Source: Sceptical Essays, 1928, chap. 8)


 罪(原罪)という考えから生れるもう一つの結果は、西欧人の間での意見の相違が、原則論から相手を悪と断定し、対立、抗争となる点である。(中国にも力に訴える軍人はいるが)日常の生活では普通、第三者の仲裁で解決される。妥協は一般に容認されている原則で、両方の面子を守ることが国民的慣習である。社会的・政治的生活においても、西欧人の方がずっと残酷で、西欧が精力的・好戦的である限り、独立のためには中国も西欧の悪徳をまねざるを得ない。この悪徳を '進歩' と勘違いしてはならない。
(松下注:挿絵は、ラッセルの The Good Citizen's Alphabet , 1953 より)。
(Professor Giles, the eminent Chinese scholar, at the end of his Gifford Lectures on “Confucianism and its Rivals,” maintains that the chief obstacle to the success of Christian missions in China has been the doctrine of original sin. The traditional doctrine of orthodox Christianity - still preached by most Christian missionaries in the Far East - is that we are all born wicked, so wicked as to deserve eternal punishment. The Chinese might have no difficulty in accepting this doctrine if it applied only to white men, but when they are told that their own parents and grandparents are in hell-fire they grow indignant. Confucius taught that men are born good, and that if they become wicked, that is through the force of evil example or corrupting manners. This difference from traditional Western orthodoxy has a profound influence on the outlook of the Chinese.

Among ourselves, the people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forgo ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others. There is an element of the busybody in our conception of virtue: unless a man makes himself a nuisance to a great many people, we do not think he can be an exceptionally good man. This attitude comes from our notion of Sin. It leads not only to interference with freedom, but also to hypocrisy, since the conventional standard is too difficult for most people to live up to. In China this is not the case. Moral precepts are positive rather than negative. A man is expected to be respectful to his parents, kind to his children, generous to his poor relations, and courteous to all. These are not very difficult duties, but most men actually fulfil them, and the result is perhaps better than that of our higher standard, from which most people fall short.

Another result of the absence of the notion of Sin is that men are much more willing to submit their differences to argument and reason than they are in the West. Among ourselves, differences of opinion quickly become questions of “principle”: each side thinks that the other side is wicked, and that any yielding to it involves sharing in its guilt. This makes our disputes bitter, and involves in practice a great readiness to appeal to force. In China, although there were military men who were ready to appeal to force, no one took them seriously, not even their own soldiers. They fought battles which were nearly bloodless, and they did much less harm than we should expect from our experience of the fiercer conflicts of the West. The great bulk of the population, including the civil administration, went about its business as though these generals and their armies did not exist. In ordinary life, disputes are usually adjusted by the friendly mediation of some third party. Compromise is the accepted principle, because it is necessary to save the face of both parties. Saving face, though in some forms it makes foreigners smile, is a most valuable national institution, making social and political life far less ruthless than it is with us.