Posted by Ian Samuels on 9:29 2/25/02
In reply to: Endajue again posted by Christopher O'Regan on 21:50 2/24/02
Actually, I think Confucianism does include an element of anthropomorphic veneration -- specifically of ancestors, famous and otherwise, many of whom are virtually deified. Shinto AFAIK is a Meiji (or post-Meiji?) nationalist take on traditional shamanism, and likewise includes a wide variety of anthropomorphic gods. I think overall, Irgend's point about the virtually universal need to have some kind of anthropomorphic (or partly anthropomorphic) figure to venerate / learn from / identify with / supplicate / just generally hang out with is well-taken. I personally can't think of many belief systems (even strictly secular ones) that are entirely absent this feature. The semantics of whether or not this constitutes "worship" per se may be less important -- "worship" is one of those words whose definition seems self-evident until you actually start trying to delimit it, and IMO can encompass dozens of motives simultaneously.
In any case -- and correct me if I'm wrong or misremembering -- Mark's account of Endajue seems to have been an account of the philosophical underpinnings of the religion rather than its daily practice. As such it's quite plausible, and (very very) vaguely reminiscent of Taoism.
Yes, that's a fair description. The description of Endajué is still incomplete; I do intend to discuss the popular forms of the religion more. There is a tendency for the common people to take a fairly austere belief system and add saints or godlings to it... one can see this, I think, in Catholicism, Buddhism, and even some forms of Islam. (The personality cults and the touting of heroes like Stakhanov may show that the same process applied to Communism.)