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After all, it opened up trade, thus helping commerce and, subsequently Japan's economy. Not only that, but the exchange of information was useful to governmental practices that sought to establish themselves as powerful and influential.
"Jesuit" Christianity survived long enough to be "practiced" within temples, one such "Jesuit temple" being known to have existed in 1603 in the Japanese capital, Kyoto. Such temples served the Church to enact some of its speeches in trying to go against Buddhism and Confucianism theories and implement its own. In fact, such initiatives worked out in the Church's detriment in the end. Habian, who went on to become a most renown orator and advocated for Christianity, turned away from it when the persecution of Christians began and reinforced his public speeches to suppress the "new" religion. It is no wonder then that such occurrences led to an overall negative impression of Christianity. Surely, the context can be understood if we think that an individual, so vividly living and preaching his faith initially, ultimately turned to not only renouncing his faith, but worked to eliminate it completely. In Japan's own defence, this had been a people reluctant to embrace one religion as final, but was rather inclined to commit itself to a mixture of Buddhist, Shinto, and Confucian beliefs. Thus, changes of faith occurred, but with less controversy, most likely. To claim, however, the supremeness of one particular religion over any others, only to shake it off afterwards, without offering any substantial causes, nor logical determination, but a mere comparison to demonstrate why Christianity fails to be anything but "a perverse and cursed faith" and why Japanese religion is the "Great Holy True Law" could have had no other result but to strengthen the series of conflicts already emerging in Japan. As Paramore (2008) stated, Habian went on to become a symbol for what separated the East and the West in the matter of culture and the "highs and lows of "Eastern" and "Western" thought" (234).
Habian shaped his weapon against Christianity under the form of a treatise he entitled Ha Daiusu, in translation, Deus Destroyed. He attacked "the important points about the teachings of the Deus sect" (Fabian 260), but also sought to criticize the behaviour of Jesuits priests among whom he had lived. Habian explained himself in saying that he had taken up Christian religion "at an early age" and the fact that he had spent over twenty years studying and preaching it was because of no other reason other than his "stupidity" (Fabian 259). Seeking to counteract those "important points," Habian denied any utility of the Ten Commandments in Japan, "Land of the Gods." He came to realize that Christians "bide their time with the intent to make all of Japan into their own sectarians, to destroy the law of Buddha and the way of the Gods." (Fabian 283) This turn of faith can all too easily be understood in the context of Japan's politics and, that he uses Christianity's alleged attempt to destroy the imperial law as a weapon to justify his renunciation, might be why he had determined himself to write so auspiciously on Japanese religion(s) and so disappointingly regarding the former. To assume he had actually become all too disappointed in Christianity would be to deny the number of years he had waited before testifying his discontentment. Let us not forget that Habian had been a Zen Buddhist before embracing Christianity and following his neophytism, he had no trouble in practicing the latter for an extended period of time. However much pondering on the why's and the because does not change the fact that Habian represented one perfect tool the Tokugawa government could use to persecute Christians in the following years. In fact, the Japonese government had previously been concerned with Christians professing "a devilish law." Not only that, but accusations started to arise that the latter were inspiring individuals to attack Japonese sanctuaries and sought to interfere and control Japanese military forces and economy. Christianity had received an ultimatum to leave Japan as early as 1587, but circumstances favoured the former with transportation not being available for the next six months. However, Japan had become aware of the Church's tentacles spreading far off religious intentions and would be all too cautious thereon. The Church had proven efficient in converting Japonese people in the first few years perhaps on grounds of salvation of the soul but, we would rather think, access to "exotic" trade facilitated the initiatives. However, the power of the Church or whatever power the Church thought it had over people, was crushed eventually by Japan and Christinity would never set foot on Japonese soil in matter of religion for a good while. Although much of that was politics and battle for power, economy and restoration, the force Japan used to eradicate Christianity as natural as it had let it flourish in the first place demonstrates there was no place in a religiously pluralistic society for an exclusive one.
Today, religion is a controversial topic but, then again, when has it never been? Europeans and the Occident embrace Asian religions most often because of the liberties they offer and start regarding Christianity as "indoctrination." We are not left with any options when we are born but our parents choose the religion for us. Christianity teaches of its oneness as the true religion God has given unto man and preaches of the any other religions existing out there as derivates of confusion and "loss of way." Nevertheless, religious freedom has never been as strong as in these modern times. One can come out in the open and claim he/she is a devil worshiper and, so long as he or she does not represent a physical threat to society, no one can enforce any violence or laws on that person. If members of a group pertaining to a certain religious movement decide all of a sudden to take their religious belief further and enact some form of violence, then obviously measures would be taken to protect the rights of individuals and the very concept of what is righteous. However, such an event would come and go as fast as a rocket launched into space because of how common events like these have become nowadays. In the past decades, centuries even, religions have been springing up like mushrooms after rain with people inclined to believe that a flying saucer is to save them for an imminent catastrophe. The matter of religion is of actuality in Japan as well. Temples and sanctuaries do not only exist as tourist attractions but are there to testify for what religion has represented over the years. Also, a great variety of religious movements exist in Japan. Although Buddhism and Shinto have remained central, thousands of other minor religions strive for independence.
One of the main concerns when seeking understanding within Japonese religion, and here we refer to times past, would be to come to terms with its plurality. Someone who has been raised a Christian and has been taught continuously of how one can only be either Catholic, or Orthodox or Protestant, and so on, but can never be all at the same time, may find it confusing to relate to Japan's notion of religiosity. This is because, most of the times, when it comes to Christian religions like the ones mentioned above, it's all about interpretation. That is to say, at the basis of those religions stand the same scripture and the same teaching overall, but circumstances have forced separations and thus various interpretations. However, that is not so relevant as to why Japonese religion(s) may be confusing as the fact that the same does not apply for the latter. That is to say, sacred texts of Japonese religion come from various sources and, at times, these sources have not even been considered as that important to practitioners. Furthermore, sacred Christian texts, as in the Bible, are said to be God's own words left on to man in order for man to be connected with God always. but, in Japanese tradition, sacred texts have been written not under divine inspiration, but at man's insights. And although insight is said to come from God, that is not the same as the previous.
Of course, that is to be related with how Japonese understood religion as opposed to Christians. Christianity sees religion as obedience towards God, whereas Buddhism, although acknowledging the existence of a creator, emphasizes on man's own potential to achieve enlightenment, thus liberation from all suffering and sin. Furthermore, Christian religion aims at forms of contemplation in regards to practices and strict norms within sermons that need to be carefully implemented so that individuals can understand God. Because of this, Christianity seems to work as an intermediary between the Creator and the human being. On the other hand, Japanese religion is not as firm and decisive in proclaiming itself a connection…[continue]
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