Throughout global history many structures of religions formed the basis of social, political, and economic factors of a community. What the members of a religion discovered within themselves, and their faiths, controlled the development of the region in which they lived. Two examples of this were the belief systems of Confucianism and the Greek pantheon of gods, which created the cultures of China and Greece. Confucianism, developed by the philosopher Confucius, during times of conflict in early B. C, soon became the dominating belief system in China.
Confucianism was based on mutual relationships; husband to wife, father to son, leader to subjects. Social harmony could be achieved through respect for the elders, as well as respect and kindness for those people lower in social rank. This applied to the politics of China because it set the basis for the belief of obedience to the emperor, as long as the emperor treated his subjects kindly, and with respect. The idea of Filial Piety was humility towards one superior. Because of this, in China, leaders and elders were in the highest regard.
Confucianism also highly valued education. This idea helped shape the Chinese bureaucracy. Civil Service Examinations were established to test government officials, making sure that they possessed a high level of intelligence and knowledge. The tests helped stabilize the dynastic control within China due to the fact that educated, and worthy people helped create new and better ways to form a smoothly run nation. Although the Ancient Greek civilization formed before and separately from China, the Greeks developed a belief system that influenced life, just as much as Confucianism.
The major idea of the Greek religion was the belief in gods and goddesses that controlled every aspect of life. Divine beings they were, yet they were mostly human; taking on mortals’ appearances as well as their flaws. The gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece controlled the way of life, through the way the sun set, to the way people fell in love. Because the gods and goddesses represented areas such as art and philosophy, the Ancient Greek civilization was based on philosophical, artistic and scientific inquiry. The people viewed their curiosity and discoveries as divine gifts from the gods.
The gods and goddesses, as well as being morally bound, were also vengeful and spiteful. As shown in the Iliad and Odyssey, when a mortal behaved in a way against the gods or goddesses they would react back to the guilty, possibly by a plague, or a death. Because the mortals were so afraid of the gods’ revenge, they built shrines and temples to the divine beings. Not only do the religious buildings provide insight into the life of the Ancient Greeks, they also helped develop architectural feats. Religions and belief systems vary greatly depending on the area that they represent.
However, despite the differences in the religious and philosophical beliefs of varying nations, the similarly between them all is that they help define the society. Confucianism developed social and moral rules to help regulate China, as well as create civil service examinations to create an educated governing system. The Greek pantheon created a society in which the quest for knowledge, art, and scientific discovery was revered. Both belief systems made the people of the different societies create the political, economical, and social factors that helped China and Greece reach their full potential.