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Is Confucianism a Religion or a Secular Moral System?


van der Veer,  Peter
Religious Diversity, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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van der Veer, P. (2016). Is Confucianism a Religion or a Secular Moral System? doi:10.21036/LTPUB10243.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-BBBA-6
When asked about the place of religion in their culture, many Chinese people will answer that China is a secular country with no major impact of religion. However, as PETER VAN DER VEER explains in this video, the Chinese are more religious than this perspective suggests and perform many rituals in their daily life. His research shows that this interpretation of Confucianism results from the historical influence of imperialism and the translation of the Western understanding of the terms ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ to an Asian context. Confucianism is being seen as a moral system directly connected to politics rather than a religion as it has no notion of 'god' and is in many other aspects very different from Western concepts of religion.