, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 163-167
Date: 31 Oct 2007

Multiculturalism and Asian Bioethics: Cultural War or Creative Dialogue?

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The Historical Background

The stage: Korea. The times: early nineteenth century. Main characters: the uncle Chǒng yag-yong, one of the greatest Korean Confucian scholars known by his pen name as Tasan, and the nephew Chǒng Ha-sang, one of the best loved Korean Christian saints known by his baptized name as Paul. The real-life drama starts with how Tasan, in exile from a top official position because of his fascination with new Western learning, and particularly with Catholicism, was shocked or “awestruck” by the Buddhist funeral ceremonies of his soul-mate, an unconventional Buddhist who was attracted to Confucian teachings. In the end, Tasan returned to his home village and died peacefully, while Ha-sang gracefully endured torture and beheading for his faith. These stories are not unique as during this time, many noblemen and women became martyrs as a consequence of religious intolerance and ruthless political persecution.

Such cross-cultural encounters are neither merely local nor only ...