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  • Author or Editor: 肖 清和 x
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Abstract

The theory of reward for the good and retribution for the evil (善恶报应) was one of the key issues in the dialogue between Catholicism and indigenous religions in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. Under the monotheistic framework, Catholicism advocates a supernatural God for rewarding good and punishing evil. It thus had a more logical and rigorous theological argumentation at its disposal in its exchanges and dialogues with Chinese native religions on the standards of good and evil, the question of who has the right to reward and punish, the consequences of reward and retribution, and so on. This article begins by analyzing the Confucian theory of stimulus-response between the heaven and human beings (天人感应). Secondly, it sketches the views expressed by the theories of reward for the good and retribution for the evil in Buddhism and Taoism. Then, it discusses the Catholic views on rewarding good and punishing evil during late Ming and early Qing, and also examines the responses of the native religions of China to the Catholic views on rewarding good and punishing evil. Finally, it summarizes the similarities and differences of the theories of reward for the good and retribution for the evil between Catholicism and Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. As for the intention to do good, there were some commonalities between Catholicism and Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism in the movement to promote good deeds during late Ming and early Qing. However, they were distinct in the perspective of the standards of good and evil, the subjects of retribution, and the roles of individuals in retribution, which caused the conflicts between Catholicism and its opponents in China. The introduction of the Catholic theory of reward for the good and retribution for the evil has undoubtedly further enriched Chinese religious thoughts since the late Ming dynasty.

In: Journal of Chinese Theology