The God Early Chinese Worshipped


Introduction
The following are the hindrances to Chinese coming to know Jesus:
They believe that Christianity is a foreign religion.
They believe that Buddhism and Taoism are the original religions of China and should therefore be followed.
These are the lies that need to be exposed so that the Chinese can come to know Jesus.

Buddhism and Taoism were not the original religions of China.
Buddhism is a religion that started in India, not China. Buddha was an Indian born at about 560 B.C. He searched for wisdom in the Hindu Scriptures but could not find something that satisfied him. Finally, he rejected them and founded another religion.

Buddhism was introduced to China only in first century A.D. by Buddhist monks who travelled to China from India. It did not gain popularity until the 3rd century A.D. With the downfall of the Han dynasty in the 3rd century, it was a period of difficulty for China. The message of Buddhism that life is suffering, that there is a law of rewards and retribution, appealed to the people.

Many of the so-called Chinese gods were not originally Chinese at all. One example is Kuan Ying, which was an Indian god. The original name of Kuan Yin was Avalokitesvara.

Taoism did start in China but it was started much later at round 600 B.C. It is believed to have its roots in a person called Lao-tzu but the practises today are far removed from what Lao-tze actually taught.

The early Chinese worshipped the Supreme Ruler of heaven
Ancient Chinese kings
From historical records, we know that the early Chinese worshipped a Supreme God in heaven. In the earliest period of Chinese history Xia 夏Dynasty (2247 to 1766 B.C. ) Shang 商 Dynasty (1766 to 1111 B.C.), the Supreme God was called Shang-Ti 上帝. The Supreme God of the succeeding Chou 周 Dynasty (1100 to 256 B.C.) was called Tien 天.

The earliest record of religious worship in China is found in Shu Jing 书经 (the Book of History compiled by Confucius). Record from this book shows that Emperor Shun in 2230 B.C. “sacrificed to Shang-Ti” 上帝.

Can Shang-Ti 上帝 be identified as the same Supreme Deity of Christianity? Let us examine portions of the recitation script from the annual border ritual sacrifices in which the emperor, as the high priest, alone participated in the sacrificial service.

Of old in the beginning, there was great chaos, without form and dark. The five elements (planets) had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and the moon to shine. In the midst thereof there existed neither form nor sound. Thou, O Sovereign (帝) came forth in Thy presidency and first did divide the grosser parts from the purer. Thou made heaven. Thou made earth. Thou made man. All things with reproducing power got their being. (Source: Shu Jing 书经, Book of History compiled by Confucius)

This is so similar to the Creator God described in the book of Genesis.

(Gen 1:1-2 NIV)  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. {2} Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
创 世 纪
1:1 起初神创造天地。
1:2 地是空虚混沌。渊面黑暗。神的灵运行在水面上。

This Shang-Ti 上帝 is also regarded like unto a Father, a Potter.

Thou has vouchsafed, O Ti (帝), to hear us, for Thou regardest us as a Father. I, Thy child, dull and unenlightened, am unable to show forth my dutiful feelings. Thy sovereign goodness is infinite. As a potter, Thou hast made all living things. (Source: Shu Jing 书经, Book of History compiled by Confucius)

This is again similar to the Christian concept of God as a Father and Potter.

(Isa 64:8 NIV)  Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
以 赛 亚 书

64:8 耶和华阿,现在你仍是我们的父。我们是泥,你是窑匠。我们都是你手的工作。

Confucius
Not only did the ancient Chinese kings worship the God of heaven, even the ancient Chinese sages did. Confucius clearly regarded Tien 天 as the Supreme and personal deity. He even said that it was Heaven who protected him and gave him the message.

XX.3: The Master said, "Without recognizing the ordinances of Heaven, it is impossible to be a superior man."
The Master said, "Heaven 天 produced the virtue that is in me.

The Master said, "Not so. He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray." (Source: Analects of Confucius)


Taoism

Lao-tze
Though Lao-tze is regarded as the founder of Taoism, he really had nothing to do with many of its religious precepts, as followed today. He is believed to have left his teachings in a 5000-word book called Tao Te Ching 道德经.

The Tao (also spelled Dao) that he described does not correspond to the Taoist practises of today. The original Tao is more in line with what the Bible teaches.

Lao-tze called Dao the Almighty.

I do not know His name.
Name Him Dao possibly.
For lack of a better word,
I call Him “The Almighty”

我不知他的名字, 以 “道” 为他的字,
勉强以 “大” 为他的名.

Compare this to what the Bible teaches.

(Deu 10:17 NIV)  For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome…
因为耶和华你们的神他是万神之神,万主之主,至大的神,大有能力,大而可畏…

Lao-tze believed that this Dao existed from the very beginning, even before the creation of heaven and earth. He believed that the universe started as a void and this mysterious Being was moving constantly in the universe and is the Creator of all things in it.

Something mysteriously already made,
Existing before heaven and earth
In the silence and the void,
Standing alone and unchanging,
Ever present in constant motion.
Perhaps He is the source of myriads of things.
(Source: Tao Te Ching 道德经)

有物神秘的形成, 在天地之日物之前就存在.
在沉寂与 空中, 独立而不变化, 不停地运行,
可以称作万物之源.

Look at its similarity to the Bible account.

(Gen 1:1-2 ASV)  And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
创 世 纪
1:1 起初神创造天地。
1:2 地是空虚混沌。渊面黑暗。神的灵运行在水面上。

Lao-tze even taught that Dao is the Son.
I do not know whose Son He is,
He was before any king (born into this world)
(Source: Tao Te Ching 道德经)

我不知道他 (道) 是谁的儿子
有帝王气象, 却在帝王之先

The Bible tells us…

Col 1:13,15 Who has made us free from the power of evil and given us a place in the kingdom of the Son of his love; who is the image of the unseen God coming into existence before all living things;

他救了我们脱离黑暗的权势,把我们迁到他爱子的国里;爱子是那不能看见之神的像,是首生的,

Lao Tze believed that the Tao was the uncreated cause and was transcendent in time.

"In the beginning was the Tao. All things issue from it; all things return to it" (v. 52).

Contrast this to what the Bible says about the Word. Interestingly, the Bible uses the same Chinese word "Tao 道" for "Word" in John 1.

John
1:1
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- 太初有道,道与神同在,道就是神。
1:2
- The same was in the beginning with God.
- 这道太初与神同在。
1:3
- All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
- 万物是藉着他造的。凡被造的,没有一样不是藉着他造的。

The Tao is engaged in creation, which it cares for: "The Tao gives birth to all beings, nourishes them, maintains them, cares for them, comforts them, protects them . . ." (v. 51). Contrast this to the Bible.

"I [Yahweh] have nourished and brought up children . . ." (Isa. 1:2); ". . . and upholding all things by the word of his power . . ." (Heb. 1:3.); ". . . casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you." (1 Pt 5:7); ". . . for the Lord has comforted his people" (Is 49:13).

The moral teachings of the Tao are also very similar to what the Bible teaches.

The Tao warns against judging: "If you close your mind in judgments and traffic with desires, your heart will be troubled. If you keep your mind from judging and aren’t led by the senses, your heart will find peace" (v. 52). "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged, and with what measure you measure out, it shall be measured to you again" (Mt 7:1–2).

The Tao teaches universal love: "Love the world as your self; then you can care for all things" (v. 13).

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Mt 22:39). "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you" (Mt 5:44).

The Tao teaches a way of gentleness to overcome force: "The gentlest thing in the world overcomes the hardest thing in the world" (v. 43). "Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves" (Lk 10:3).

Stressing these and other parallels may soften your friend’s heart and allow him to hear the gospel anew. But keep in mind that there are two huge differences between the religions. Despite the similar language, the Tao and Yahweh are vastly dissimilar. Taoism does not admit a Creator who is conscious and personal or who strives for us. Neither does Taoism admit original sin, though it recognizes destructive behavior. In Taoism there is no need for salvation, only enlightenment.

(Source: www.catholic.com)