Nowadays, religion is viewed as a separate component of the modern life. Nonetheless, A Study of Contemporary Social Functions of Religion and Some of Their Historical Factors by Yang reveals that religion has a clear reflection on the different areas and spheres such as economy, politics, and culture. Using the example of Confucianism will help assess the role of religion in the development of key values of Chinese society, since over the years, it became not only the most commonly accepted faith in China, but also defined the lifestyle, “emotional attitude”, and a principle dogmas used for teaching (Yang 244).
In the first place, Confucianism contributed to the development of values of the rationalistic society, which were present in China. According to this religion, Heaven defines the position of an individual and his/her socioeconomic status (Yang 249). The dominance of these dogmas defined the structure of institutions and assisted people in staying neutral to social and economic changes that took place. A high interference of Confucianism with Chinese culture differentiated it from the Western ones and saved the ancient traditions.
Simultaneously, the leaders of Confucianism usually used their authority to communicate their notions to the social groups (Yang 259). It seemed that this religion was used to manipulate the living of the individuals and their attitudes. It might create a perception that the life of Chinese society was under the vehement control of the government. Nonetheless, despite the negative perceptions of this religion as a manipulation instrument, Confucianism’ beliefs that the planning for better living is required, but one has to accept both success and failures help people to overcome the difficulties of the economic crisis (Yang 262). Overall, it could be said that Confucianism saved the peculiarity of Chinese culture, gave people hope, and proposed a well-developed influential mechanism.
Yang, Chang. A Study of Contemporary Social Functions of Religion and Some of Their Historical Factors. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961. Print.