In my last post I discussed (or attempted to) how ancestor worship and filial piety can be a barrier to the spreading of the gospel in Taiwan. I didn't really mention (although I should have) much about how filial piety is not necessarily at odds with the Bible. Here is a comment from Scott of SQJ Taipei.
"Evangelicals have a pretty poor record regarding rituals in memory of the dead. Here's a silly, but perhaps helpful, analogy.
Most people have heard that undercooked seafood brings a good possibility of food poisoning. So... what do people do when they cook it? They OVERCOOK it and it generally tastes bad and is unpleasant.
Are Evangelicals so worried about slipping into occult practices that they go overboard the other direction by shunning nearly all forms of ritual in memory of the dead? Of course occult practices are wrong... but is the best response one where we don't allow any kind of meaningful memorials for the dead?
This blog covers some of these issues... but only read if you don't mind being challenged. He's not always right, but he sure generates dialogue.
Here is a recent post of interest (and I left a comment on it that might be of interest to Cahleen's readers)
Your intro to "filial piety" and the seeming clash between "culture" and "religion" is a good one. I'd like to add the following...
"I know of several cases where a person becomes a Christian and experiences the usual backlash from family. However, since the Bible is clear about the responsibility of the Christian to their elders and their parents, the new Christian is compelled to express filial piety in EVEN MORE MEANINGFUL WAYS than by burning money, incense, etc. Instead of merely performing a ritual (meaningful though it may be), they actually become SALT and LIGHT to their parents and other family members. The parents begin to wonder... why is my supposedly "unfilial" son/daughter treating me better than my other children... even though I'm mad at them? It is not uncommon for that ENTIRE family to come to follow Jesus because the entire concept of "filial piety" is turned on its head through Christian application.
It is also not uncommon for the family to continue to shun the Christian... but the situation I gave above needs to be shared when talking about this issue, too.
I am of the opinion that Christ not only redeems individual people... but he redeems cultures as well. Christianity does not conflict with the concept of "filial piety" at all... but perhaps does conflict with certain expressions of it which may vary from people group to people group... all of which can be reconciled to God."
It's important to keep these things in mind when ministering to Taiwanese people. So many more people would be willing to give Christ a chance.