Dynastic China and Islam
Some of the major religions in the world include Confucianism of Dynasty China, Christianity, and Islam. While each of these religions has its unique ideologies, beliefs, and practices, some of them seem to be consistent with each other. Confucianism was established in c. 551 by its founder, philosopher Confucius. Originally, it consisted of a set of moral as well as political doctrines that focused in Confucius teachings as its basis. However, it incorporated other teachings later on. It is noteworthy that the term Confucianism might have originated from the European Christians in China during the late nineteenth century and it was used in reference to the Chinese non-Christian religions. On the other hand, Christianity is another major religion in the world which is based in Jesus Christs teachings and life. Its beliefs and teachings are mainly based on the Word of God as it is written in the Holy Bible. In the early years of Christianity, the church council and early fathers made efforts to distinguish between heresy and orthodox in an attempt to preserve genuine Christian message. Just like Christianity, Islam is also based on the Word of God as it is written in the Holy Quran. Its teachings and beliefs are largely based on Prophet Mohammeds revelations, which he received in the 7th-centry. This essay examines the endurance and appeal of the three religions Confucianism of Dynasty China, Christianity, and Islam- in terms of their respective teachings and beliefs.
Confucianism of Dynasty China
As mentioned above, Confucianism consisted of a set of moral as well as political doctrines that focused in Confucius teachings as its basis. However, it is noteworthy that Confucius teachings neither speculated anything regarding the gods nor life after death. He believed that it is impossible to understand death as it was impossible to understand life itself. As a revolutionary figure, Confucius defended peoples rights and held that the existence of the state was for the peoples benefit rather than the opposite. In other words, he believed that the state was meant to benefit the people rather than the people benefiting the state. However, he not only advocated for strict discipline and authority for in the state but also within the individual family. In this regard, the Confucian system was characterized with various crucial values including loyalty to the rulers, respect for the elders, worship of ancestors, and devotion to parents. In general, the main aim of Confucius was to encourage virtuous and wise individuals to take leadership positions in the government so that they can restore the peace that existed in the earlier Chinese society.
Confucius emphasized on leadership, service to state, moral cultivation of people by educated and ethically upright men in the society. Confucius thought was built on the Chinese perspective of the world during the time that there existed a moral universal order that men were obliged to promote, preserve and find. Similarly, the rulers were also obliged to execute their roles and responsibilities based on the Mandate of Heaven. In an attempt to preserve such universal moral order, Confucius propagated the Chinese world view by emphasizing on the significance of ritual, filial piety, and humanity as the key values for preserving the universal moral order inherent in the Chinese society during the time. While filial piety denoted the childrens love for their parents, it also determined an individuals moral value in the society because virtuous individuals were expected to show the same love to the people they served. Confucius believed that a virtuous individual should possess various virtues including loyalty, altruism, love of humanity, inner integrity, and righteousness. In addition to such inner virtual, an individual was also required to acquire education (culture) and a sense of ritual or decorum in order to be in a good position of serving in the government. Generally, Confucianisms ethical guidelines were so appealing to the greater Chinese society and this helped this religion to endure and transcend the influence of other religions in China including Christianity. It advocated for social harmony, proper conduct, and proper social relations.
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Christians believe that Gods word is written in the Holy Bible. In the Bible, Gods word in unique and also makes unique claims that are hard to comprehend. It is possible for one to read the Bible and not understand the meaning of the read verses. Moreover, Bible interpretation can also be hard to some people. Gods word in the Bible is in 66 Books, that are divided into the Old Testament (39 Books) and New Testament (27 Books). Christians use Gods words in their life for life improvement, increase their faith, and enhance their holiness and righteousness. Gods words in Christianity is also perceived to contain principles that when applied changes lives. The Bible which documents Gods words has 3800 times where it is written Thus says the Lord or God said.
In the Christian faith, Jesus is believed to be the Son of God who came on earth to save humanity. Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler of Judea. Jesus was crucified at a place known Golgotha. During those days, death by crucifixion was meant for certain crimes or certain classes. Moreover, crucifixion was considered for anyone who challenged the status quo or social order of the Roman rule. The crucifixion of Jesus is documented in the four Gospels of the Bible. Different reasons for the crucifixion of Jesus as viewed in the contest of his life and ministry have been studied by theologians. First, his teachings on Gods power challenged the traditional Jewish societies and practices. Secondly, he claimed to have the power to save humanity, where the Pharisees termed it as blasphemy. Thirdly, he changed social attitudes towards the oppressed unclean and people considered as unworthy such as prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus was crucified at the hands of the Romans since the Jews had no power to crucify him. The crucifixion of Jesus and the persecution of his disciples helped to spread Christianity during the early times. In particular, the persecution of Christian followers during the first and second centuries made them to spread from the Roman Empire to other countries across the world, spreading the Word of God.
In Islam religion, Gods word is the Quran, which the Muslims believe that is Gods revelation to Prophet Muhammad through Angel Gabriel. Prophet Muhammad was in the year 570 in Makkah. He grew illiterate and before becoming a prophet his society was ignorant. He grew with good values such as trustworthy, truthful, open, and honest. Muhammad was religious and condemned idolatry in his society. He got his revelation at the of 40. The revelation was revealed to him from Allah through Angel Gabriel. All the revelation went on for 23 years and are collectively termed as the Quran. He began to preach the Quran together with his follower where at times he suffered persecution from non-believers. The persecution was tough such that in 622 he migrated to the Madinah city. Prophet Muhammad passed on at the age of 63 after transforming a large section of Arabian Peninsula, West of Spain and China to Muslims. During his lifetime, Muhammad was a good example of a truthful, honest, fear-less, compassionate human being. These virtues were so appealing to the Muslims who continued upholding Islam throughout the centuries.
After the death of Prophet Muhammad, Islam spread rapidly as non-believers changed to Islam plus military conquests of those opposing the Islamic society. Abu Bakr, was the first Caliph to continue in abolishing paganism. Islamic expanded rapidly during the leadership of the first four Caliphs. The reason for the spread was the Muslim obligation to share their faith with non-believers and defend Islam for opposition. The concept of Jihad (holy war) also helped the expansion of Islam through conquests outside the Arabian Peninsula. Political upheavals also helped Muslim spread by triumphing in the Near East. Islam conquests were overseen with extraordinary efficiency and flexibility. The authority was centralized making it easy to incorporate new individuals. Moreover, non-believers in the conquered areas became more interested in the Islam and transformed to the religion in huge numbers.
In conclusion, this essay examined the endurance and appeal of the Confucianism of Dynasty China, Christianity, and Islam in terms of their respective teachings and beliefs. It was established that, though the three religions have their own teachings, doctrines, and beliefs, they have a common goal of fostering virtuousness in the society. Confuciuss teachings were meant to restore the traditional Chinese peace in accordance to the universal moral order. Similarly, Christianity was founded on the teachings in the Holy Bible and it was meant to enhance peoples holiness and righteousness. Christians belief that Jesus is the savior of mankind through his crucifixion and resurrection. Just like Christianity, Islam is based on the Teachings written in the Holy Quran as the Word of God. All the three religions emphasize of virtuous such as trustworthy, truthful and honest. The death of Mohammed and the crucifixion of Jesus helped in spreading Islam and Christianity respectively to other parts of the world. In addition, the persecution of both Muslims and Christians helped in spreading the two religions further making them among the worlds most powerful religions. All the three religions were appealing to the people due to their virtuous teachings. However, Confucianism did not speculate anything regardinglife after death or the gods.