What is the element of God according to Confucianism?

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This is somewhat confusing, as Confucius never claimed deity, and those who practice Confucianism don't worship him as such. This is further complicated by the fact that most of those who follow the beliefs of Confucianism don't really consider it a religion but, rather, a way to explain the world...

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This is somewhat confusing, as Confucius never claimed deity, and those who practice Confucianism don't worship him as such. This is further complicated by the fact that most of those who follow the beliefs of Confucianism don't really consider it a religion but, rather, a way to explain the world and to live a full and meaningful life. Those who believe in this philosophy also look to the teachings of Confucianism to live in better harmony with mankind, placing emphasis on building those relationships instead of one with a deity.

A concept relating to heaven is sometimes referred to in Confucian teachings, but it is not in the way that those of Christian faiths are used to. Instead, followers of Confucianism look for the sacred in everyday life. There is not an emphasis on considering the afterlife, but there is an emphasis in honoring one's ancestors as a part of spiritual life.

Tian refers to the God of Heaven and to all forces beyond human control. Confucius wrote of trying to understand the movements of Tian, noting that doing so provides a person with a special place in the universe. However, this is not a relationship that is comparable to other religions, such as Christianity and Judaism. Confucius himself often sacrificed food for his ancestors—not to Tian.

Therefore, while there is an element of a being existing beyond this world, the role this being serves and the relationship humans create with this being is not one that those who follow Confucianism typically focus on.

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Confucianism can be seen more as a way of life than what most people would describe as a religion. This is because its primary focus is on moral conduct—that is to say, on how human beings behave towards one another, rather than on the relationship between humans and a transcendent deity. In Confucianism, what matters most of all is the achievement of harmony and balance on this earth in the here and now.

That's not to say that there's no divine element in Confucianism—far from it. It's just that the notion of the divine plays a completely different role here than it does in, say, Christianity or Judaism. The nearest thing to the Judeo-Christian God in Confucianism is Tian, or Heaven. Tian can best be understood as the supreme source of goodness in the universe, providing an absolute moral standard against which the actions of human beings may be judged.

Unlike the traditional God of Judaism and Christianity, Tian doesn't actively involve himself in human affairs; he doesn't perform miracles or send down signs of divine wrath, but he is all-seeing and all-knowing, a beneficent cosmic principle that organizes the distinct social and family hierarchies down here on Earth that are such a notable feature of Confucianism and through which virtue and morality are taught.

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