THE TASK OF CONFUCIANISM
BY HU SHIH
I BEGAN my part in this series by announcing that I was not a Confucianist. After that I sat here and listened to Dr. Hodous' lecture, in which he purposely or unconsciously referred to me as a part of that Confucianist movement belonging to the naturalistic section of Confucianism. I was wondering whether I should stick to my original announcement, or should accept the new attribution of faith? But at the end of Dr. Hodous' address he said, "Confucianism is dead. Long live Confucianism!" When I heard those two announcements I began to realize that probably I am a Confucianist--now that Confucianism is dead.
Confucianism is not a religion in the Western sense. As I tried to show in one of my lectures at the University and in some of the talks here, there have been times when Confucianism was a religion--sometimes a theistic religion. But as a whole, Confucianism never proposes to be a religion of the theistic type, never a religion of the missionary type. It never poses to believe in its own infallibility. It never had the courage to go out to preach its gospel to the non-believers. In that way the Chairman was quite right in changing the wording of the introduction in referring to my talk. He did not announce it as "The Task of Confucianism as a Modern Religion," but said simply that I was going to say a few words on the task of modern religion as viewed from the Confucianist standpoint.
I think that is quite right. Confucianism, as was announced by Dr. Hodous, is certainly dead. It has com