by Dino Nama
At one point in time, the official Japanese religion was considered Shinto. However, Shinto had been practiced for centuries before its official state sponsorship after the Meiji Restoration. Alongside of Shinto, Buddhism also attracted a significant amount of followers. In fact, Japan considered itself the last outpost of pure Buddhism, especially after the fall of the Chinese to the Mongols in the 13th century.
Today, Buddhism, and religion in general, is facing a crisis of ADD; attention to religion is at an all time low. There could be many reasons for this. After WWII, faith in concepts of divinity were challenged once Emperor Hirohito stepped down from his throne of divinity. This was a huge shock to the Japanese, emperor-centered mentality.
While searching the web I came across an interesting article, that shows just how desperate religion, and in this case, Buddhism, has become in Japan.
Funny that I should come across this, because the adoption of such “secular” things as bars and rap music have been similarly adapted to the Christian church experience. One notable example is an Orange County church named Saddleback, which employs various activities of fun to attract members, some of those including cash prices at the end.
This trend in “modernizing” religion is an interesting topic to explore at your own leisure. Why? Because let’s face it, a lot of us are sick of the sins of religion that have been committed and are still committed to this day. What does it mean to modernize something such as religion? Does it mean we can just add some fun and warmth and call it the same thing but more fresh? Or does there need to be a more critical approach in order to call it truly modernized?
Although, don’t get me wrong; I find this piece of news quite entertaining.