Type: Research
Pages: 3 | Words: 869
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Religion may be taken to mean a systematically organized way of life of humans based on belief systems, moral values, ethics, cultural setups that harmoniously connect humanity to the spiritual world. It uses Holy Scriptures to help an organized behavior of its members who follow clergy laws and the god’s will. On the other hand, philosophy explores the real meanings and understanding of mystery of life and existence. It seeks to explain the existence, reality, reasons, language, values, and knowledge related to the basic problems in life using rational argument approach.

In ancient India and China, religion helped to acquire knowledge about the true nature of life and, for instance in India, to meet Moksha. Therefore, as religion illustrated the right way of life, philosophy showed the correct view of reality. The religion brought about fulfillment of the vision provided by philosophy. This shows that philosophy was more of theory, and religion motivated the practice; hence, in one way or another, they seem to complement each other.

However, religion differs from philosophy in that rituals are part of its practices. Contrary to religion, philosophy does not explicitly demand performance of the rituals. In addition, what makes them entirely different is the belief: religion focuses much on the belief as it is the main drive in establishing concrete faith. On the other hand, philosophy does not depend on the belief but takes it as a part in life that one can do without.

According to The Doctrine of the Mean, the way of life advocated lies between both religions and philosophy. This is by the fact that religion, in its context, tries to explain the origin of life, and Confucius, in the same way describes the overall creation of things by first principles of divine powers as seen from the excerpt below.

That which is ordained by Tian is called our nature;

to lead by our nature is called the Dao;

to cultivate the Dao is called the teaching.

One may not deviate from the Dao for so much as an instant;

that from which one may deviate is not the Dao.

Since religion defines the correct way of life, Confucius supports this by describing that one should live according to the way things are, thereby, conforming to the way (Dao). This gives a general expression of an organized divinely ordained structure of life which cannot be deviated from the Dao, meaning it is vitally necessary to stay as it is. Therefore, nothing has the potential to violate or work against the structure. Moreover, as the teachings of the religion shown in the scriptures, the doctrine motivates learning how to live according to the way (Dao) as it emphasized to cultivate the Dao.

Living according to the religion entails accepting the moral principles and observing them. In the same way, the doctrine demands one to live in an utmost moral excellence (junzi). ‘Hence, the junzi is cautious when he is alone.’ Confucius tries to bring in to light that a person’s moral standards are well-defined when he/she is alone. He proceeds to emphasize that one should take care of what they say or do when alone to meet an exemplary code of conduct.

Religion main agenda is to bring harmony as it focuses on its belief structure. Confucius, in his work, believes that a person is in mean or equilibrium (Chung) when there is no evidence of any state of consciousness (anger, joy, pleasure and sorrow). When subjected to various states of consciousness, one should exist in line with Chung, implying that a harmonious existence with a perfect balance is a basic need. Hence, oneness is essential to let all things exist in harmony.

Confucius, in his work The Doctrine of the Mean, adopts skepticism on matters that are beyond human experience as a basis of philosophy. In order to specify his work, he shows no interest particularly to those questions that have a relationship with the nature, existence and will of gods, or the fate of post-mortem of an individual. He uses wisdom to advocate and convince people keeping away from spiritual beings and advises them to define themselves with the relationship they have with others. Confucius finds involvement with spiritual beings and gods as an obstacle to having a good life, which was undesirable in Chinese religion and teaches how to live properly in everyday existence. Confucius focuses his teachings towards ordinary human experience avoiding matters that relate to religion.

The Doctrine of the Mean concentrates mainly on ethical and social teachings which are basics of humanism hence, the philosophical approaches of Confucius. He uses the idea of the Way (Dao) to support the teachings on social and ethical theories. Way (Dao), according to Confucius, symbolizes basis of philosophical truth on teachings about the nature of reality. Confucius teachings have the basis of compassion of loving others and argued understanding of subjects never came from intuition but rather from a careful study.

In conclusion, the work of Confucius lies between religion and philosophy. It can be proved by the fact that as religion focuses on the principles of life such as moral uprightness, ethics and rules made to guide one’s life, so is the doctrine. Again, Confucius tries to bring the meaning of life and knowledge of the nature using philosophical approach.

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