Confucianism: the Question of Its Religiousness and Its Role in Constructing Chinese Secular Ideology

Keqian Xu, Guoming Wang

Abstract


Whether Confucianism is a religion or not has been a controversial issue for many years. Recently, along with the “national revitalization” movement in China, Confucianism has been valued and advocated again in China at both official and civil levels. This trend sometimes has been perceived by some observers as a kind of religious revival movement. This paper analysis some key components in the thought of Confucius, such as his idea and attitude towards “Gods”, “Tian” and other divine  or supernatural beings, in order to prove that, although Confucius does not exclude religious faith, and has accepted some traditional religious rituals, the basic Confucian doctrines are not constructed on any religious foundation. The essence of Confucianism is humanism and rationalism characterized with the practical reason of “zhongdaology”. It provides a rational base for constructing the secular ideology in ancient China. In today’s Chinese society, Confucianism can still play a role in constructing the modern secular ideology, which may accommodate cultural diversity yet maintain a harmonious social political environment.


Keywords


national revitalization, Confucianism, religion, religiousness, secular ideology, zhongdaology, Chinese society, cultural diversity

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