Author Topic: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?  (Read 1679 times)

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Offline Amatorus

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Is the Shinto religion compatible with Christianity? I know there are Japanese Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, or otherwise) who interpret the "gods" as spirits and possibly angels.

I also have an important question: is there any value in Eastern philosophy to be seen as symbiotic or beneficial, or at least tolerable with Christianity? For example, yin yang. There are many interpretations to this symbol, but do good and evil rely on each other? Do Death and Life go hand in hand in cycle?

I am fascinated by Japanese philosophy in particular and I see it as a refreshing escape to the typical view.

Offline LBK

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Re: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2014, 03:21:24 AM »
For someone new to Orthodoxy, dabbling in non-Christian belief systems is a very risky venture, spiritually speaking. Far better to become solid in one's Orthodoxy first.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2014, 03:28:49 AM »
There is much in properly-presented Taoism that is edifying concerning what we might call mundane things: Having a healthy body with the means available, combating anxiety, etc. You can also find that stuff elsewhere; and it is all of purely instrumental worth.

When it comes to paying obesience to powers, stick to the the Lord.

On a side note, I'm interested in Japanese philosophy, as well; I've been meaning to read Nishida Kitaro and Keiji Nishitani.  8)

but do good and evil rely on each other? Do Death and Life go hand in hand in cycle?
No.


« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 03:36:31 AM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline Nicene

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Re: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 04:03:34 AM »
If anything Shinto and Japanese mythologies and theologies are counter productive to the Christian cause. My reading is limited but the general sense of how Christianity was received in Japan was mostly negative, due to the great influence of the Budhists priests and the modern japan is far too secular to receive Christianity in a way that could change that society. Those who converted to Christianity from their Buddhist or shinto faith (or both) seemed to reject most of what they had in their previous life and embrace a wholly Christian one, dying for the faith and suffering if need be and not really attempting to reconcile their previous faith with the new Christian faith. There are two books that might help you, Silence by a Japanese Roman Catholic (Who might best convey how the Japanese as a whole react to Christianity) and A History of Christianity in Japan by Otis Cary. In particular the section on the Roman Catholic and Orthodox missions to Japan, the loyalty of the new converts to the faith and etc.

There is a difference between the religions, a fundamentally different outlook on the world. I"m no expert so I can't explain it but one really would be strained to reconcile the two. Does this world need saving in the Japanese worldview? Not really, it needs to be lived practically in if secular or escaped from if one is Buddhist.
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Offline sakura95

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Re: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2014, 06:57:17 AM »
The Shinto religion cannot be compatible with Christianity at all, given that its main God is Amaterasu which is the goddess of the Sun who is the "leader" of all the other gods or "Kami" in Shintoism. This leads to a situation in which there are multiple gods and would result in polytheism which is in contradiction to Christianity's Monotheism. Also, God in Christianity is Triune and is of no gender hence being in opposition to Shintoism in which its goddess has an assigned gender and is not Triune. It should be noted that Amaterasu also did not send her only son to die on the Cross for our Sins, resulting in a religion that it distinct from Christianity, making the two not compatible with each other.

That being said, there are positive elements(as long as they are not in contradiction with Christianity) that can in fact be acceptable and compatible with Christianity but given that I'm more familiar with Buddhist philosophy, I would not stress out the concepts or teachings of Shintoism that are compatible with Christianity.

I believe that Eastern Philosophy can be beneficial to Christians but it must not be in opposition with Christian doctrine and hence must be taken with a grain of salt. Elements such as Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path can indeed be beneficial to the Christian but principles such as Nirvana is incompatible with Christianity because of the fact that it assumes reincarnation which is not part of and not included in Christian doctrine and theological teachings.



My Lord, My Lord, give my worthless soul the illumination of Wisdom in your mercy

Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 07:15:04 AM »
There's a lot to be said for Confucianism. The Jesuits thought that if they wouldn't worship but instead honour their ancestors Confucianism could be somewhat compatible with Christianity. Then again, Confucianism isn't a religion but a philosophy.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 07:17:40 AM by Cyrillic »

Offline Amatorus

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Re: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2014, 10:26:03 AM »
Very interesting, I have been reading on Saint Nicholas of Japan (who converted many to Orthodoxy and translated the Bible into Japanese) and I wonder if he approached converts with a purist or interpretive approach at first. (Your spirits are complete falsehood! vs. Your philosophy of this represents God's this, etc.)

(Also he is considered equal-to-the-apostles, making him equal to Emperor Constantine the Great? Wow)

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2014, 04:23:19 PM »
I wonder if he approached converts with a purist or interpretive approach at first. (Your spirits are complete falsehood! vs. Your philosophy of this represents God's this, etc.)
Until recently, it would seem bizarre not to take the second approach.
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline LBK

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Re: Is there any value in Shinto or Eastern philosophy to be learned?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2014, 07:25:48 PM »
Very interesting, I have been reading on Saint Nicholas of Japan (who converted many to Orthodoxy and translated the Bible into Japanese) and I wonder if he approached converts with a purist or interpretive approach at first. (Your spirits are complete falsehood! vs. Your philosophy of this represents God's this, etc.)

(Also he is considered equal-to-the-apostles, making him equal to Emperor Constantine the Great? Wow)

The title equal-to-the-apostles is generally given to enlightener-saints: those who brought Christianity to their own lands (such as Sts Vladimir and Olga, Nina of Georgia), or did so in other lands or regions (such as Sts Nicholas of Japan, Cyril and Methodius). St Mary Magdalene is also one, and has the unique title of Apostle to the Apostles, as it was she who brought the news of Christ's resurrection to the disciples.
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