Philosophy and Religion
China’s history has been full of richness of culture, mainly due to how they progressed with philosophy and religion. Since the beginning of the Chinese’s civilization philosophy and religion has been at the forefront of Chinese culture. From the ancient oracle bones and bronze inscriptions to the development of different schools of thought, the Chinese have always been adept for the time period in philosophy and religion. And over the course of their history they have combined the two in a manner that suits their needs, through this evolution and combination of the two they have become a strong nation.
Oracle bones were the corner stone of the early Chinese dynasties such as the Shang from around 1200-1050 B.C (Shang pg. 1). In one of the articles it attempts to explain the use of these bones by saying that the kings of the Shang Dynasty would “attempt to communicate with the spiritual forces that ruled their world by reading the stress cracks in cattle bones…” (Shang 1). These kings would apply a heated poker to the bones which would produce cracks that they would analyze based on the direction and deepness of the crack. Recently these bones and the records of the king’s analyzation were uncovered. An estimated 150,000 oracle bones were found, and have references to the god of the Shang, Di (Shang pg. 1). This type of analysis by the kings is an early form of a religion, and the building blocks for later philosophy and schools of thought in China’s history.
Much progression can be seen between the oracles bones in the Shang dynasty and the emergence of Confucius (551-479 BC) (Ebrey Text pg. 42). The oracle bones played the basis for the development of the schools of thought and religion in China. Confucius’ goal was the convince people that his moral vision was correct, that “intentions and acts towards other men are at least as important as those towards gods or ancestors (Ebrey Text pg. 42). Confucius’ teachings would soon become the basis for all philosophy and religion in China. With the aid of his students, it led to the success of Confuciu’s ideas about philosophy. One of his students, Mencius, was taught by Confucius’ grandson. Mencius would go on to travel and offer advice to all the rulers of nearby states in China. Mencius took Confucius’ teachings and added a little bit of his own to them, as he begun to spread them. His ideas were very similar to Confucius, but Mencius decided to focus on the subject of human nature unlike Confucius. In one of the articles it states that Mencius said, “Everyone has a heart that is sensitive to the sufferings of others” (Ebrey pg. 23). This shows a progression beyond that of Confucius to the point they are incorporating the thoughts and sufferings of humans themselves. And not just focusing on the morality of how others treat each other.
Two hundred years later emerged Xunzi, who is arguably the most influential Confucian thinker that progressed philosophy much from...