Tag Archive for Ric Vatner

ACFA Briefing Note: Chinese Culture

Practically from their earliest contact with the Orient, Western philosophers have had little understanding of the philosophical traditions of China. In fact their common view was and still is in many places, that all ancient Chinese writing and traditions are not philosophy, but religion or some form of mysticism.

Apart from anything else the strangest thing about this view is, that in all three of the major Chinese philosophies there is no God, which is viewed as essential in the traditional western understanding of, and a prerequisite to be, a religion. So while the West has often pointed to China as the great atheist nation they have at the same time tended to lump the huge body of ethical and metaphysical discussion, which goes back at least 4,000 years, into the same basket as mysticism and strange religions.