Author: LIN Xiaobin, Ph. D. Candidate, the Center for Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies of Shandong University.
“God’s Will” and “Tian ming” (天命, mandate of heaven) are core issues in the traditional thought of Christianity and Confucianism respectively. Confucianism proposes to comprehend the meaning of “Tian ming” by listening - entering into one’s life experience, while Christianity stresses on faith-revelation, a religious path for accepting God’s Will. Both are closely related to human survival, yet the different interpretations of “Tian ming” and “God’s Will” given by Confucianism and Christianity have led to two very different ways of living. The Confucian pays attention to moral cultivation, which aims to “comprehend as in an enclosure the transformations of Heaven and Earth [without error]; by an ever-varying adaptation he completes the nature of all things [without exception].” In Christianity, on the other hand, one accepts in faith God`s will and so achieves the renewal of the concept of the self and enters a state of living in accord with God`s will. This dialogue between ethics and religion is in essence a collision between two views of existence. The collision shows that when these two views exist or coexist in the same context, some form of tension is inevitable.
God’s Will; Tian ming; mandate of heaven; the interpretive form of Confucianism and Christianity; human ethics and religion
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