Confucianism developed as a secular ideology regarding an ethnical-political view of the world. It continues to define the moral views and code of conduct for the Chinese people. Teachings can be traced back to the civil servant and scholar Confucius. While he does not make any statements about the nature and function of gods, he does however, strongly advocate the observance of traditional rites, reverence of ancestors, and preservation of family ties. All of this brings stability to the lives of every member in the community. Thus “humanity” is the central concept- interaction with fellow human beings. The ideal person, who is held as “superior” (Junzi), is proficient in almost every art form by virtue of their “life-long learning” and puts their insights into practice in daily life. They use their knowledge and abilities to serve the community.
Mencius, the second great thinker of Confucianism, updated teachings in the fourth century B.C. to emphasize the concept of “yi”, which means “justice appropriateness and sense of duty.” It assumes that an individual by nature is good; however, one’s character needs constant education and refinement. This is provided by adhering to certain necessary principles, like ancestor reverence and loyalty to the ruler or the state. From 200 B.C., Confucianism became state ideology and for a period of about 2000 years it was used as part of the training of civil servants until the Chinese Revolution beginning in 1911/1912. Simultaneously, Confucianism acquired religious qualities. As Confucianism became the state ideology of China, the people raised Confucius’s status to that of a holy man and ultimately to a god. While Confucianism was originally a set of ethnical teachings, Daoism began as a religious community that concerned itself with the search for elementary forces of the universe. Compared to Confucianism, Daoism has several clear traits that qualify it more as a religion. Daoists are involved with various practices such as meditation and rituals.
Eastern Religions (like Hinduism and Buddhism) are older and carry more traditions, rules and rituals. The religions originated in India (like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism) believe in reincarnation and karma. Western Religions do not agree with the reincarnation, samsara, yoga or karma, but doing a good deed and being a kind person is actually part of the Western belief as well. The religions originated in East Asia, more specifically in China (like Confucianism, Daoism and Taoism) are responsible for the perpetuated appreciation of ancestral and familial ties. Western religions do not believe in the existence of more than one God, but helping others is also a Western belief. The Christianity and Judaism share similar beliefs. Christianity’s focus is based upon the belief of salvation made possible through the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. The name “Christ” corresponds to the Jewish sovereign title of “Messiah” or in Hebrew, “The Anointed One”.
Both Eastern and the Western religions have one important leader, one important mainstay and one better place after the death. All religions help to build a person with more values, more hope and overall more wisdom.