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Jun29-04, 09:10 PM
Evo's Avatar
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Quote Quote by Prometheus
Hi. I read the page that you cited. I believe that the author called this a religion because he has no other form of reference for such beliefs. I think that religion is an approximation, but is not correct. This ancestor worship is not religion in the sense that we conisder it in the west. He cites 3 religions, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. The first 2 were not religions, and anyway were developed some 500 B.C., and Buddhism was imported.
The first two are included in listings of Chinese religions. See the link below to The Society for the Study of Chinese Religion as an example. Obviously I can't list every source on the internet, but this link provides a list of many sources.

Quote Quote by Prometheus
Because westerners who have religion look at China and see religion does not necessarilly mean that this is religion in any way like in the west.
Just because religious beliefs and practices in China or other countries are unlike modern organized Christian religion does not change the fact that it is still considered religion.

Quote Quote by Prometheus
Furthermore, in the west there are 2 seemingly incompatible models of the world, religion and science. These are separate and distinct. In China, there was no such distinction. The beliefs of the ancients were a merging of what in the west is called science and religion, because ancient China only recognized a unified model of nature, not subdivided models as in the west.
May I ask where are you getting your information? Chinese religion, especially ancient Chinese religion had nothing to do with science.

"Early Chinese religion was based upon the belief in supernatural powers who manifested themselves in animals, vegetation, and the processes of birth, ageing and death."

"An important aspect of religious practice was divination. This was done through the use of oracle bones. Heated bronze rods would be applied to bones in order to produce cracks, which would then be interpreted by shamans or priests. It was believed that the departed ancestors and deities were sending down advice or commands on a wide variety of subjects through the oracle bones."

Popular religion dates back to the earliest periods of Chinese history. Evidence of divination, astrology, belief in spirits and demons have been a part of Chinese culture since time immemorial. These primitive beliefs were modified by the development of classical Chinese philosophy in the form of Confucianism and the transplantation of Buddhism into China.

Over time the Chinese pantheon came to reflect the order of the Chinese political system. During the T'ang dynasty (619-907 CE) the Jade Emperor was given the title 'Jade Emperor Lord on High'. During the Sung dynasty (960-1126 CE) the Jade Emperor came to be regarded as the ruler of the heavenly court and bureaucracy. Heaven became a form of bureaucratic system, with each department overseen by a particular deity or spirit - just like the political system on earth.

The closeness of the political order and the celestial order was best evidenced by the sacrifices on the days of the winter and summer solstices. At the time of the winter solstice the Chinese emperor, the Son of Heaven, had to offer a sacrifice to Shang Ti, the Lord on High on the Altar of Heaven. At the summer solstice the emperor offered a sacrifice on the Altar of Earth. These were done on behalf of the people in recognition of humanity's dependence upon higher powers.

Quote Quote by Prometheus
For example, religion is common among people whose native language is English. Our ancestors have had religion since ancient times. In ancient times, the native speakers of Chinese did not have reliigion, as the grammar of Chinese does not natively support religion.
I can find nothing that supports your statement, so I'm curious what it is that you've been reading. Do you have a link to this information?

Quote Quote by Prometheus
I agree with Whorf in that language affects thinking and culture.
I don't see any evidence of this, but I will be glad to read whatever examples you have.