Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Glory of the Gospel, Part IV: Confucianism?

This is part of a series of posts exploring how the different systems of religious belief we have in this world measure up to the gospel of Christ.

You may want to read Part I... Part II... & Part III first.

Now let's bring a representative of a third major belief system up to the edge of the pit: Confucianism.

The great Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius was born in the year 551 BC (in the same generation that Buddhism was being founded in India/Nepal). Oddly enough, the traditional birthdate for Confucius is today, September 28.

During his career Confucius began to write down a series of wise, humanistic counsels that promised to produce virtue in our lives if they were obeyed.

His goal was to teach people how to live in jen (pronounced "ren" or "wren"), which is defined as "the harmony of an actualized human potential that comes from a process of self-realization and self-actualization." The idea is basically to grow in "humaneness" and to feel good and virtuous because you've behaved rightly.

The "good news" of this belief system is that if you study all the writings of Confucius and all the commentaries that have been written on those writings, you can learn a correct way to live which should protect you from falling into these pits!

So, the Confucian comes up to the edge of the pit. He sees you down there. And he says: "My friend, if you would follow this teaching, you would avoid future pits. These pits are terrible. And it is the virtuous, careful person who can avoid ever falling in one."

That's it.

So... now we've seen three religions come to the edge of the pit and offer us their version of salvation. One spoke to us of illusion. One spoke to us of our desires. The third has offered us good counsel.

... to be continued ...

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