And I shall call you "Religion"
'Religion' is a Western word and concept. There's only one "Religion" -this category. Naturally the West will generously promote "religious freedom" as long as terms and conditions apply: We are all living in the year A.D. 2014 - the Year of our Lord Christ, no?
Christopher Columbus once famously remarked: “I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion”. He went on and christened the first few islands he conquered Los Santos (The Saints), Saint Kitts, Saint Fustativs, Saint Martin, and Saint Croix (Holy cross).
Of course, Columbus had not found India, as he intended, but had landed in the New World -the Bahamas and Cuba, to be exact. Yet, the way the famous discoverer arbitrary gave Christian names to foreign things and declared all people potential Christians repeated itself all over the world, in particular in China. In 1691, Randal Taylor in his The Morals of Confucius made the following crucial observation:
"Most of the missionaries who relate this are firmly persuaded, that CONFUCIUS foresaw the coming of the MESSIAH."
"Confucianism" in itself is a Western word and concept, too. It is a name given by the Europeans when they "discovered" China, so to speak. They were looking for a messiah figure, like Christ was for Christianity, and they found it in Kongzi. So, naturally for them, they named Kongzi's religion "Konfuzianism." The Chinese name for their tradition, however, is rujia. Rujia is a school of literati, or a teaching. It has nothing to do with "religion" in the Western sense of the word.
Buddhism, which was also named after its "messiah" figure, is not a "religion" either, but more a way of life or way of cultivation the self (the buddha-nature). In fact, most Westerners to this day erroneously believe there's just one Buddha, while in fact there are hundreds, if not thousands (the Dalai Lama being one of them, by the way).
To conclude, as long as Western names and categories are the only ones permissible, we are not going to see more pluralism in the world, but far more less.
Image credit: Alexander Tihonov/Shutterstock.com
This is a condensed version of a chapter on 'East-Asia Evangelized' from the manuscript Shengren.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.
- Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
- The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
- Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.