Chinese culture has been greatly influenced by the development of Confucianism, which presented a religious framework for guiding everything from families to governments. Each aspect of the Chinese society evolution was tightly connected with Confucianism, which was rarely interrupted or mixed with other beliefs and ideologies. The nature of Confucianism as an ideology taught at the earliest periods of Chinese history was associated with a view that believing in spirits or magical deities did not coincide with the rational teachings of Confucius. Therefore, this ideology cannot be equated to a ‘pure’ religious belief. Despite this, there are some aspects of Confucianism that have similarities with other religions. For example, the belief in Heaven, the interaction between man and Heaven, and the concept of feng shui did have some parallels to magical rituals.
The concept of fate, as taught by Confucius, has also been widely explored by Confucianism. Fate was associated with the term “determined appointment,” which meant that events occurred because they had been ordered to occur (Yang 249). Confucianism also involved the concepts of ancestor worship and sacrifice, behaviors that gave some protection and blessing to those who followed them. However, such behaviors regulated moral values and social conduct rather than had secular meanings.
Therefore, Confucianism is rather a worldview and a framework of traditions, than a separate religion with strict rules for obeying. It focused on bringing good to the family and the society instead of dedicating one’s life to an almighty deity. Some of the traditions and rituals could be associated with worship, although over time they evolved into social phenomena and values, which have their strong presence in the modern Chinese society. The Five Constants of Confucianism encompass a framework of virtues a person can practice to benefit the world as an altruist and a humanist.
Yang, Ching Kun. Religion in Chinese Society: A Study of Contemporary Social Functions of Religion and Some of Their Historical Factors. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1991. Print.