Home Discussion Forum Are Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism considered religions? If so or if not...

Are Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism considered religions? If so or if not Why?

I have to answer this question for school and am having a hard time figuring out whether they would be considered religions. I have found evidence that says they are not while at the same time found some that says they are. I know they do not worship a god or anything and emphasis is placed on the way they live. Some say they are more like an ethical system especially were confucianism is concerned. I still am undecided tho and just wondered others opinons on the matter.


  1. I know that Shinto and Taoism can be practiced, so that suggests that they are religious in nature. There is no dogmatic rituals to be followed, but there are practices like meditation and gatherings to go to if you want. It can go either way, religious or philosophical. Confucianism I don’t know enough about.

  2. They could be considered religions, though philosophy is a better terminology. You should throw in Satanism in your answer, just to add some spice (if you’re daring enough and your teacher is open minded enough). It is also more of a philosophy than a religion as it is about self-worship and not a higher deity.

  3. Religion:
    —noun 1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
    Yes, they are religions. They do not involve deities, but they do address the spiritual nature of the world. Taoism, the one I know the most about, is not very organized or administrative – but it is a set of beliefs agreed upon by a number of persons.
    Confucianism may seem like a code of ethics, but the reason for adhering to the code of ethics is spiritual, and therefore it is religious.
    I don’t know much about Shintoism but I imagine the story is similar.
    These religions may not be familar, but they are still religions nonetheless.


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