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Confucianism – What is it?

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Confucianism is an ancient Chinese ethical system which emphasizes moral conduct, the worship of ancestors, and devotion and obedience to one's elders. The social and philosophical landscape of China, as well as the nation's politics, have been profoundly affected and shaped by Confucianism. Some of the primary principles of Confucianism are Jen (the golden rule), Chun-tai (a gentleman / man of virtue), Cheng-ming (to properly play one's role in society), Te (the energy or power of virtue), Li (ideal standards of behavior), and Wen (the peaceful arts, such as music and poetry).

Ethical systems or religions which, like Confucianism, promote peace and virtuous behavior, are good for societies and for the individual. The Bible promotes goodness and virtue, and the pursuit of such things: "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8). Just because a religion's tenets are not from the Bible does not mean they are inherently evil; goodness is always good, despite its affiliation. However, religion of all types have a fatal flaw: they rely on people to be good.

It is not possible for people to reach the ideal standards set forth by ethical systems like Confucianism. Failure and disappointment are inevitable, and religious people and systems always suffer from abuse and hypocrisy. Desiring to appear righteous and good, some people bury the truth and become double-minded, while others despair and live in continual fear. People are able to envision perfection and ideal values, but they cannot carry them out (Romans 7). "As it is written: 'None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one'" (Romans 3:10–11). Religion cannot save; its one beneficial purpose, if we can accept it, is that it brings us to a consciousness about sin (Romans 3:20).

All false religions, including Confucianism, deny the existence or need for a Savior. It is hard for us to see our flaws, and to admit them, but it is the only way we can truly find peace, joy, and freedom (1 John 1:5–9). Christianity teaches that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and believers rely entirely on Jesus Christ, trusting Him alone for salvation, rather than their own good works, which are sure to fall short of ideal.

Related Truth:

What do Buddhists believe? What is Buddhism?

What do Hindus believe? What is Hinduism?

Does the Bible say anything about karma?

What is syncretism? How do some people try to blend religious or other thought systems?

There are so many different religions. How do I know which one is right?

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