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SRS2195 (10)

Secularism in China

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Religious Studies
Peter Beyer

Varieties of secularism: Way of talking about religio-state relationships. Alfred Stepan makes useful classifications. Twin tolerations: State tolerating religious freedom and religion tolerating the state not being religious. Secularist states (France and China): Extreme separatists. Insists on such a separation of church and state that tolerations are missing. All states regulate religion, no exception. The difference is in how it's done. China: The Middle Kingdom China refers to itself as the middle kingdom (zhongguo)  In terms of our question, China is a very different place.  China and India have between them 3.5 billion people  Imperial China in the Manchu/Qing Era (1644-1912) o What we commonly call religion was kind of everywhere and it influenced the way the imperial state ran. Emperor was ultimately responsible for all kinds of certain religious rituals so that the country did not fall of the path to heaven o The emperor was a "foreigner" (Mongolian/Manchurian). The rules still applied regardless of his status as a foreigner.  The literati/ru: servants and rituals o Mandarins, confucian class. A set of elites who get to be elite by virtue, largely of their education.  There was an education system that determined who these elites were going to be. o Also in some senses, rivals. Some sort of historical rival between the elites and the emperor.  Buddhists and Buddhist teaching/practive (jia and jiao) o Jia: actual collection of human beings; jiao: the teachings of these groups.  Daoist teachings, structures, philosophy o The superior man might be confucian in public but Daoist in private. There is not a clear distinction between being in one category of religion or another.  The monastic structures, Buddhist and Daoist o Religious structures are present in China. Distinctions aren't being made in terms of being able to find Confucian symbols in Daoist temples.  Clans, lineages and ancestors o Is this religion or culture? Categories again aren't categorically distinct.  Secret societies o Often related with "white lotus" societies- "heterodoxy" (evil religion; xiejiao) o There is a political felt need to control this religious "other" o Sedition: usually used for political undermining an heresy is the religious form of that. (Not) Inventing Chinese Religion Kind of the equivalent of those british orientalists who invent religion in India  Matteo Ricci and the Jesuits (16th century) o Went to china and wanted to convert the chinese to christianity, but adopted a specific strategy of doing it. He made him a Confucius literati o The elites took him seriously because Ricci was so good at doing this. o People called him Kongzi (master Kong) and Ricci added "fu" calling him Kongfuzi, great master kong.  19th centurry o Period of time when Chinese Empire began to feel the European imposition that had been going around the world. o Europeans didn't want to take over, but rather wanted ports that they could use to conduct their business; also wanted missions in there. Eventually forced the Chinese empire to give them their concessions; power of the Europeans could not simply be dismissed  Chinese response o Responded to the European imposition using Western techniques  Stand up to foreigners, copy the Japanese? o The japanese are starting to become an imperial power just like the Europeans. o 1906: Japanese Imperial Army defeated an allied power for the first time ever and the world took notice. o Chinese looked to emulate the japanese  Chinese does not have a word for "religion". They have a word that's close but not the same. Chinese use the word that the Japanese have developed (Zongjao and shukyo) o Important to understand which word they chose because it shows exactly what they mean by religion o The word means quite literally, "group teaching" or rather "sectarian teaching", which is not societal. o The chinese do not understand "sect" as religion, and therefore many say they do not adhere to any religion. o Kang Yuwei tried to invent "confucianity" and failed.  Can Chinas be a "Westphalian" state under these circumstances? What religion will people choose besides "none of the above" or "all of the above" Religion in 20th Century China  Whatever religion is, it's really, but the general consensus was that the chinese people shouldn't get involved in it and should just focus on rebuilding the Chinese empire  Opium of the people: must actively try to get rid of it, because it is in the way  A focus started to go on reinventing confucianism  The Chinese, by and large know who they are as a people, so national identity isn't a large issue.  In the period after the second world war, there is an introduction of a critical transformation. o Religion had no place-was considered an indicator of how much progress there was still to be made. o When there are periods of acceptance, it is a grudging acceptance-mainly on the part of state authorities.  Realization that although communism will wither away, it seems to be taking its time. Should we wait, or act? (Officially) Conceiving religion in the post
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