Peter van der Veer Is Confucianism a Religion or a Secular Moral System?
© Maximilian Dörrbecker
Max Planck Society
"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
"This Max Planck Institute is primarily concerned with research into various forms of diversity. In today’s societies, people of varying ethnic and religious backgrounds often live side by side. The spectrum ranges from peaceful multiculturalism to bloody conflict – but when does the one occur and when the other? Through wide-ranging empirical studies and by developing theoretical concepts, the Göttingen-based Institute seeks to broaden our understanding of these issues of human coexistence. The main focus of this work is on basic research, but in some instances it extends as far as advising on political policy." (Source)
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.
LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10243
Is Confucianism Secular?
- Peter van der Veer
- Beyond the Secular West
- Published in 2016