This is a

WHAT MATTERS

"Imagine That!"


Inscrutable!

If you were to ask someone what the official religion of China is, you would probably receive more of a guess than a knowing response. Since the end of the Second World War and the drawing of the Bamboo Curtain across that part of the world, we in The West have lost sight of, and familiarity with, the world's oldest, continuously-existing civilization.

When Marco Polo 'discovered' China in the 12th century, China had already experienced well over three thousand years of recorded history.

The main religions of China, and there are three, can all be traced to the same (approximate) time period, around 500 B.C., when the founders of each were contemporaries: Confucius, Gautama Siddhartha and Lao Tse. But Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, neither together nor individually, can claim to be China's official religion; it is a trick question. The official religion of China since the Communist triumph in 1949 has been State Atheism.

Now, many religions exist in China in spite of official government Atheism but China did have an official religion for millennia before the arrival of Chairman Mao or, for that matter, before the arrival of Confucius, or Gautama or Lao Tse on the scene. With origins lost in antiquity but with ceremonies and prayers preserved for us in historical records kept faithfully from the Hsai Dynasty, dating from around 2205 B.C., the official religion of ancient China is, surprisingly, quite recognizable. Listen to this prayer, offered by the emperor, as high priest, to the Deity they called Shang-ti, during great ceremonial occasions held at the Northern and Southern borders of the ancient kingdom:

"Of old IN THE BEGINNING, there was the great chaos, without form and dark. The five elements had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and the moon to shine. In the midst thereof there existed neither forms nor sound.


Thou, O spiritual Sovereign [ ] camest forth in Thy presidency, and first didst divide the grosser parts from the purer; Thou madest Earth; Thou madest man. All things with their reproducing power got their being ....


... Thou hast vouchsafed, O Ti [ ] to hear us for Thou regardest us as a Father. I, Thy child, dull and
unenlightened, am unable to show forth my dutiful feelings. Thy sovereign goodness is infinite. As a potter, Thou hast made all living things."

Taken from: Kang, C.H. & Ethel R. Nelson,
The Discovery of Genesis, Concordia Publishing House, 1979, p.15

 

While our European ancestors were savage tribes of nomads and long before the great Greek and Roman civilizations were worshipping idols of wood and stone, the Chinese were monotheists, worshipping one God who created Heaven and Earth.

Imagine that! 


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