Is Confucianism a Religion?

This, of course, is a highly contested question. Google searches on this question bring up a variety of answers. But here, I propose to offer the definitive answer – not really. What I really want to do is ask the questions that are behind the question. Why is this even a question to begin with, and how are the ways this can be answered? In particular, should Christians (Chinese or otherwise) be concerned about this question at all?
Confucius Continue reading “Is Confucianism a Religion?”

Christianity as a Chinese Religion

Chinese Catholicism

I have been reviewing a number of very exciting proposals for the Chinese Christianities Seminar for the upcoming meeting of the American Academy of Religion, in November 2015.  They cover so many areas of Chinese Christianities – from various contexts around the world, to various conditions within a given locale.  Though I have tried arguing this in the past, it is important to recognise Christianity as not simply a ‘foreign religion’ or ‘foreign teaching’ (yang jiao 洋教), but in many ways also a Chinese religion. Continue reading “Christianity as a Chinese Religion”

Spousal Violence in a Confucian-Christian Context

Last Tuesday, Elizabeth Koepping gave a valedictory paper at the weekly World Christianity seminar here in the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.1  Prof. Brian Stanley responded to her paper by saying that it was ‘truly disturbing… in a good way’, in that it exposed the problem of spousal violence that exists amongst Christians, validated by the Bible, and often ignored or hidden by church leadership.  Her field and documentary research was conducted in multiple contexts: Taiwan, Australia, Ghana, etc. – and Scotland.  But the underlying reality was the same: domestic violence is pervasive, within and without the church.  Moreover, she suggested that theologically the church must reclaim the understanding of the Imago Dei in both man and woman in order to combat these atrocities.

With my personal interest in East Asia, one of the things I was particularly concerned with is how spousal violence is validated not only with the Bible, but with Confucianism. One of the quotes Elizabeth read which really highlighted this for me was from a Protestant woman in Taiwan, in 2006: Continue reading “Spousal Violence in a Confucian-Christian Context”