholar
- 3.This may be due to the recent rehabilitation in the PRC of many political prisoners previously condemned as rightists. Responses in the category of kill and execute receive nearly three times as much emphasis among PRC Chinese — a possible reflection of the government’s proclivity toward executions, even for economic, non-violent, crimes.Google Scholar