Christians tend to have a very narrow view of inspiration. When thinking of inspiration, most of us immediately go to the Bible. We think of the men and women who wrote our scriptures as being inspired by God, but is it possible that people from other religious traditions could also have been inspired by God? Consider the following quotations attributed to Confucius and compare them to passages from our own scriptures. (The following quotations taken from The Sayings of Confucius, The Harvard Classics at Bartleby.com):
The Master said: “The wise are free from doubt; love is never vexed; the bold have no fears.”
"And he that doubteth is damned (condemned) if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Romans 14:23
"Love is patient and kind, Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged." I Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." I John 4:18
The Master said: “Of a gentleman who is frivolous none stand in awe, nor can his learning be sound. Make faithfulness and truth thy masters: have no friends unlike thyself: be not ashamed to mend thy faults."
"As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honor is not seemly (proper) for a fool." Proverbs 26:1
"It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning." Prov. 17:16, NLT
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" II Corinthians 6:14
The Master said: “As long as his father lives a son should study his wishes; after he is dead, he should study his life. If for three years he do not forsake his father’s ways, he may be called dutiful.”
"My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother" Proverbs 1:8
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
The Master said: “A gentleman who is not a greedy eater, nor a lover of ease at home, who is earnest in deed and careful of speech, who seeks the righteous and profits by them, may be called fond of learning.”
"For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags." Proverbs 23:21
"Follow the steps of good men...and stay on the paths of the righteous." Proverbs 2:20, NLT
THE MASTER said: “In governing, cleave to good; as the north star holds his place, and the multitude of stars revolve upon him.”
Speaking of the future king of Israel, Moses wrote: "And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites...and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear (honor) the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom..." Deuteronomy 17:18-20
Meng Yi asked the duty of a son.
The Master said: “Obedience.”
"Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." Colossians 3:20
The Master said: “To-day a man is called dutiful if he keep his father and mother. But we keep both our dogs and horses, and unless we honor parents, is it not all one?”
"Honor thy father and thy mother" Exodus 20:12
The Master said: “Listen much, keep silent when in doubt, and always take heed of the tongue; thou wilt make few mistakes. See much, beware of pitfalls, and always give heed to thy walk; thou wilt have little to rue. If thy words are seldom wrong, thy deeds leave little to rue, pay will follow.”
"He that hath knowledge spareth his words...Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Proverbs 17:27-28
"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." Proverbs 4:26
"The tongue of the just is as choice silver" Proverbs 10:20
"A wholesome tongue is a tree of life" Proverbs 15:4
The Master said: “A man without love, what is courtesy to him? A man without love, what is music to him?”
"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing." I Corinthians 13:1-3, NLT
The Master said: “A heart set on love will do no wrong."
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:10
If one believes that the Bible is inspired, and these sayings match principles found in that book, then doesn't that suggest that Confucius was inspired by God? Moreover, if these principles are found within such different traditions and cultures (with little or no awareness of each other), doesn't that prove that they are "universal" in nature? Doesn't it also suggest a common source? Isn't all of this a little much to be considered a coincidence? What do you think?