East vs West Differences
The East-West differences: Understanding the Chinese person in order to share Jesus effectively
Respectfully prepared and presented by Shirley Eu
Confucius 孔夫子 (Kong Fuzi) / Contemporary of Daniel, Ezekiel, Nahum
Born in State of Lu (鲁) or modern day Shandong; 551- 479 BC, Zhou Dynasty; Thinker, sage, teacher, humanist. Disciples wrote Analects (his teachings). Mengzi and Xunzi were his disciples who continued to perpetuate Confucianism. Confucianism was never began as a religion, but rather a social philosophy.
Saving Face: Chinese in origin, to metaphorically mean "To preserve (or not lose) prestige; honor; reputation." liu mianzi 留面子 "grant face; give (someone) a chance to regain lost honor.
Filial piety In the world of Chinese ethics, the essential meaning of filial piety is not only loving and respecting one’s living parents. It also implies the meaning of respecting and loving those parents and ancestors who have already died.
Moral Good works Confucius’ vision of order unites aesthetic concerns for harmony and symmetry with moral force in pursuit of social goals: a well-ordered family, a well-ordered state, and a well-ordered world. Such an aesthetic, moral, and social program begins at home, with the cultivation of the individual.
The Theme of Guilt, Shame and Fear, the three effects of sin form the basis of the three primary worldviews present in cultures today.
Genesis 3:7-10 Then the eyes of both of them were opened (GUILT), and they realized they were naked (SHAME); so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 …But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" 10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid (FEAR) because I was naked; so I hid."
North American culture is obsessed with defining what is right/wrong and so their world view can be defined as guilt-based. Cultures with this worldview have this paradigm expressed in different ways:
1 Guilty vs innocence 2 Right vs wrong 3 Good guy vs bad guy
People in this culture are looking to avoid being wrong/ guilty. They desire someone to relieve them of their guilt, to pay their penalty, and bring them into right relationship with the authority.
In the fear-based paradigm, the key issue is expressed:
1 Fear vs Power
Buddhism, Animism, Ancestral worship and Hinduism are some examples of fear-based religions. When speaking with people with a fear-based worldview, they will be drawn to Jesus who performed many miraculous demonstrations of his power, culminating in his resurrection from the dead.
The third primary worldview can be described as Shame-based. The Chinese culture has this worldview:
1 Shame vs Honour 2 Unapproved vs Approved 3 Disrespect vs Respect
What is most important to people with this worldview is to keep their honor intact. When dealing with a circumstance that brings shame, they may start by covering it up, then denying it. If it cannot be ignored or hidden, they might commit suicide, leave their family, or take revenge on the one who shamed them. The portrayal of God as one who removes shame and restores honor, as in the story of the prodigal son, can give great hope to those with a shame-based worldview.
Recommended reading/Resources taken from:
The message, the messenger and the community by Roland Muller
Faith of our fathers by Chan Kei Thong
Filial piety in Chinese Thought and History by Alan Chan and Sor-Hoon Tan
Cross-cultural Conflict by Duane Elmer
Labels: East vs West differences