Looking at the Inglehart–Welzel cultural map of the world we note that the west in general, and protestant countries in particular, are individualistic and secular, and that these are the values most responsible for their socioeconomic success (geography and history obviously also play a big part).
In his brilliant book "The WEIRDest People in the World" Joseph Henrich argues convincingly that Christianity is the reason for this. First the popes banned marriages between kin for several hundred years thereby eliminating clanship (1). Second Martin Luther emphasized a personal relationship to God thereby further individualizing the society. He also insisted that everyone should read the Bible in their own language, thereby boosting literacy in the Protestant countries. This in turn made people able to obtain other knowledge, setting the stage for later secularization in these societies.
However if we look at the Inglehart–Welzel cultural map we notice that there is one group, Confucian, that scores high on secularism and moderate on individualism.
Looking at history it seems that China has been ruled by various dynasties for more than 2000 years. That is quite an achievement uniting such as a large and populous area into one empire. Why did China not break up into hundred tribes fighting each other forever? My motivation for this question was that I thought that this may be the result of a shared belief or set of values facilitating this unification process and overcoming tribalism.
During the Han Dynasty, emperor Wu Di (reigned 141–87 B.C.E.) made Confucianism the official state ideology (2). I would think this was done to unite the people and make rebellion less likely. As such I would think that Confucianism undermined the different clans present in the Han Dynasty?
But on the other hand it seems that Confucius placed a large importance on family and that "Marriage between first cousins was generally allowed during most of China’s dynastic era." (3)
Which aspects of Confucianism reduced the importance of the clan structure and made these societies more secular?
Regarding secular I am not talking about religious freedom. I am talking about atheism and religions loss of influence over peoples personal life.