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Chinese Religion And The Modern Moral Order: Comments On Richard Madsen

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Chapter Summary

Richard Madsen’s paper “Toward a hopeful sociology” makes an interesting thesis: religious movements are the hope for building a basis of a modern moral order. Madsen’s paper provides many insights and analyses and can also provide a new understanding and direction to researchers of Chinese religions and religious movements in Chinese society. Madsen’s paper suggests that Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist traditions provide valuable resources for the building of the religious movements he studied in Taiwan. It seems to the author that individualism still exists and is prevalent in the religious organizations Madsen studied, such as the Tzu Chi Merit Society. Taiwan Buddhist scholar Shi Zhao-hui was severely critical of the political position of Cheng Yen. Madsen attempts to suggest a kind of critical reason of values to replace the prevalent critical reason of science, in order to find a solid basis for a modern moral order.

Keywords: Chinese religions; Confucian tradition; Daoist; modern moral order; religious movements; Richard Madsen; Taiwan; Tzu Chi Merit Society



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