The family was extolled as the nucleus of the state, and filial piety was the loftiest of virtues. There are no churches or clergy in Confucianism.

Its founder stressed ancestor worship as a mark of gratitude and respect. After his death, the custom was expanded to include worship of Confucius himself in temples erected for that purpose.

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That worship became the official state religion in the 2nd century B.C. for some 2,000 years, i.e., up to the 20th century it formed the basis of the belief system of China.

Taoism:

Taoism was founded by Lao Tze (604-517 B.C.)—a contemporary of Confucius. He was also a ruler. Lao’s writings emphasized the mystical or magical aspect of life. According to this belief, everything is not knowable.

He asserted that myths and legends develop to explain events; and the universe is not ultimately the subject of rational analysis. According to the Tao philosophy, the eternal happiness lies in total identi­fication with nature and deploring passion, unnecessary invention, and unneeded knowledge.

Beginning in the 1st century A.D., this philosophical naturalism was coupled with a religious Taoism involving deities, spirits, magic, temples, and priests.

Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism are not in reality competing religious in China, because many Chinese accept the teachings of all the three.