Chinese Philosophies and the Bible, are they in conflict?

The values taught by Chinese Philosophies and the Bible are the essentially the same --- harmony of heaven, earth and men. The mystery of Christ within is the fulfilment of Chinese' desire of 'Inside Saint and Outside King' by the grace of God. Reading ancient Chinese classics help us to understand the Bible better. Consider the concept of harmony. 

What is the greatest values according to the Chinese Philosophies?
Harmony. Harmony of heaven, earth and men. So harmonious that they become one. 天地人合一。It does not mean they loose their original identities to merge into one. But rather, each maintain each own, but act in unity for everlasting life and growth.
What did Jesus come to do?
To die on the cross to pay for the sins of men so that men can be reconciled to God, achieving peace between God and men. In other words, the purpose of Jesus is harmony between God and men and men living on earth. (recalled Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on EARTH. A new heaven and new earth ...). So, it is actually, harmony between God, Earth and Men!
So, can believers read and understand Chinese Philosophies? 
My answer is obvious --- yes and it is even better to know them well (the philosophies, not the religions). Understanding Chinese Philosophies give me better understanding of world and even of the Bible. Ancient Chinese Philosophies begin with the fear of God. Men should follow the Dao of the Earth(the natural order) and Heaven (the God's order as revealed in the working laws of the creation).
To understand better, tell me what you understand about "Harmony".
What does harmony mean? How do you achieve harmony? What are the results of harmony? I will give you the answers from the Ancient Chinese Philosophies perspective at end of this post. You can compare it to what you know from the Bible about harmony. Hopefully, you can find the teaching from Chinese Philosophies is similar and gives you more.
Coming back, what then is the difference between Chinese Philosophies and the Bible?
The key difference is in the incarnation of God into Man, Jesus Christ and the subsequent rebirth of man into children of God by the Holy Spirit, achieving the Christ in You, the greatest mystery of all.
Ancient Chinese Philosophies also believe men to be transformed from the inside out. Zhuang Zi (disciple of Lao Zi) proposed 内圣外王 (inside saint outside king ... ie. rule out from the saint within to achieve good government). Confucius school proposed the 内修外治 develop inner character and rule outward, from self to family to nation to peace on earth).
So, Christ within Men, is actually fulfilling the dreams and desires of the ancient Chinese Philosophers. What it takes men to try very hard on its own to do, God, through Jesus has achieved it for us. Is not this amazing? The good news of the Gospel. The dream fulfilled.
The warning for HyperGrace
But watch out, the rebirth, the new spiritual seed, have been planted in an old body and old mindset. The seed needs to grow-up to attain manhood in the like image of Jesus Christ. The ultra-grace or hyper-grace preachers like to forget or side-step this grow process of renewal of old mindset to new mindset, and just claim attainment of the blessings that Christ has achieved for us. The end result is making God as a prosperity god of the Chinese, making God as a means, the genie, to get what we want. They produce, not true disciples, but a bunch of entitlement oriented babies in grown up bodies!
Back to Harmony - How much do you know from the Bible?
What does harmony mean? 
  • Harmony is the vibrant and smooth exchanges of the unique contributions of diversity resulting in abundant growth for all. The modern day is called "synergy" with 1 + 1 (of another type) = 10, 100, 1000....
  • The foundation of Harmony is diversity, not uniformity!
  • Harmony is much much more than tolerance of the diversity.
  • Tolerance is separation, keeping a distance. In I-Ching, it is called 否stagnation, the very opposite of Abundance 泰. Harmony is vibrant with each one contributing his best to benefit others and the whole.

How do you achieve harmony? 

Three key concepts:
  1. 礼 the rules of conduct, good manners, the protocols for exchange.It is built on 仁 love, charity, kindness and 义,righteousness. It ensure no misunderstanding in the exchanges. 礼 li is how love should be expressed so that there is not misunderstanding intention in our actions.
  2. 乐 yue Music : the smooth interaction and exchanges and co-ordination resulting in great music, bringing joy, peace, rest, comfort to all. The music of interactions flow and adapt to changes.
  3. 中庸 balance of just right, no more and no less. Never going to the extreme, balancing the demands of many and creating win win win for all.
    It is not A or B favouring one party only, but A & B with a dynamic balance that shift with changes from internal or external. There is love in justice and justice in love. Going to the extreme is spoiling kids on the extreme end of love and rebellious and angry kids on the other extreme of just.
What are the results of harmony?

The result is growth for all and abundance wealth for all to share. By exchanging, the economy produces more. This is econ 101. But exchanges of love and care in the right way will bring forth abundance not just in economic wealth, but social peace, harmony and life, the real living.
Chinese Philosophies enrich the meaning of loving our neighbours as oneself so that we may love rightly and abundantly.

Lim Liat (c) 4 Feb 2015

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