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Confucianism: religion or philophy debate

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Part of the series Confucianism
1 The rites
2 Covernance
3 Themes in confucian thought
4 Influence in 17th century Europe
5 Critique
6 Religion or philophy debate
7 Names for confucianism

There is debate about the classification of Confucianism as a religion or a philosophy. Many attributes common among religions—such as ancestor worship, ritual, and sacrifice—apply to the practice of Confucianism; however, the religious features found in Confucian texts can be traced to traditional non-Confucian Chinese beliefs (chinese folk religion). The position adopted by some is that Confucianism is a moral science or philosophy.[1] The problem clearly depends on how one defines religion. Since the 1970s scholars have attempted to assess the religious status of Confucianism without assuming a definition based on the Western model (for example, Frederick Streng's definition, "a means of ultimate transformation"[2]). Under such a definition Confucianism can legitimately be considered a religious tradition.[3]

  1. Centre for Confucian Science (Korea); Introduction to Confucianism
  2. Streng, Frederick, "Understanding Religious Life," 3rd ed. (1985), p. 2
  3. Taylor, Rodney L., "The Religious Dimensions of Confucianism" (1990); Tu Weiming and Mary Evelyn Tucker, eds., "Confucian Spirituality," 2 vols. (2003, 2004); Adler, Joseph A., "Confucianism as Religion / Religious Tradition / Neither: Still Hazy After All These Years" (2006)

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