The uniqueness and similarities of Confucianism, Taoism and Shintoism

Let us compare and contrast Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism.
Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism are considered as East Asian religions. That is, all of them have their palpable impact in the region called East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau).
Basically, these three religions underscore living in harmony with nature and fellow humans. They basically teach virtues (such as filial piety) and righteousness as key values that we should possess.
As regards theology, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism do not believe in an intelligent personal God—like the Creator believed in by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Nonetheless, they all believe in a powerful supernatural being or element in the form of either spirit or force.
Another predominant similarity or relation among Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism is how they have interweaved with the East Asian cultures, which also explains their continued existence in the region. This is a testament to their germaneness and their role in the cultures of the nations where they survive.
As regards differences, Confucianism is said to be founded by Confucius; Taoism was founded by Lao Zi (or Lao Tzu); while Shintoism has no clear founder.
Theologically speaking, although these three religions do not believe in an intelligent personal God, they all have their respective doctrine for a god-counterpart: ‘T’ien (heaven) for Confucianism, ‘Tao’ for Taoism, and ‘kami’ for Shintoism.
Shintoism is understandably predominant in Japan; Taoism is popular in China; while Confucianism is important to both China and Korea. Taiwan has Taoism as its main tradition.
Shintoism remains fairly pure and resilient in Japan, its homeland. In Singapore, Shinto is relatively non-existent despite a sizeable Japanese community.
Taoism and Confucianism did not remain exclusive in China and they have assumed various forms in outside its homeland, such as in Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.
In Singapore, Taoism is solid as one of the government’s recognized faiths, and Confucianism, as well, has propagated in many communities in the land.
For other free lectures like this (especially for students), visit Homepage: Introduction to World Religions and Belief Systems
Copyright © by Jens Micah De Guzman
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