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Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Coffee Hour on Street Prophets. This is our communities’ open thread where we can talk about what’s happening in our lives, our thoughts on current events, and anything else that strikes your fancy. I thought I’d start off today’s conversation with the differences between the words spoken by religious leaders and the actual actions which they encourage and support.

While we have many examples here in the United States during the 21st century, I want to go across the Pacific Ocean and back to the 19th century. In 1837, a Chinese prophet, Hung Hsiu-Ch’uan (also spelled Hong Xiuquan; 火秀), had a series of visions, which included seeing Confucius being punished for his faithlessness. He would later interpret these visions as visiting God and Jesus Christ. He concluded that he was the Chinese son of God and the younger brother of Jesus. He proclaimed that he had been called through revelations to destroy demons and pagan idols and to restore the worship of the one true God. He preached against opium, fortune-telling, and fornication.


Responding to this vision, he organized the God Worship Society (拜上帝會) which stressed the Christ-like virtues of equality and morality. He preached a mixture of communal utopianism, evangelism, and Christianity. Men were separated from women and the sect’s followers paid all of their assets into a communal treasury. While polygyny was outlawed, Hung and other high officials still had multiple wives and concubines. Hung had two large “demon-slaying swords” (斬妖劍) forged. He advocated purging China of Confucianism.

While Hung considered himself to be the younger brother of Jesus, his movement did not use the cross as a symbol. With regard to death, the view tended to be Buddhist, including the transmigration of souls.

In 1847, Hung studied with the American Southern Baptist missionary Issachar Jacox Roberts. However, Roberts refused to baptize him.

By 1850, Hung had between 10,000 and 30,000 followers. Since not everyone in China agreed with Hung’s vision, he declared war against China’s rulers (some say that China’s rulers declared war against him). This war, known as the Taiping Rebellion, lasted 15 years and is reported to have killed about 20 million people. Once again we see an example of war waged in the name of peace, or, in this case, in the name of the younger brother of the Prince of Peace.

Hung’s rebellion failed. He committed suicide and some reports suggest that 100,000 of his followers emulated his action by also taking their own lives.  Leadership of the God Worship Society then went to his teenage son, Hong Tianguifu.

In the 20th century, Mao Zedong admired Hung and viewed his movement as a legitimate peasant uprising that anticipated the later communist revolution. In 1959, the People’s Republic of China established a small museum, Hong Xiuquan’s Former Residence Memorial Museum (洪秀全故居紀念館) in his birthplace.

Okay, now it’s your turn. This is an open thread, please feel free to bring up any topic that’s on your mind.

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Comment Preferences

  •  About that fiscal cliff deal... (9+ / 0-)

    (just kidding) Thanks for another great diary.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:14:49 PM PST

  •  Never knew this! I like these lesser known (7+ / 0-)

    Historical stories. Thanks!

  •  Thanks for the information. (4+ / 0-)
  •  Chilling (5+ / 0-)

    I realized that the Christmas decorations were depressing me because it just kept reminding me that my brother wasn't here for Christmas liked we had planned at the beginning of last year. I took everything down today and now the house is as back to normal as it can be with Merlin and Pixie is residence.

    I have been working on writing and art. I have the opening scene done for the second story.

    Into Battle
     Into Battle

    I also updated two pictures.

    By Dawn's Early Light
     By Dawn's Early Light

    Fiery Sunset
     Fiery Sunset

    And since Chris seems to like my more science fiction oriented pictures I got some new models to work with.

    Stealth Fighter
     Stelth Fighter

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:50:08 PM PST

  •  Wasn't the Taiping Rebellion (4+ / 0-)

    Part of the 2nd Opium War, where the British and French invaded China a second time because the Chinese resisted the westerners' efforts to sell them and get them and keep them addicted to opium?  I admit that 19th century Chinese history is not my strongpoint.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:08:01 PM PST

  •  Our yogurt place dared to close today. (5+ / 0-)

    :) I don't really mind, as it means people have a day off, and we have ice cream at home, but it's usually part of our game day routine.

    I dreamed about Vinnie, the World's Best Cockatiel (shh, don't tell Maui) last night. His name was Brody, though, and he was being cared for by someone else. But it was Vinnie. What? Dreams are like that.

    Super Rachel and her Sidekicks 1 by ~Windthin on deviantART

  •  or, how would 30,000 kill 20,000,000/? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, arizonablue, Pluto, JKTownsend

    clime parches on. terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout-famine, acceptance of nature.

    by renzo capetti on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:25:39 PM PST

  •  Sounds familiar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, Pluto, JKTownsend

    I either read about this before or watched something on PBS World and am leaning to seeing something about it on PBS.
    Good refresher.
    I always learn something from you, Ojibwa and want to thank you for all that you do.
    You're one of the reasons I am so fond of DailyKos.
    I love learning from the diversity of this site.

    Am a bit tired today since being kept awake last night and until 12:30 this morning due to fireworks.
    It is a very good thing that we had some rain the night before that helped with the fire danger.
    I really wish that fireworks had remained illegal in Arizona.
    Desert foliage and fire of any kind do not mix, and we have problems with wildfires due to natural causes without bringing man into the equation.

    Dinner was baked, thick steaks in mushroom soup, which made them more like tender mini-roasts with gravy.
    Made mashed potatoes to go with it and had two squares of dark chocolate for dessert.
    Did our 2.5 mile walk after and now am getting ready for bed.

    I am looking forward to this year.
    I am learning so much and learning so much about myself - things I've never even thought about.
    You'd think at my age that I'd know myself by now, but I don't and look forward to a deeper understanding and discovery.

    Happy New Year and wishing the very best for everyone and wishing for peace.

  •  Mushroom soup also featured today. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JKTownsend, arizonablue, Ojibwa

    Thick egg noodles cooked in mushroom soup with pulled chicken and peas. I made about two quarts and we ate it for lunch and we ate it for supper, which worked, because I was taking down the tree and cleaning the front room up.

    I still have piles in chair and couch, but the floor piles and such are dealt with, and the furniture is where I want it for the rest of the winter.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:52:56 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the Taiping Rebellion history ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arizonablue, Ojibwa

    ... a topic in which I've been interested since adopting my older daughter 10 years ago from Hunan Province in China. She was originally from the town of Xiangyin, on the banks of Dongting Lake (China's second-largest lake). Welcoming visitors to Xiangyin is a large billboard featuring a picture of General Zuo Zongtang. General Zuo was primarily responsible for defeating Hong Xiuquan and restoring Qing Dynasty rule. General Zuo is regarded as a nationalistic hero in his homeland, but most Americans know about him from a popular dish served in Chinese restaurants, usually listed as "General Tso's Chicken." The good general doesn't really have any connection with the recipe, it's just a honorific thing. In Xiangyin today, several large blocks in the town remain home to General Zuo's descendants.

    Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me, "how good, how good does it feel to be free? " And I answer them most mysteriously, "are birds free from the chains of the skyway? " (Bob Dylan)

    by JKTownsend on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:32:09 PM PST

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