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Reviving and regulating religion in china essay

Beginning in the Song era, a major reformation in Confucianism took place, and eventually it became the officially-sanctioned state orthodoxy. They also cemented a symbiotic relationship between the government, the educated elite, and Neo-Confucianism.

  1. The blog features news and cultural trends culled by Western journalists living in the country. Beginning in the Song era, a major reformation in Confucianism took place, and eventually it became the officially-sanctioned state orthodoxy.
  2. When Protestant missionaries arrived in China in 1807, they had to live under the same harsh restrictions that had been imposed on Roman Catholics since the 1740s. While judicious and comprehensive interaction between Christianity and Chinese culture is imperative, history shows that this process is also fraught with the danger of fatal compromise.
  3. But Harrison has a long view. Buddhists tried to reform their religion by philosophical reflection, renewed educational efforts, and even political involvement.
  4. They also cemented a symbiotic relationship between the government, the educated elite, and Neo-Confucianism. And then there are new ideas, more spiritual or esoteric than religious.

This official Confucianism did not go unchallenged, however. Regardless of which system of Confucianism we consider, each held a traditional view of the role of women in the family and in society, which included the conviction that widows should not remarry.

Actually, this branch of Christianity is now more correctly called by scholars the Syrian Church of the East Jing Jiaosince the reputation of their founder, Nestorius, has been rehabilitated. By the end of the Yuan dynasty, however, all forms of Christianity had once again disappeared.

The third wave of foreign missionaries came with Western colonial expansion by sea in the 16th century. The Jesuits managed to gain admission even to the court in Beijing by their impressive mastery of Confucian classics and possession of modern technology.

Franciscans and Dominicans worked among the masses.

Christianity in China

While applauding the superb linguistic and cultural attainments of the Jesuits, this reviewer agrees with those who believe they veered dangerously towards unnecessary compromise and even syncretism. When Protestant missionaries arrived in China in 1807, they had to live under the same harsh restrictions that had been imposed on Roman Catholics since the 1740s.

After the Opium Wars, the first of which took place in 1842, however, they gained the legal right to propagate the Gospel in a few cities, and then the entire empire. For most of the 19th century, they focused their efforts upon evangelism, coupled with medical work and education. Usually, however, they were regarded with contempt and fear by the mandarins whose social position depended upon the retention of Confucian orthodoxy, and the Christians could not escape the taint of gunboats and the opium trade which Western powers forced upon a crumbling Qing dynasty.

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This semi-Christian sect wrought horrible havoc for ten years, laying waste vast tracts of land and resulting in the death of millions, before the uprising was finally quelled. No wonder modern Chinese rulers, whose memories are keen, view Protestant Christianity with some suspicion!

A few of them settled and established communities in the South and West of China. Another wave of Islamic growth in China took place in the Mongol period, when Mongol rulers employed Muslims in their administration. Over time, Muslims gained both acceptance and some limited prominence, as the career of Admiral Zheng He illustrates. Islamic educational institutions were established, and Islamic teachings were expressed in Chinese.

In the 19th century, bloody uprisings, and even attempts to establish of an independent Islamic state, resulted in harsh crackdowns by the Qing government and mutual ill-will that has not gone away.

State, Market, and Religions in Chinese Societies

Religion in Modern China The last chapter of the book surveys the twentieth century, and especially the period since the establishment of communist rule. Without going into detail, we need merely note several major developments. They directed special anger towards Christianity, which was seen as a willing tool of foreign imperialists.

Buddhists tried to reform their religion by philosophical reflection, renewed educational efforts, and even political involvement. All religion came under criticism, then attack, during the Mao period.

Religious venues were closed, and a cult of Mao developed, during the Cultural Revolution 1966-1976.

  1. Likewise, the government has reverted to its traditional policy of official toleration of world religions, of which five are recognized. Without going into detail, we need merely note several major developments.
  2. The growth of religious faith and practice in China has often occurred during periods of change and instability, while restoration of nationalistic rule has often been followed by fierce persecution. They established schools and hospitals, and more or less openly proselytized.
  3. By the mid-1800s, Hong Xiuquan had gathered a large band of followers and began an armed rebellion against Qing Dynasty rulers.

Buddhists, Daoists, practitioners of popular religion — all have seen their numbers grow, their temples rebuilt and refurbished, and their acceptance in society renewed. The rapid growth of Christianity must be seen as part of this overall trend. Likewise, the government has reverted to its traditional policy of official toleration of world religions, of which five are recognized: As always, the chief concern is for social stability.

While judicious and comprehensive interaction between Christianity and Chinese culture is imperative, history shows that this process is also fraught with the danger of fatal compromise. The growth of religious faith and practice in China has often occurred during periods of change and instability, while restoration of nationalistic rule has often been followed by fierce persecution. At any rate, Christians must face the facts of both history and a current situation which is very complex — rather like China itself!