How Confucianism could curb global warming

csmIn today’s Christian Science Monitor, I published an op-ed piece that ties together some of the themes that I’ve been blogging about lately:

  • Is democracy the best vehicle to ensure sustainable development?
  • What is the Confucian view of the human person and its relationship to the environment?
  • How is the Confucian renaissance in China changing official thinking about economic decisions?

You can read more on how Confucianism could curb global warming.

what is freedom of religion for?

A Taiji quan peformance

A Taiji quan performance at a Daoist temple in Sichuan

There is hardly a truth more sacred to the contemporary American imagination than that religion must be free from interference by the state and that the state must be free from interference from religion. Neither of these ideals holds true in China, and this fact is an enormous thorn in the side of Chinese-American relations, especially as regards the Tibet question.

The fact is that religions and the state in China have co-existed in something of a symbiotic relationship for thousands of years. In medieval China, Buddhists seeking to ingratiate themselves in the life of the court proposed rituals to bring about the salvation and prosperity of the empire. Daoist priests also ordained emperors and oversaw court rituals. In return, the Emperor bestowed his patronage on monasteries and temples, granting them land, money and prestige. At the heart of this arrangement was a very simple and natural proposition: you help me and I’ll help you. (More…)