Essay on The Great Encounter of China and the West

1511 Words Nov 26th, 2006 7 Pages
The Great Encounter of China and the West

When the Chinese and Europeans first came into contact with each other, there was a mutual fascination for the other's culture, or way of life. The Chinese began to look at the European culture. They became interested in Western thinking. They were also beginning to look at the religion that the European missionaries were preaching about, Christianity. On the other end, the Europeans who came in contact with the Chinese were fascinated by their culture and their philosophy, mainly the philosophy of Confucius. While the two cultures seemed to be a good match, each respecting and admiring the other, it came to an abrupt halt. The end result was China and Europe both rejecting the other culture.
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They thought the many towers, and the crosses on the outside of the church buildings violated the harmony and were detrimental to the Chinese who worked and lived nearby. The Chinese began to fear that their women would be seduced by the Europeans. There were cases of seduction, but they were few and far between. Churches in China usually had two chapels, one for men and one for women. If a church had only one chapel, then men and women had to worship at different times. Men and women were not allowed to be in the chapel at the same time. The only exception to this rule was the relationship the women had with their priests. The women had to confess to a male while in the church. The Chinese did not approve of this, and often felt as though the Priests might be fondling their women. A final reason that the Chinese began to reject the Europeans and their culture was because the Chinese believed that the missionaries were practicing some form of alchemy. Daoism used alchemy for two different goals: to make silver, and to produce immortality through an elixir. The missionaries preached of spiritual immortality, and the Chinese immediately associated that with the Daoism immortality. Daoism was more concerned with the immortality of the body rather than the spirit and soul. The Chinese had many reasons to fear and ultimately reject the Westerners. The first anti-Christian movement was in 1616-1621 in Nanjing. This revolt was started by Shen

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