It’s interesting to me how Confucianism has become such an integral part of Chinese culture. Back in elementary school, I remember going to Chinese after-school and having to memorize the San Zi Jing, which is essentially a Classical Chinese text written in the Song Dynasty used to teach children Confucian values. I remember my Chinese teacher explaining each three-character section of the text and describing the allusions to folk stories that were constantly made in throughout the text. I still remember parts of it today because of how much it was instilled in me. What I find particularly interesting though is that despite China’s infatuation(?) with Confucian ideals, it still very much isn’t considered a religion by most people, but rather a set of ideals people strive to achieve. Growing up in a Chinese household, filial piety has definitely been a subject I was constantly reminded of, as well as other concepts including the importance of knowledge and integrity. In today’s society, one can still find applications of these ideals, which draw parallels to many other belief systems which that are generally referred to as religions.
One point in Sun’s text mentioned the possibility of a “civil religion,” which appears to be a promising solution to the “religious void” in China. Although it may be nearly impossible to implement, the novel idea still seems intriguing. In order to fill this void, a mixture of Confucian and Christian values could potentially be used to promote “traditional” cultural values, nationalism, and a relatable set of concepts to the rest of the world.