Planned Church at “Ground Zero” of Confucianism Riles Chinese
Chinese government plans to construct a 135-foot tall Christian church in Confucius’ hometown have raised the hackles of many people who say a foreign house of worship has no place on such sacred ground.
The officially atheist Beijing government says it is building the church in Qufu in order to build a bridge between the country’s ancient religion and it’s fastest growing one. But many Chinese want nothing to do with the plan. An open letter from anti-church protesters asks:
“If a super-large Confucius temple were built in Jerusalem, Mecca or the Vatican, overshadowing the religious buildings there, how would the people feel about it? Would the government and the people accept it?”
The plot thickens. The church’s pastor is actually a descendant of Confucius, 75 generations removed from the great philosopher and spiritual leader.
Confucius lived some 2,500 years ago. His teachings emphasized personal and government morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.
The Chinese government has been pushing Confucius lately, not just in China but all over the globe. Now Beijing believes his hometown is the perfect place to foster an exchange of the two ancient philosophies of Confucianism and Christianity. But like authorities in New York found out when they approved plans to build an Islamic cultural center (which includes a mosque) near the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack, religion very often turns out to be more of a dividing than uniting force, despite the best intentions of more enlightened souls.