Did Ancient China Believe in the God of Christianity?
IN SEARCH OF THE HEAVENLY EMPEROR:
Unveiling the Abrahamic Mysteries in Ancient China
(A feature-length documentary motion picture)
Contrary to popular beliefs, the original religion of the Chinese people was not Buddhism or Taoism. These came in millennia after the original faith. Rather, it was the worship of Shang Di (Heavenly Emperor) or Tian (Heaven), the monolithic deity that governed the heaven and the earth and the creator of all beings. Confucius called his worship the most important duty of the earthly king and a key in demonstrating the king’s legitimacy. Who was this deity that was so important to the Chinese of old? Why so few Chinese people know about him today? What is his relationship to other great religions in the world?
When the Jesuit missionaries first arrived in China in the 1600s, they recognized great similarities between the god of the Chinese people and the God of the Bible especially in the Abrahamic teachings of the Old Testament. The missionaries’ discoveries were supported even by some Confucius scholars. They were so well received throughout the kingdom that even the Emperor himself declared an edict to support Christianity throughout the kingdom. As much of the Old Testament was accepted by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, a connection to such beliefs will link the world’s oldest continuing civilization to the origin of the greatest faiths of humankind.
What happened? What connections did the missionaries discovered? Can these connections stand the test of time and scientific examinations? How do those discoveries relate to the people today?
Can the humankind really be related as one big family?
This movie takes us to the far corners of the world—from the remote outpost of the ancient Silk Road to the ruins of a lost people. It also brings together some of the brightest minds from the world’s most prestigious institutions of learning. It explores evidences in imperial rites, language, legends, archaeology, and scientific findings, painting a picture distinctively contradicting to popular beliefs. Knowing this picture will change our understanding of the world’s greatest religions and the most populous people on the planet…indeed the very concept of who we are!
Documentary team Dr. Peter Chan, Casey Williams, and Dr. Caroline Kwok will present their findings on September 24th, 2016 at BYU China Conference 2016.