What is the Chinese faith?

The tablet of God of Royal Heaven in Temple of Heaven, Beijing

The faith is the value basis of  individuals and society, as well as the fundamental mental source of personal behavior.

What is the Chinese faith?

Since the Shang Dynasty (the 17th century BC- the 11th century BC) , around 3,500 years ago, Chinese believed that there was a creator, the existence of Supreme Being. According to the study of the inscriptions on bones by Mr. Chen, Mengjia, the name of “上帝(Shangdi)”, God, appears many times on them. God controlled storm, life and destiny, and also was in charge of sun, moon, stars, day and night. He was the center of the universe, and also was the absolute dominator of the earth, rivers and mountains. He could give orders, blessing or scourge. Although he did not have the concrete shape, he had anthropomorphic characteristics. God was the supreme deity of the Yin Dynasty, and the dominator of the nature and countries. His unique, omnipotent and deiform characteristic miraculously consists with Jehovah, God of the ancient Hebrews.

The ancient Chinese awareness of the absolute existence of God is the supreme comprehension to the ultimate world, which is consistent with the origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In fact, different religions are different communication ways between humans and God, although the origins are not different. Due to the misunderstanding and bigotry of humans, religious wars occurred from time to time.

In the Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC – 256 BC ) , the concept of “天(Tian) “, heaven, gradually replaced the “ Shangdi (God)”. The king of Zhou was considered as the unique son of heaven, and he was addressed as “天子(Tianzi)”. His legitimacy as a king to dominate the country on the earth came from God’s will; God’s will depended on public opinion, which was decided upon whether the king respected morality or not. According to the structural link of heaven – populace- morality, heaven was given the undoubted ethical character. The dominators of the Zhou dynasty believed that God’s permission was closely related to populace’ will. Based on above ethic, the king’ family proposed the theory of following heaven, respecting moralities and conserving populace. The king of Zhou advocated the liberal governance, which would get the conservation of God and keep their dominance.

Chinese Zhou Dynasty Oracle script for tian, the character for “heaven” or “sky”.


Duke of Zhou, Jidan, interpreted  ” heaven” as ” God of royal heaven”, and the “destiny” as “God ‘s will”, which is equivalent to the view of the divine destiny on religious significance. It launched the Chinese belief and formed a sacrificial system more than 3,000 years. From that time, Chinese emperors awed and worshiped heaven throughout Chinese ancient history. Every emperor of China had to set up the place to sacrifice heaven, such as Beijing Temple of Heaven, where the emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties worshiped God. Worship of heaven became the most concerned ceremony for Chinese emperors.

What is more, from the kings of Zhou dynasty,  Chinese emperors monopolized the explanation and worship of heaven by the rituals. Along with the consolidation of the unified feudal country, monarchical power was enhanced unconditionally without any concessions, and worship of God was completely monopolized by the Chinese emperors. Consequently, the people were deprived of the right to communicate with God directly, so they had to communicate with God through their ancestors, which became the only way to God.  After the revolution of 1911, more than 3,000 years’ monarchy was overthrown, and the consistent royal sacrifice to God was also repealed. What do Chinese people believe in? It becomes a real problem.

Editors of the Chinese Constitution, Temple of Heaven, 1913

From the religious significance, the Chinese ancient emperors comprehended that they were responsible to supreme and righteous God. Therefore, they were obliged to govern the country by goodness and humility. Through ancient Chinese history, beliefs in God never left China, and Chinese emperors manifested their legitimacy by the ceremony of Worship of Heaven in divine land (a poetic name for China) . Chinese cohesion and civilization are from God.

Today, Chinese are unfamiliar to God because Chinese culture was destroyed and interrupted by CCP, but God, the Creator of the nature and universe, is unique and constant. God is omnipresent, all wise and almighty; he never leave us alone. Everybody can worship God by self-awareness  and communicate with God by authentic spirituality. Chinese have responsibilities to inherit and carry forward Chinese culture. After breaking the monopoly of royal God faith, Chinese should recover belief in God and regain psychic freedom.

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