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Confucianism - Lesson Four Confucianism HUM 216"World...

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Lesson Four Confucianism HUM 216 “World Religions” Spring Semester 2008 Discussion Outline 1. The Basic Characteristics of Chinese Religion 2. The Religious World View of Indian Religions 1) The Given Human Condition: Disharmony 2) The Cause of the Human Condition: Turning from Harmony 3) The Given Reality for Life: Harmony of Yin and Yang 4) The Goal for Life: The Way of Harmony 5) The Transformational Path: Practice and Living in Harmony 3. Basic Considerations in the Study of Confucianism 4. The Religious Language of Confucianism 1) Pronunciation of Chinese Terms 2) The Family of Terms and Concepts 5. Introduction to Confucianism 6. Confucius 7. The Basic Teachings 8. The Philosophical Schools of Thought 9. Mencius 10. Xun-zi 11. Questions and Hints for Reading Molloy Reading Assignment: Molloy: Chapter 6, General Chinese religion and Confucianism Handbook : Confucianism
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Chinese Religion We begin our study of religion in East Asia by reviewing the general world view of the Chinese culture. The following points need to be understood: 1. In the study of Chinese religion two traditions are important for our present purposes: Confucianism and Daoism. 1) The two religions provide contrasting view of human life and yet both have the same goals of resolving the problems associated with life on earth. 2) In order to understand more fully the two religions, we shall have to determine the kind of individuals who would embrace each religion. 3) Both religions are considered natural religions. Confucianism and Daoism are religions of the Chinese people. Both influence the social structures and the social/political world view of the Chinese culture. 2. The Indian culture is a theistic religious environment, even though Buddhism was basically atheistic in its philosophy. 3. The nature of religion in India is other-worldly, which reflected a basic pessimistic outlook on life. Life is in need of liberation from the present world. In China, the view is quite different. 4. The Chinese world view is influenced by a this-worldly point of view. Life is seen in a more optimistic way. That is, life and its problems can be corrected in the present world. 5. Chinese religions do not stress salvation in the way we understand the concept in the West. Salvation is related more to the daily experiences of the present world where truth and meaning for life are to be discovered. The Basic Characteristics of Chinese Religion Some important considerations must be stated at the beginning of our discussion of the basic nature of Chinese religion. 1. The practice of religion in China is quite different from the way religion is followed in the West. 2
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1) In the West, we typically relate to only one religious tradition. In other words, we would not normally be members of a synagogue and a mosque at the same time. We tend to participate in one religion, even though the West is quite diverse in its religious traditions.
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