Chinese Religion in the Age of Science: Taoism and Confucianism

I have always wondered how science and religion are related. As the course progresses, I have come to the understanding that God is the main source of the existence of science and religion. Chinese religion and science see God in all things. Every religion and its science have an influencer or teacher that gains followers. Smith, writer of the excerpts on Confucianism, did a great job in explaining Confucius as the First Teacher although there were other teachers before him. He talked about how Confucius was a supreme editor of Chinese culture.

Confucius was a man prepared to instruct in history, mathematics, music, government, sports, divination, and propriety (Smith, 2). To my understanding, Confucius was destined by God to be the before mentioned occupations. This leads to my question of how one can discover their purpose. Smith later talks about the Five Constant Relationship and how it is vital to society. The Five Constant Relationship are ruler and subject; husband and wife; parent and child; elder sibling and young sibling; elder friend and younger friend (Smith, 12). These relationships work reciprocally. The ruler must be an exemplar to its subjects since the ruler is the bridge to Heaven. Family relationships are crucial in Confucianism. (Class notes, October 30,2018). Parents have a great influence on a child and have the duty of raising a responsible child. Such relationships enforce or instills morals on the child. This type of relationship is the beginning of a child walking the right path and doing right.

Doing right and walking the path of righteousness is the term ren. It was interesting to read from Murata the three domains of human knowledge which are Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. Confucianism primarily focuses on human acting right and morally. Murata later mentions the goal of the Confucian tradition to “become worthy of the title ru” (Murata, 83). I was able to gain a better understanding of ren and according to Confucius, ren is a single quality that brings all the essentials of human nature together. A person without ren is seen insincere and only works for his personal interest. I do hope that I can achieve ren and be a person of integrity, loyalty and faithful. The unity of human nature allows one to see God in all things since God is one and whole. Humans are parts of the whole (God). Parts of a whole needs balance in order to function and fulfill their purpose properly.

Taoism is the esoteric dimension of Chinese Tradition and the foundation of cosmology. The Tao is the divine essence of living a moral life. According J.C Cooper, a Taoist’s aim is to attain the balance of the yin and yang. The yin and yang are also known as the Two Great Powers, “the two poles between which all manifestation takes place”. (Cooper,1). This balance and harmony must be achieved in one’s life and in the world. The word “Tao” or the “Way” is employed from Taoism and Confucianism. I found it interesting that the yin-yang has to be appreciated at all different levels. The yin is the mother aspect whiles the yang is the father aspect. The mother aspect consists of mercy and wisdom whiles the father aspect consists of justice and method. Yin-yang brings about peace and quality in oneself and the world.

In conclusion, the possession of Taoism and Confucianism makes a balanced world. Both concepts may be completely different from each other but works in harmony with nature and not conquer the other. It also maintains equilibrium instead of the destructing equilibrium. I hope that humans in this world learn to perform their individual functions and do them well to permit and promote the vision of God in all things.