Confucius: His testimony for one God and against Pauline Dogma

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

As all humans are God’s creation, it stands to reason that God not only guided people in the Middle East through Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus, but, He also guided other people through prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster. If this be true there should be some common theme between their teachings, a common thread, a clue that these teachings are all emanating from a common source, one and the same glacier feeds all these rivers of wisdom.

Absence of Trinity, Original Sin and Pauline atonement in Confucius’s teachings should serve as an epiphany to every fair and open minded Christian.

This is not just a Muslim paradigm but some Christian missionaries have yielded to this frame of reasoning. Don Richardson is a Canadian Christian missionary, who worked among the tribal people of Western New Guinea, Indonesia. He argues in his writings that, hidden among tribal cultures, there are usually some practices or understandings, which he calls ‘Redemptive Analogies,’ which can be used to illustrate the meaning of the Christian Gospel.

In 1962, he and his wife Carol went to work among the Sawi tribe of what was then Dutch New Guinea. Richardson labored to show the villagers a way that they could comprehend Jesus from the Bible, but the cultural barriers to understanding and accepting this teaching seemed impossible until an unlikely event brought the concept of the substitutionary atonement of Christ into immediate relevance for the Sawi.

Missionary historian Ruth A. Tucker writes:

As he learned the language and lived with the people, he became more aware of the gulf that separated his Christian worldview from the worldview of the Sawi: ‘In their eyes, Judas, not Jesus, was the hero of the Gospels, Jesus was just the dupe to be laughed at.’ Eventually Richardson discovered what he referred to as a Redemptive Analogy that pointed to the Incarnate Christ far more clearly than any biblical passage alone could have done. What he discovered was the Sawi concept of the Peace Child.

Three tribal villages were in constant battle at this time. The Richardsons were considering leaving the area, so to keep them there, the Sawi people in the embattled villages came together and decided that they would make peace with their hated enemies. Ceremonies commenced that saw young children being exchanged between opposing villages. Observing this, Richardson wrote: “if a man would actually give his own son to his enemies, that man could be trusted!” From this rare picture came the analogy of God’s sacrifice of his own Son. The Sawi began to understand the teaching of the incarnation of Christ in the Gospel after Richardson explained God to them in this way.

This time Don Richardson had duped them into a different irrationality. If we apply the principles of ‘redemptive analogy’ to reformers and prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster we will realize quickly that Unitarianism is the way to go!

As all humans are God’s creation, it stands to reason that God not only guided people in the Middle East through Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus, but, He also guided other people through prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster. If this be true there should be some common theme between their teachings, a common thread, a clue that these teachings are all emanating from a common source, the same glacier feeds all these rivers of wisdom. The gulf between Pauline Christianity and all the other world religions is an illuminating testimony to the fact that St. Paul changed Christianity from the religion of Jesus to a religion about his death and imagined resurrection.

There is a concept in Buddhism of countless Buddha.  Encyclopedia Britannica states, “According to the various traditions of Buddhism, there have been buddhas in the past and there will be buddhas in the future.”[1]  This resonates with the Islamic teaching that there have been 124,000 prophets in different times and different parts of the world.

The testimony of One God is everywhere and Trinity is no where to be seen in our universe. The universe and all life forms on our planet earth speak of One God and not three.

Historically also other than the Christians we find no testimony of Trinity in other regions of the earth and other religions. Even looking at the local population of the Middle East, Jews are strict monotheists. Even among the Christians we still have a sect named Unitarians.

The word Trinity is not even mentioned in the New Testament. It is stated in 1890 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, “The Trinitarians and the Unitarians continued to confront each other, the latter at the beginning of the third century still forming the large majority.”

With a little effort One God can be traced in all religions, but the three persons and one substance of Trinity is nowhere to be seen, except in Pauline dogma.
The concept of there being prophets in all regions of the world, is self evident to the Muslims who grow up with the Quranic teachings, “Indeed, We have sent thee with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and as a Warner; and there is no people on earth in any age who did not receive a Warner from God.”  (Al Quran: 35:25) This is not just a Muslim paradigm but some Christian missionaries have yielded to this frame of reasoning as well, the case in point is a Christian missionary and Islamophobe Don Richardson.  I borrow the description of his concept of ‘Redemptive Analogies’ from wikipedia here.

Richardson studied at the Prairie Bible Institute and the Summer Institute of Linguistics. In 1962, he and his wife Carol went to work among the Sawi tribe of what was then Dutch New Guinea in the service of the Regions Beyond Missionary Union. The Sawi were known to be cannibalistic headhunters. In their new home in the jungle, the Richardsons set about learning the native Sawi language which was daunting in its complexity. There are 19 tenses for every verb. Don was soon able to become proficient in the dialect after a schedule of 8-10 hours daily learning sessions.
Richardson labored to show the villagers a way that they could comprehend Jesus from the Bible, but the cultural barriers to understanding and accepting this teaching seemed impossible until an unlikely event brought the concept of the substitutionary atonement of Christ into immediate relevance for the Sawi.

Missionary historian Ruth A. Tucker writes:

As he learned the language and lived with the people, he became more aware of the gulf that separated his Christian worldview from the worldview of the Sawi: ‘In their eyes, Judas, not Jesus, was the hero of the Gospels, Jesus was just the dupe to be laughed at.’ Eventually Richardson discovered what he referred to as a Redemptive Analogy that pointed to the Incarnate Christ far more clearly than any biblical passage alone could have done. What he discovered was the Sawi concept of the Peace Child.[2]

Three tribal villages were in constant battle at this time. The Richardsons were considering leaving the area, so to keep them there, the Sawi people in the embattled villages came together and decided that they would make peace with their hated enemies. Ceremonies commenced that saw young children being exchanged between opposing villages. One man in particular ran toward his enemy’s camp and literally gave his son to his hated foe. Observing this, Richardson wrote: “if a man would actually give his own son to his enemies, that man could be trusted!” From this rare picture came the analogy of God’s sacrifice of his own Son. The Sawi began to understand the teaching of the incarnation of Christ in the Gospel after Richardson explained God to them in this way.

Following this event many villagers converted to Christianity, a translation of the New Testament in Sawi was published, and nearly 2,500 Sawi patients were treated by Carol. The world’s largest circular building made strictly from un-milled poles was constructed in 1972 as a Christian meeting place by the Sawi.

This time Don Richardson following in the footsteps of Judas had duped them into a different irrationality, this was another case of bait and switch, which is commonly employed consciously or unconsciously by the Christian apologists to defend all their dogma, they present the proofs and need of One God and then sell to the naive three persons in one being of Trinity, without offering any proof for the Triune God. Here Richardson exploited the Peace Child to sell the Christian dogma of substitution atonement, emphasis being on substitution in atonement as well as in bait and switch.  Peace Child was no out of this world phenomenon like the Christian atonement, there was a common practice of intermarriages in the medieval Indian states to ensure peace, the premise was that if your daughter was in a certain state or province you are not going to attack that state.  This has little if any commonality with God killing his own son for the redemption of mankind.  Analogy would be befitting if God leaves mankind with his living son as insurance or assurance against any plan of punishment on His part so that humans feel safe from any negative intervention from the Almighty!

Was the Sawi conversion due to the powerful reasoning of ‘Redemptive Analogy,’ or the economic considerations of the medicines and the large church building?  In the case of Sawi we will never know, but if we apply the principles of ‘Redemptive Analogy’ to larger well documented religions and reformers and prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster, we will realize quickly that Unitarianism is the way to go, feel free to choose between Judaism, Unitarian Christianity or Islam!

Richardson has covered his experiences and his scholarship in his books Eternity in Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World and Peace Child.  However, a more critical reading of the materials that he presents and supplementing information on the topic from other sources actually argues the Muslim position that with a little effort One God can be traced in all religions, but the three persons and one substance of Trinity is no where to be seen, except in Pauline dogma.

This time Richardson had duped them into a different irrationality, which has no basis in any other religious tradition.  It was a false analogy.  No Sawi was sacrificing his son for the sins of anyone else.  Some Sawi fathers had only offered their sons as a collateral or a human shields to avoid war but Richardson in his obesession with the person of Jesus of Nazareth imagined that there was some redemptive analogy here.  Christian atonement is a contradiction that is not found in any other religious tradition.  It is very concisely explained by one of the Founding Fathers of USA, Thomas Paine:

From the time I was capable of conceiving an idea, and acting upon it by reflection, I either doubted the truth of the Christian system, or thought it to be a strange affair; I scarcely knew which it was: but I well remember, when about seven or eight years of age, hearing a sermon read by a relation of mine, who was a great devotee of the church, upon the subject of what is called Redemption by the death of the Son of God. After the sermon was ended, I went into the garden, and as I was going down the garden steps (for I perfectly recollect the spot) I revolted at the recollection of what I had heard, and thought to myself that it was making God Almighty act like a passionate man, that killed his son, when he could not revenge himself any other way; and as I was sure a man would be hanged that did such a thing, I could not see for what purpose they preached such sermons. This was not one of those kind of thoughts that had anything in it of childish levity; it was to me a serious reflection, arising from the idea I had that God was too good to do such an action, and also too almighty to be under any necessity of doing it. I believe in the same manner to this moment; and I moreover believe, that any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system.  (Thomas Paine)

confucius2

A statue of Confucius, located in Hunan, China on the shore of the Dongting Lake.

Prof. Mark W Muesse wrote about the teachings of Confucius that negate St. Paul’s unwarranted emphasis on belief alone that in the Protestant theology is termed Sola Gratia: 

Confucius intended his teachings to be implemented and practiced, not merely pondered and evaluated. As we shall do for each of the other figures, we turn now to give consideration to the aspect of his teaching I have categorized as spiritual discipline. Under this rubric, I include those exercises and activities that these teachers promoted as ways of nudging their followers closer to what they considered human fulfillment, however that might be understood. Each of our four figures (Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad) regarded these practical disciplines as essential to their teachings. These practices were not optional activities for those interested in extra credit but the very means by which each teacher sought to share his vision with others. In a very meaningful sense, therefore, we cannot completely appreciate what anyone of them taught until we have actually taken the path he set forth and walked it to the end.
My choice of that metaphor, by the way, is deliberate. Confucius, the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad each referred to his spiritual practice as ‘the way’ or ‘the path.’ Muhammad spoke of Islam as the ‘straight path;’ Jesus called himself ‘the way and the truth and the life,’ and one of early Christianity’s names for itself was simply ‘the Way;’ the Buddha established the ‘Noble Path’ to nibbana; and Confucius urged people to follow the way, or dao, of Heaven. Each teacher believed taking his path required commitment and disciplined action.
Confucius thought that continual practice of mannerly acts could engender sincere feelings in the one who performs them. You may not feel particularly humble, but after several thousand bows and prostrations, feelings of genuine humility begin to surface. Humans are habitual creatures, and so repetitious actions can do amazing things to transform the character. Aristotle said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do.’ John Dryden, the English poet and playwright, also observed the dialectical relationship between behavior and character. He said: ‘We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.’ As character is shaped by behavior, the performance of humane acts becomes natural and spontaneous. It loses the artificial quality that may have attended it at first. For Confucius, this dialectical relationship between the external act and the intemal disposition is the key to understanding how both ritual and decorum can make us more humane.[3]

The testimony of One God is every where and Trinity is no where to be seen in our universe. The universe and all life forms on our planet earth speak of One God and not three.

Historically also other than the Christians we find no testimony of Trinity in other regions of the earth and other religions. Even looking at the local population of the Middle East, Jews are strict monotheists. Even among the Christians we still have a sect named Unitarians.

The word Trinity is not even mentioned in the New Testament. It is stated in 1890 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, “The Trinitarians and the Unitarians continued to confront each other, the latter at the beginning of the third century still forming the large majority.”

With a little effort One God can be traced in all religions, but the three persons and one substance of Trinity is no where to be seen except in Pauline dogma.
Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad writes about Confucianism in his book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth in the chapter Confucianism:

Mencius said:
‘It is said in the ‘Book of Poetry’:
‘Heaven, in producing mankind,
Gave them their various faculties and relations with their specific laws.
These are the invariable rules of nature for all to hold,
And all love this admirable virtue.’
The term “Heaven”, as understood by Mencius is a Conscious Being and it is interchangeable with our term of God. Heaven may be seen to symbolize the active and conscious creative principles of God. Thus he says:
‘This is illustrated by what is said in the ‘Book of Poetry,’—
“Be always studious to be in harmony with the ordinances of God,
So you will certainly get for yourself much happiness;’
Classical Confucianism, undoubtedly, presents man as a creation of God rather than just a product of unconscious nature. For Confucius, the ultimate goal in attaining knowledge of one’s own nature is to attain harmony with God, and this is the ultimate of man’s vision of heaven. This belief is quite similar to the Quranic teaching in presenting man as having been created according to God’s attributes.
… and follow the nature (attributes) of Allah after which He fashioned all mankind… (Al Quran 30:31)

There is plenty of evidence out there to suggest that Confucius believed in one supreme God for which he used the expression Heaven.  Prof. Mark W Muesse wrote:

But hesitancy does not mean silence in this case. Scattered throughout the Analects are references to the principal metaphysical concepts of ancient China. We will discuss these foundational ideas and then examine how they functioned in Confucius’ thought. Although Confucius did not speculate or speak much about the world of gods and spirits, he clearly thought that acknowledging the divine in certain ways was essential to human welfare.

Like all Chinese of his day, Confucius accepted the ancient belief that reality comprised two worlds, the realm of Heaven and the realm of Earth. Heaven, or tiiin, was the domain of gods, spirits, and ancestors; Earth, or di, was the sphere of humans and nature. One of the Chinese terms for the universe or cosmos was tiandi, a simple compound of both words. As this compound suggests, Heaven and Earth could not be thought of apart from one another. They formed a holistic and symbiotic unity. Each one depended on the other. The western conception of the absolute transcendence of god, as exemplified in Soren Kierkegaard’s famous claim that there is an “infinite qualitative difference” between god and humanity, was utterly foreign to the Chinese way of thinking. Heaven and Earth were permeable realms, and there was an intimate connection between them. The many gods and spirits of the universe were thought to be immediately available to human beings, and hence they could be consulted by means of divination and could even enter and possess individuals.

Due to the interdependence of Heaven and Earth, the well-being of everyone and everything in them rested on their harmonious relationship. Preserving this harmony was one of the king’s principal functions. One of the earliest narratives of Chinese history states that the ruler’s primary responsibility was “pacifying the multitude of spirits and putting in harmony the myriad of people,” and if this was not done, “the spirits will be incensed against him and the people will revolt.” Accordingly, the king was charged with performing the appropriate rituals and sacrifices to curry the favor of the divine figures whose good graces were essential to the well-being of the state and its citizens.

The idea of Heaven in Chinese philosophy and religion meant more than just the dwelling place of the divine beings, although it certainly included that. Originally, tian simply meant the “sky,” but over the centuries from the Shang dynasty down to Confucius’ time, the idea of Heaven came to accumulate a rich variety of meanings. During the Shang, tian appears to have been a generic term for the heavenly realm. The people of the Shang imagined this divine world as a heavenly court that paralleled the royal court on earth.

As the earthly king governed through a bureaucracy of nobles, counselors, and various other ministers of state, so the high god ruled heaven with his spiritual minions and assistants. The Shang people called the high god Shang Di, the Supreme Emperor or the Supreme Ancestor. Although he was never depicted by physical representations, Shang Di was imagined to preside over a court that included many lesser divinities, or shen, that controlled, or at least influenced, the powers of the natural and human worlds. These were the gods and spirits the Chinese turned to for help in matters of agriculture, hunting, military campaigns, health, and longevity. The high god would not be bothered for these trivial, mundane concerns. Unlike Shang Di, the lower gods were not universal and did not have broad powers; most were decidedly local, such as the town or village gods whose power extended only as far as the city limits, like the jurisdiction of a municipal magistrate.[4]

From the Wikipedia article about Confucius

His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism (法家) or Taoism (道家) during the Han Dynasty[3][4][5] (206 BC – 220 AD). Confucius’ thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism (儒家). It was introduced to Europe by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who was the first to Latinise the name as “Confucius”.

His teachings may be found in the Analects of Confucius (論語), a collection of “brief aphoristic fragments”, which was compiled many years after his death. For nearly 2,000 years he was thought to be the editor or author of all the Five Classics (五經)[6][7] such as the Classic of Rites (禮記) (editor), and the Spring and Autumn Annals (春秋) (author).

Kong Qiu (孔丘), as Confucius is commonly known, is a combination of his surname (孔) and his given name (丘), and he was also known as Zhong Ni (仲尼), which is his courtesy name. He was born in 551 BC in the Lu state[8] (This state was in the south of modern-day Shandong Province) in the later days of the Spring and Autumn Period. Confucius was from a warrior family. His father Shulianghe (叔梁紇) was a famous warrior who had military exploits in two battles and owned a fiefdom. Confucius lost his father when he was three years old, and then his mother Yan Zhengzai (顏徵在) took him and left the fiefdom because as a concubine (妾), she wanted to avoid mistreatment from Shulianghe’s formal wife. Thus, Confucius lived in poverty with his mother since childhood. With the support and encouragement of his mother, Confucius was very diligent in his studies. When Confucius was seventeen years old, his mother died as a result of illness and overwork. Three years later, Confucius married a young woman who was from the Qiguan family (亓官氏) of the Song state (宋) . Though he had a mild tempered wife who loved him, he left his family to strive for his ideals. Confucius sought to revive the perfect virtue of Huaxia (Chinese civilization) and the classical properties of the Western Zhou Dynasty to build a great, harmonious and humanistic society.

His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism (法家) or Taoism (道家) during the Han Dynasty[3][4][5] (206 BC – 220 AD). Confucius’ thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism (儒家). It was introduced to Europe by the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who was the first to Latinise the name as “Confucius”.

His teachings may be found in the Analects of Confucius (論語), a collection of “brief aphoristic fragments”, which was compiled many years after his death. For nearly 2,000 years he was thought to be the editor or author of all the Five Classics (五經)[6][7] such as the Classic of Rites (禮記) (editor), and the Spring and Autumn Annals (春秋) (author).

Kong Qiu (孔丘), as Confucius is commonly known, is a combination of his surname (孔) and his given name (丘), and he was also known as Zhong Ni (仲尼), which is his courtesy name. He was born in 551 BC in the Lu state[8] (This state was in the south of modern-day Shandong Province) in the later days of the Spring and Autumn Period. Confucius was from a warrior family. His father Shulianghe (叔梁紇) was a famous warrior who had military exploits in two battles and owned a fiefdom. Confucius lost his father when he was three years old, and then his mother Yan Zhengzai (顏徵在) took him and left the fiefdom because as a concubine (妾), she wanted to avoid mistreatment from Shulianghe’s formal wife. Thus, Confucius lived in poverty with his mother since childhood. With the support and encouragement of his mother, Confucius was very diligent in his studies. When Confucius was seventeen years old, his mother died as a result of illness and overwork. Three years later, Confucius married a young woman who was from the Qiguan family (亓官氏) of the Song state (宋) . Though he had a mild tempered wife who loved him, he left his family to strive for his ideals. Confucius sought to revive the perfect virtue of Huaxia (Chinese civilization) and the classical properties of the Western Zhou Dynasty to build a great, harmonious and humanistic society.

The Analects of Confucius

In the Analects (論語), Confucius presents himself as a “transmitter who invented nothing”.[6] He puts the greatest emphasis on the importance of study,[9][10] and it is the Chinese character for study (or learning) that opens the text. In this respect, he is seen by Chinese people as the Greatest Master.[11] Far from trying to build a systematic theory of life and society or establish a formalism of rites, he wanted his disciples to think deeply for themselves and relentlessly study the outside world,[12] mostly through the old scriptures and by relating the moral problems of the present to past political events (like the Annals) or past expressions of feelings by common people and reflective members of the elite, preserved in the poems of the Book of Odes (詩經).[13][14]

In times of division, chaos, and endless wars between feudal states, he wanted to restore the Mandate of Heaven (天命) that could unify the “world” (天下, “all under Heaven”) and bestow peace and prosperity on the people.[15] Because his vision of personal and social perfections was framed as a revival of the ordered society of earlier times, Confucius is often considered a great proponent of conservatism, but a closer look at what he proposes often shows that he used (and perhaps twisted) past institutions and rites to push a new political agenda of his own: a revival of a unified royal state, whose rulers would succeed to power on the basis of their moral merits instead of lineage;[16][17] these would be rulers devoted to their people, striving for personal and social perfection.[18] Such a ruler would spread his own virtues to the people instead of imposing proper behavior with laws and rules.[19]

Although Confucianism is often followed in a religious manner by the Chinese, arguments continue over whether it is a religion. Confucianism does not lack an afterlife, the texts express simple views concerning Heaven, and is relatively unconcerned with some spiritual matters often considered essential to religious thought, such as the nature of the soul.

Confucius’ principles gained wide acceptance primarily because of their basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He expressed the well-known principle, “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself” (One of the earliest versions of the Golden Rule). He also looked nostalgically upon earlier days, and urged the Chinese, particularly those with political power, to model themselves on earlier examples.

Because no texts survive that are demonstrably authored by Confucius, and the ideas most closely associated with him were elaborated in writings that accumulated over the period between his death and the foundation of the first Chinese empire in 221 BC, many scholars are very cautious about attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself.

My references

1. “Buddha.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 07 Jan. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/83105/Buddha&gt;.
2. Tucker, Ruth (1983). From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya A Biographical History of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. ISBN 0310239370. Page 477.
3. Prof. Mark W Muesse. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. The Great Courses transcript book, 2010. Pages 103-109.
4. Prof. Mark W Muesse. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. The Great Courses transcript book, 2010. Pages64-66.

Wikipedia References

  1. ^ More commonly abbreviated to Chinese: 孔子; pinyin: Kǒngzǐ; see Names section
  2. ^ “Confucius (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)”. Plato.stanford.edu. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/confucius/. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  3. ^ Ban 111vol.56 (Chinese language only)
  4. ^ Gao 2003[citation needed]
  5. ^ Chen 2003[citation needed]
  6. a b The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCVII.1[dead link]
  7. ^ Kang 1958[citation needed]
  8. ^ “china”. Dignubia.org. http://www.dignubia.org/maps/ct_popup.php?ct_date=551bce&ct_civ=china. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  9. ^ Chien 1978, pp. 117–120
  10. ^ The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCI.1[dead link]
  11. ^ Gu 1658, vol. 51, sec. 9
  12. ^ The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCIII.3[dead link]VI.13[dead link] and XVII.11[dead link]
  13. ^ The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCXIII.5[dead link]XVII.9[dead link]
  14. ^ The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCVI.25[dead link]
  15. ^ The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCXVI.2[dead link]
  16. ^ The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCXIV.9[dead link]
  17. ^ Zhang 2002, p. 208
  18. ^ The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCVI.24 and 30[dead link]XIV.16 and 17[dead link]
  19. ^ The Analects 479 BC – 221 BCII.20[dead link]XII.19[dead link]
  20. ^ Derrida 1983, p. 63
  21. ^ Du 2005
  22. ^ Lee 1995, pp. 1–3
  23. ^ Legge 1895
  24. ^ Xun 325 BC – 238 BC
  25. ^ Li 2005
  26. ^ Zhang 1988, p. 76
  27. ^ This quote has been attributed by some scholars to a later student of Confucius as an attempt to create a meeting between Confucius and Lao-tzu which may never have occurred.
  28. ^ The first was Michele Ruggieri who had returned from China to Italy in 1588, and carried on translating in Latin Chinese classics, while residing in Salerno
  29. ^ “Windows into China”, John Parker, p.25
  30. ^ “Windows into China”, John Parker, p.25, ISBN 0890730504
  31. ^ “The Eastern origins of Western civilization”, John Hobson, p194-195, ISBN 0521547245
  32. ^ “Revelation Rationality Knowledge and Truth”. Alislam.org. http://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/part_2_section_3.html. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  33. ^ Herbert Roslyn Ekins, Theon Wright (1938). China fights for her life, Volume 2. Whittlesey house. p. 315. http://books.google.com/books?id=OXlCAAAAIAAJ&q=confucius+sought+by+japanese+as+puppet+emperor+of+china+in+1937+but+refused&dq=confucius+sought+by+japanese+as+puppet+emperor+of+china+in+1937+but+refused&hl=en&ei=tRaeTNfjHYO78gaX3bX5Dw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  34. a b Kong Demao, The House of Confucius (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988).
  35. ^ “Confucius family tree revision ends with 2 mln descendants”. En.ce.cn. http://en.ce.cn/National/culture/200901/04/t20090104_17866318.shtml. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  36. a b c “Updated Confucius family tree has two million members”. News.xinhuanet.com. 2008-02-16. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-02/16/content_7616027.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  37. ^ “DNA test to clear up Confucius confusion”. Ye2.mofcom.gov.cn. 2006-06-18. http://ye2.mofcom.gov.cn/aarticle/chinanews/200606/20060602462372.html. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  38. ^ “DNA Testing Adopted to Identify Confucius Descendants”. China.org.cn. 2006-06-19. http://www.china.org.cn/english/culture/171840.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  39. a b Jane Qiu (2008-08-13). “Inheriting Confucius”. Seedmagazine.com. http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/inheriting_confucius/. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  40. ^ “Confucius descendents say DNA testing plan lacks wisdom”. Eng.bandao.cn. 2007-08-21. http://eng.bandao.cn/newsdetail.asp?id=4644. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  41. ^ “Confucius’ Family Tree Recorded biggest”. Chinadaily.com.cn. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-09/24/content_8733256.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  42. ^ “New Confucius Genealogy out next year”China Internet Information Center. 2008. http://www.china.org.cn/china/features/content_16696029.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-01. “With a history of over 2,500 years covering more than 80 generations, and the longest family tree in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, the fifth edition of the Confucius Genealogy will be printed in several volumes in 2009, according to an organizer of the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee(CGCC).”
  43. ^ “Confucius family tree to record female kin”. Chinadaily.com.cn. 2007-02-02. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-02/02/content_800011.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  44. ^ www.stat.yale.edu Common Ancestors Article

Categories: CHRISTIANITY, Islam, Religion

5 replies

  1. Noble character of Confucius revealing his prophethood
    Prof. Mark W Muesse wrote:

    This is precisely the image of Confucius that emerges in the Analects. Piecing together his aphorisms and the impressions of his disciples, Sage emerges as the paragon of wisdom, compassion, and humility. One summary of his personal character describes him as “absolutely free from four things: free from conjecture [or unnecessary speculation], free from arbitrariness, free from obstinacy, free from egoism.” Freedom from egoism-in other words, humility-seems to be the quality that most impressed his contemporaries. They remark upon it in a variety of ways. It was evident even in his physical carriage and demeanor: The Analects report that “On entering the Palace Gate he seemed to contract his body, as though there were not sufficient room to admit him.” He was “was genial and yet strict, imposing and yet not intimidating, courteous and yet at ease.”

    According to one of his closest followers, Zigong, the master was gentle, benevolent, respectful, frugal, and deferential. Other disciples described him as “rather unassuming” and as someone who “seemed as if he were an inarticulate person.” Yet at court he always spoke eloquently, with caution, carefully choosing his words. There seemed to have been not a shred of pretense in him. He never claimed to be a special individual or to possess any great knowledge. “As for sageness and humaneness,” he said, “how dare I claim them?” He did not consider himself to be the ideal person that others took him to be. To the contrary, he appeared to be more focused on correcting his deficiencies than displaying his assets. The Analects quote him as saying, “Virtue uncultivated, learning undiscussed, the inability to move toward righteousness after hearing it, and the inability to correct my imperfections-these are my anxieties.” He advised his followers: “When you come across an inferior person, turn inwards and examine yourself.” They confirmed that “When he made a mistake, he was not afraid to correct it.”

    These images and memories signify the way Confucius appeared to his close followers and to others. I believe these images and personal attributes probably have some basis in the historical Confucius, although I cannot prove it. The details may be debatable and perhaps occasionally altogether wrong; but the early literary images of Confucius cannot have been wholly disconnected from the person he was. Confucius appears in the Analects as wise, compassionate, and modest because he was in fact that kind of person.


    That preference, however, did not mean that Confucius was a pacifist or a proponent of absolute nonviolence. Although there are clear similarities in their teachings on virtue and expediency, Confucius was no Gandhi. In his role as the Minister of Crime, Master Kong was directly responsible for the death of several individuals.

    Prof. Mark W Muesse. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. The Great Courses transcript book, 2010. Pages 50-52.

  2. James Legge writes about Confucianism in his article titled, Christianity and Confucianism compared in their teaching of the whole duty of man:

    There is in Confucianism a worship of God Himself. From time immemorial, there has been in China the belief of one Supreme Being, first indicated by the name heaven, and then by the personal designation of God as the Supreme Lord and Ruler. For between three and four thousand years at the least, there has been the worship of this Being ; but as formally approved and organized by the ordinances of the Confined to State, it is confined to the Sovereign for the time being. He renders it in the suburbs of his capital on a few occasions in the course of the year, attended by certain of his nobles and official functionaries; but of the people there are none with him. It was at first, no doubt, a representative worship by the Head of the Family; it continued to be the same when the Family grew into the Tribe; it is still the same when the tribe has multiplied, and become the most populous empire on the earth. It has never been extended through the nation or joined in by the multitudes of the people. A most wonderful fact, and most deplorable! The greatest occasion of the imperial religious celebration is at the earliest dawn on the morning of the winter solstice at ‘the Altar of Heaven.’ Some of the prayers, or psalms rather, with which the various oblations have been occasionally accompanied, have been remarkable, and have risen to a high style of devotion; but, after all, the whole service is but a form of state ceremonial, of which the people have hardly any knowledge, and which does not contribute to maintain in them a real religious life to any great effect. Where it has that effect, the result is due mainly to a sentence of Confucius, in which, as if to guard against its being considered merely a worship of the great forms or forces of nature, he pronounced that ‘The ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth are those by which we serve the Supreme God.’
    Debarred from this direct worship of God, the spiritual sensibilities and susceptibilities of the masses of the Chinese have flowed all the more into the worship of their parents and ancestors, and the way has been all the easier for the dissemination among them of the magical pretensions and psychical fancies of Taoism and the idolatries of Buddhism. There remains for them only the natural and indistinct reverence of Heaven, with groanings and complaining appeals to It, or to God in heaven, when they are suffering under calamity or other cause of distress. I have seen ‘the falling of the tear’ in the bitterness of grief, and ‘the upward glancing of the eye’ to the sky above. Recently I was struck with a passage in the story of a young lady pressed to a certain course which, though not contrary to what was right, did not command her full approval. It was not evil, but might be misinterpreted so as to give to another passage in her life the appearance of being evil, though it had been good and even praiseworthy in itself. She wished to avoid it, and to trust in Heaven to bring about, in a perfectly legitimate way, the object which it was intended to serve. ‘I have heard,’ she says, ”that Heaven is sure to bring to pass the thing of which Heaven has originated the purpose.’ It was an expression it seemed to me of simple and genuine piety. Such a sentiment and such language, however, are rarely met with in Chinese society or writings. And where they do occur, it is as calculations of the understanding more than gushings of the heart. They are argumentative rather than emotional, expressing the fear to offend Heaven and not the wish to please it. They come short, very far short, of that love of God which is the first and great commandment of Christianity. I have been reading Chinese books for more than forty years, and any general requirement to ”love God,’ or the mention of anyone as actually loving ” Him, has yet to come for the first time under my eye.

    Ref:
    Sir William Muir. Prof. Legge LLD. J. Murray Mitchell, LL.D., and H. R. Reynolds, D.D. Non-Christian Religions of the World. Selected from Living Papers series. Fleming H Revell Company.

  3. Universality of Religion among humans

    Reverend George Aaron Barton Ph.D. (1859 – 1942), was a Canadian author, Episcopal clergyman and professor of Semitic languages and the history of religion. He writes in the first chapter of his book titled, the religion of the primitive people, in his well known book, the religions of the world:

    The psychological unity of man is one of the most striking results of modern investigation. There are, of course, details in which the religion of any people differs from that of every other people. Indeed, in some respects the religion of every individual is peculiarly his own; it differs in some details from the religion of everyone else, for the facts of the universe impress each mind differently. Nevertheless the variations are far less than one would expect. The surprising fact is that in all parts of the world the minds of men, as they react to the fundamental facts of existence, work in so nearly the same way. This likeness of the psychological processes of man is one of the most striking discoveries of modern times. One writer declares:

    ‘The laws of human thought are frightfully rigid, are indeed automatic and inflexible. The human mind seems to be a machine; give it the same materials, and it will infallibly grind out the same product. …. Under ordinary conditions of human life there are many more impressions on the senses which are everywhere the same or similar than the reverse. Hence the ideas, both primary and secondary, drawn from them are much more likely to resemble than to differ.’

    While, then, early religions differ in innumerable minor details, in the great fundamental conceptions they are the same. Of many secondary conceptions too it may be said that they are all but universal. It is not the purpose of this book to follow out the details in which the religions of primitive peoples differ, but rather^to glance at the fundamental ideas and institutions which they have in common. Such a survey is necessary because these fundamental ideas form the basis of the religions of civilized peoples, and many of these institutions have persisted for centuries in civilized religions, often producing far-reaching consequences.

    The universality of religion is now generally conceded. Man is a worshiping animal; he is ‘incurably religious.’ Certain Australian tribes, reported on by Spencer and Gillen, appear at first sight to be exceptions to this rule, but a closer study of the facts leads one to believe that religion is not entirely absent. ‘Religion is man’s attitude toward the universe regarded as a social and ethical force,’ and there is no satisfactory historical evidence that since man was man there have been peoples who did not attempt to enter into social relations with the extra human powers of the universe.

    The nature of religion:
    Among primitive peoples the essential part of religion is not belief, but practice. The primary aim is to avert the anger of supernatural beings and to secure their aid in the struggle for existence. As among men anger is aroused by improper conduct, so it is believed to be with the gods. One must be careful to do the things that are pleasing to them. The gods are supposed to be pleased, not with what men think of them, but by the service that is rendered them. Religion is the proper manners to be observed in approaching the gods. Carelessness as to the ritual which embodies the proper etiquette toward them is thought to arouse the anger of deities and spirits. The emphasis in early religions is quite different from that in the so-called positive religions. Nevertheless we can trace in early religions certain beliefs.

    The soul is among all men intimately connected with religion. All tribes, even the lowest, observe that a human being is made up of two parts, the body of flesh and bones, and an impalpable something that lives within. This impalpable something, or soul, is called by various names, but belief in it is universal. Among the lowest Australian tribes it is not as well defined as among more advanced peoples, but the belief is still there, and a man’s Murups or soul may, when he sleeps, go off and talk even with the Murups of the dead. Among savage peoples the soul is thought to have a material form. They cannot otherwise conceive of it.

    Perhaps a man’s shadow, which, in his ignorance of optics, is to the savage inexplicable, contributed originally to this belief. Souls were not, however, always thought of as existing in human form; sometimes they were conceived in animal shapes. Early men generally identified the soul with the breath, since they noticed that a dead man no longer breathed. They seem not to have thought, however, of any one part of the body as the home of the soul.

    Life after death is another of man’s universal beliefs. It is only among a few modern thinkers, in whom the elemental intuitions are ‘sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,’ that it has ever been doubted. The universality of man’s faith in the survival of the soul after death is attested in part by the universality of the belief in ghosts, and in the uniform practice of placing food in the tombs of the departed. Among all peoples, whether in the two Americas, in Central Africa, in Australia, or among the ancient inhabitants of Egypt or Palestine, not only food and drink, but the utensils that the departed had used in life were buried with him. Along with quantities of delicacies Queen Tai, of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty, placed in the tomb of her parents splendid easy chairs, a bed, chests of clothing, and even a chariot in which they might ride! Similarly the Indians bury with their brave his bow and arrows for use in the happy hunting-grounds beyond the setting sun.

    Please note that even in all primitive religions emphasis has been on human actions and behavior and not on ‘faith alone,’ as many Christians will have us believe! There is apparently no evidence in primitive religions for Jesus dying for sins of whole of humanity, no trace of vicarious atonement, which is against human rationality, intuitions and sense of fairness, inborn in every child.

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