East Asian and Nordic Perspectives
Edited By Knut Alfsvåg and Thor Strandenæs
Chinese Filial Piety against the Impact of Post-modernity: A Christian Confucian Re-vision
Family has been the most basic unit of human society. When family is intact, its members are more resilient to the impact of social changes. If family is threatened with break down, its members will simply have to rely on either their inner or outside resources. If the inner resource is blocked or drained, and the outside resources are not accessible, the breakdown will be deepened.1
In traditional China the axis of the father-son relationship formed the backbone of kinship, and the value that regulated the father-son, broadly speaking parent-child, relationship in Chinese society has been filial piety.
For more than two millennia the ethos of filial piety constituted the predominant value of Chinese society, and contributed much to the emotional and familial stability of the traditional Chinese. However, when the tide of modernity began to influence the Chinese mind, social structure, and way of life, its impact was far-reaching and overwhelming.
In the past it was the value of filial piety that held the family and clan in solidarity and assured its continuity. Though traditional Chinese society before the May Fourth Movement had undergone many vicissitudes, its commitment to filial piety remained mostly unchallenged. But this was no longer true after May Fourth. When the force of modernity began to sweep swiftly over Chinese society and way of life, changes took place in a drastic and profound way.
Modernity changes our world view, mode of thinking,...
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