The premise of Confucian teachings are centered around the idea of Jen or the virtueof humanity (Ching 68). To accomplish this divinity, five relationships mustbe honored: ruler and minister, father and son, husband and wife, elder andyounger brother, and friend and friend (Hopfe). These relationships led a pushfor a revolution of the political system to adopt the methods of Jen.
Confuciussought to revive the ancient Chinese culture by redefining the importance ofsociety and government. He described a society governed by reasonable, humane,and just sensibilities, not by the passions of individuals arbitrarily empoweredby hereditary status (Clearly). He felt that this could be achieved througheducation and the unification of cultural beliefs. He believed that a nationwould be benefited by citizens that were cultivated people whose intellectsand emotions had been developed and matured by conscious people (Clearly). Hefelt that those born into the feudal system were had a personal duty to excelsocially by means of power. Those who were of lesser class should also seek outeducation to better themselves. All purposes for betterment of man and societyas 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 perfectsociety; this strict respect was practiced through rituals and magic (Smith).The Confucius traditions have caused a tradition to set within its institutionand is extremely active. It has, unfortunately, allowed the politicalinstitution to manipulate the Confucius system. As with Christianity.Christianity also preaches a divine, brotherly love. Modern Christianity seeksto discover a rational understanding of the person as did Confucius (Ess ed.381); yet, Christianity feels that faith in the Jesus Christ as a personalsavior is essential to this enlightenment.
It was also under the guise ofChristianity that it had to confront totalitarian systems dehumanize uses ofpower in its sphere of influence (state and church, and these systemstriumphed under the banner of de-Christianization (Ess ed. 384). UnlikeConfucius reformers of their corrupt state pushed the beliefs of the true idealsof Confucius, Christians believed in an Absolute against all absolving of therelative, can protest in the name of God (Ess ed. 384).
Some would argue thatConfucius did support and an Absolute, but he described it as the entirety ofHeaven. Several scholars believe that his Heaven was analogous to the God untowhich Christians served. Christians feel that in order to also gain a Jen-likestatus one must have a serious relationship with the church and Jesus Christhimself. Confucius differed in that they feel that the body, mind and soul mustbe recognized as one to reach Jen (Smith). Through education or ritual practicesone gains wealth. With wealth one achieved power. These are the essentials toliving a good life (OBrire). However, relationships between men is the mostdesirable.
These aspects are the embodiment of Li. Li was love for authority andrespect for others (Alexander). Christianity also looks at wealth in a slightlydifferent manner.
At the heart of the Christian faith and at its source of itstraditions in Scripture is the belief in a covenant (Carmen 17). It is thepromise between God and the individual that ensures (through faith) that oneskindly actions on Earth will be divinely awarded. The five relationships of Jenare also honored in Christianity with references to Honor thy father andmother, for this is the first commandment with promise (Ephesians 6:1).
It isprevalent that Christianity and Confucius are very similar in their philosophy.Some would argue that Confucius lack of a strong theology is its failure tocomply with the Christian ethics. Others would say it is there drive to be avirtuous individual compensates for this tedium. They equally feel thatrelationships with neighbors and family is an integral part of becomingvirtuous. Even the spiritual outlook on the self is equivalent in the sense ofpurification. Christians rely on the teachings of Jesus while the Confucius looktowards those who have wealthy estates.
This point conveys that Christians maybe more dependent on their spiritual guidance opposed to the Confuciusexamination of the worldly infrastructure of trial and error. Thus it is notsurprising that when faced with a choice of both religions, an individuals meritmay be the deciding factor on which is more ideal for them.Philosophy