The Question of Religion (2/2)

August 13, 2010

Think of the violence and wars that religions have caused—the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, genocide against the Cathars (see video), the wars between Catholics and Protestants, and the persecution of Jews by both Muslims and Christians.

Then there are Islamic fundamentalists and the suffering and death caused by their religious beliefs.

Although most people in China are not religious, religions have caused uprising and wars in China too.

The Ming Dynasty (1368-1643) came about due to a rebellion against the Mongol Yuan Dynasty led by a religious sect known as the “Red Turbans” or “Red Scarves”, which included elements from “White Lotus”, a Buddhist sect from the late Southern Song Dynasty. Source: New World Encyclopedia

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when the Manchu minority ruled China, there were a number of religious uprisings.

There was the White Lotus Rebellion (1796-1804) in the mountain region that separates Sichuan province from Hubei and Shaanxi provinces. The White Lotus was a secret religious society promising salvation to its followers similar to the Falun Gong today.

A Christian convert claiming to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ led the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) and more than 20 million died.

The Panthay Rebellion (1856-1873) was a separatist movement led by the Hui people and Chinese Muslims.

There was also the Dungan revolt (1862-1877), led by Muslims in China’s Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang provinces. Chinese historians and officials believed that Islam played a role in causing that uprising.

Maybe the reason China survived for thousands of years without collapsing as Western civilization did when Rome fell was the absence of a major religious movement in China stirring the peoples’ emotions.

Instead of listening to God from the mouths of Popes, prophets and priests, the Chinese had a blend of Confucianism and Taoism, which the family taught by example.

Return to The Question of Religion – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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Cultural Differences, the Ignorant American and Star Trek

May 21, 2010

I’ve watched Star Trek since the 1960s and have seen most of the spin offs.  In the Star Trek Universe there are many cultures and races—far too many for even Christians or Islam to convert since that seems to be a driving force behind both of these major religions even if it means using war and violence to make it happen.

One way to look at this is to consider cultures and countries like China, Japan, both Koreas, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and others as if they are light-years away from Western culture.

If the US sent a spaceship to a far off world around another star and discovered a culture that was alien to our way of life, but these aliens had powerful, modern weapons and a strong military to defend themselves there would be no way to force them to change as the West did to so many cultures during the 19th century and a good portion of the 20th.

But what if this culture around that foreign star had products and materials  we wanted or needed for our civilization to survive. To do business with them, we would have to accept that culture the way it was and not attempt to change them or judge them as if that planet were an American Territory to be terrorized and converted.

None of the Asian cultures on our earth developed from Christianity, Judaism or Islamic roots. Even our staunchest allies in Asia, Singapore and Thailand, are Asian cultures with governments that do not fit the America model.

What does loss of Face mean to most Chinese?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Blaming the Jews—Again!

March 28, 2010

Hitler blamed the Jews and killed millions. Christians blame today’s Jews for the crucifixion that happened almost two thousand years ago. Many in Islam want to destroy them.

Now, the Mathaba News Network is doing it—blaming the Jews for the world’s financial crisis. Look at the headline Mathaba splashed across a page on their Website about “Currency Wars“, a best seller in China about the current world economic crises, and the picture they use. Both are biased and misleading . Are the writers and editors at Mathaba racists and anti-Semitic?

Cover for "Currency Wars"

“The book’s author, Song Hongbing, claims that behind world-changing events like the battle of Waterloo, Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, President Kennedy’s assassination, and the deep recession in Asia during the 1990s stood an intricate conspiracy aimed at increasing Jews’ wealth and influence.”  Huh—the Jewish people are responsible for Hitler’s rise to power?

Reading further, I discovered that the Rothschild family is mentioned as the prime villain. Since when does one Jewish family represent thirteen million people?

I’m not Jewish, but I have Jewish friends, who are not part of a global conspiracy to control the world’s currencies—two of my friends are teachers, another runs a non-profit, and a fourth is a designer, but according to Mathaba’s headline, they are guilty because they are Jews. Who owns Mathaba? Iran.

I’ll tell you the real reasons why “Currency Wars” is a bestseller in China. China hasn’t suffered from the economic crises, and they control their currency. The Chinese want to know how the “masters” did it and learn from their mistakes.

See Deep Family Roots

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Cults and Christian Cannon Balls

March 11, 2010

Organized religions and cults like the Falun Gong have been in China for centuries, but have never played a major role in the culture until the 19th century when Christianity was forced on China. C.M. Cipolla wrote in his book, Guns, Sails and Empires, “While Buddha came to China on white elephants, Christ was born on cannon balls.”

In the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers, officially known as Fists of Righteous Harmony, roamed the countryside attacking Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts.

Confucius and possibly Lao-Tse have influenced the foundation of Chinese culture and morality the most.  These two along with Buddha offer more of a blended influence on Chinese culture than Christianity or Islam. Thanks to Confucius, China’s mainstream culture understands the importance of people within the family and society more so than many other countries and cultures. This may explain why China is a powerhouse of industry today.

Discover  The Man Who Made China

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Morality in China

March 10, 2010

I find it interesting when the Western media talks about how Communist China prevents or represses freedom of religion as if that were unique to today’s China. The truth is, China has a history of intolerance toward God based religions that tend, by their nature, to interfere with Chinese culture and family based morality. 

Religions like Buddhism and Taoism, which are similar, are not as aggressive as Christianity or Islam. That explains why Buddhism is the dominant religion in China today. Maybe that is why China’s top political advisor Jia Qinglin recently called on the country’s Buddhists to contribute to ethnic unity, social stability and national unification.

Reclining Buddha In Shanghai

Buddhist and Taoist influence on art and poetry have been a powerful influence on Chinese culture and entered mainstream Chinese tradition more than two thousand years ago.

Estimates say that about one hundred million Chinese follow Buddhism while the second largest religion is Taoism. A few million followers of Islam live in the northwest. Christians claim to be the fastest growing religion, but there are no facts to support this.

On the other hand, a recent survey found that eight hundred million Chinese say they belong to no religion. That does not mean that these Chinese have no morality since Confucianism is not a religion but is a lifestyle.

Discover Barbarians – a Matter of Opinion

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Education Chinese Style – Part 7

February 12, 2010

One of the Five Great Relationships that Confucius taught was the one between father and son. Nothing has changed. In addition, because of the relationship between husband and wife, the wife is expected to support the husband. It is the husband and wife’s responsibility to see that a son or daughter grows up to be like the gentleman that Confucius described. To do anything less would be a ‘loss of face’, because the child’s failure or success is a walking advertisement to everyone that the parents did not do their job.

Jade Budda Temple, Shanghai, China

Because of Confucius, most people in China have mutual obligations and responsibilities to each other. If you watched the opening Olympic ceremony in Beijing on TV, you may remember the little boy that risked his life after the big earthquake in Sichuan province. He said it was his duty. According to Confucius, he was right. Buddhism also plays an important part in everyday life in China.

These expectations go back more than two thousand years—well before Constantine made Christianity the moral and ethical foundation for the Roman Empire and Western civilization. Does that mean that everyone in China follows what Confucius taught? Do all Christians, Muslims or Jews follow what their God, spiritual teachers and prophets taught? The answer is no, but the foundations of these cultures are still built on those teachings.

See Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.


When China Speaks

February 9, 2010

It may not always be in the interest of the United States when China offers advice, but it would be best to listen carefully. When countries compare histories, China’s light would shine against many Christian and Islamic nations that have often waged wars needlessly. China’s philosophical and religious foundations from Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism have had a large influence over “many” but not all of China’s decisions.

1492 by Gavin Menzies

In  1421, a huge Chinese armada sailed across the Pacific, then the Indian Ocean.  The Chinese did some exploring and trading, then went home to stay. There were no wars—no land grabs or invasions. Seventy years later, Columbus crossed the Atlantic and found the Americas. In a few centuries, many ancient civilizations vanished and millions died.

For more than two thousand years, China was a super power and the leaders of China never used that power to wage wars of conquest like the West. Then in the 19th century, the Chinese became the victims of Western Imperialism.

So, when the Chinese Foreign Minister urges patience in Iran nuclear talks, maybe America, in its endless ” wisdom“, should listen before millions die in more needless wars. I’m sure that China doesn’t want a nuclear Iran any more than the rest of the world. Afer all, Tehran’s future missles are closer to Beijing, and China is no stranger to problems with Islam.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.