A COMPARISON OF CHRISTIANITY AND SHINTOISM
Undoubtedly, a person craving to comprehend the spiritual and the religious has served as the drive for the sustained expansion and progression of religious communication. Consequently, when a person reflects on the amount and range of the world's religions, it is not shocking to discover that there are overabundances of religious principles that have been formed. Bearing this in mind, this analysis reflects on the capacities of religious inquisition that has been fashioned. Particularly, this analysis evaluates Christianity and Shintoism. Through a close reflection of what has been written regarding these religions, and through a personal interview that was conducted, it will be feasible to present an explanation of the backgrounds and similarities and differences of the religions.
In order to start this analysis, it is first accommodating to think about the essential background of both religions. First, examining the basic doctrines and evolution of Christianity, it becomes apparent that this religion developed from the Jewish tradition as depicted in the Old Testament. The difference is, however that Christianity firmly believes in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christianity concerns the capacity of God to resurrect the dead, just like He did for Jesus. Through finding faith in Christ, the followers are given the ability to guarantee that they could live a life that would give them eternal salvation (New Advent, 2009). The New Testament offers detailed depictions of how Jesus lived and insights into his resurrection.
When examining Christianity, it becomes very clear that the magnitude of the resurrection is momentous to the development of the religion. In general, the resurrection is the most significant characteristic that expresses Christianity. Through the resurrection, a person is given salvation from God an eternal life. Even though the precise circumstance of the resurrection is what separates Christianity Judaism, there is a drive to recognize why Christianity has become so dominant to its followers. One of the reasons why it has become so dominant is the result of many of its followers believing that through faith, God will guard and supply.
It is now obvious why Christianity is such a distinguished religion; it is because of the assurances that it gives its followers. Every person goes into a covenant with God when s/he accepts the teachings of Christ (New Advent, 2009). Through this procedure, a person is assured to be given eternal deliverance for his or her labors in living a life that is based on the principles of Christ. Despite the consequences of how tricky life is, a person must constantly stick to the larger agenda of his teachings. By doing this, they will basically be resurrected in the afterlife (New Advent, 2009). The assurance of this resurrection gives the followers a belief that life goes on after a person dies.
In order to conduct my interview and obtain information about Shintoism, I decided to perform an Internet search to see where the closest Shino center was. It turned out the closes center was located at 300 W. 55th St, 20B, New York, NY - which wasn't terribly difficult for me to go to. It is called the International Shinto Foundation (New York Center). It was, however, very difficult for me to get in touch with a representative, so I decided to simply make an unannounced trip there in expectation that I would be able to speak to someone who had a strong grasp on Shintoism. My efforts were certainly rewarded; I was able to connect with an English-speaking man who was responsible for maintaining the tea ceremony room. He gave me a great deal of valuable information, and it is with this information that I am able to offer a summary of the religion, in addition to being able to compare and contrast it to Christianity and draw up a conclusion.
Shintoism is a very old Chinese religion which advanced around 500 BC (Personal Interview, 2009). Exact details of Shintoism's origins is very difficult to receive because of the fact that that there are no official texts or leaders within this movement. As a result, Shintoism is defined as a set of values and principles that developed in the larger framework of Japanese society (Personal Interview, 2009). This belief system has grown in conjunction with Buddhism. Actually, many scholars believe that in early Japanese history, both Shintoism and Buddhism could not be distinguished from each another.
Even though Shintoism expanded from a Buddhism framework, it has been recognized as a separate religion and spiritual way of living. The fundamental element of Shintoism concerns deities or Kami, who are accountable for the construction of Japan and the expansion of a variety of tribes that reside in the region (Handbook of Today's Religions, 2009). In general, the Kami that exist in Shintoism are benevolent gods that play a constructive role in the growth of humanity. Accordingly, Shintoism does not dwell on the framework of divine intervention as it pertains to day-to-day living. Instead, Shintoism centers on the growth of life that is lived in search of additional supercilious social standards (Personal Interview, 2009). In many situations, Shintoism uses a large amount of its basic principles from the Confucian tradition.
Even though Shintoism is extremely interlaced with both Confucian and Buddhist ideologies, it has been noted that there are dissimilar components of the practices which undoubtedly distinguish them. For example, Shintoism believes that ancestors are extremely respected and even worshipped. Also, all people are thought of as 'Kami's child' (Personal Interview, 2009). In addition, there are four assertions that are significant in Shintoism, and include elements of tradition, love, hygiene, and worship (Personal Interview, 2009). Shintoism was established through these values.
All of components of Shintoism center on the growth and founding of an optimistic relationship between a person and his or her environment. Shintoism looks to smooth the progress of the progress of man as it pertains to nature in a harmonious association. This harmony has the potential to be attained through intense worship; however, it can also be attained through ceremonial offerings of both money and food. A large amount of followers are occupied in the 'offer a meal movement,' which is basically when a person skips a meal on a monthly basis and instead donates his or her money to their religious institution for worldwide liberation and analogous activity (Personal Interview, 2009).
After evaluating the general attraction of Shintoism to an individual disciple, it is an all-purpose way of life that authorizes that the follower to follow a life that is Godly in nature. Even though the term "Shinto" is not easy to convert into English, the elementary translations that have been accepted entail that the follower lives a life that follows the ways of the Gods. Because of this, Shintoism is a spiritual element that encompasses the day-to-day life of an individual follower. It supplies the foundation for the progression of action and requires that all followers take on actions and ideologies that are proportionate with how the Gods would act in a comparable situation. Therefore, Shintoism is not necessary tempting to indulge in because of what it guarantees the follower in the afterlife; instead, Shintoism is tempting to be part of because it gives its followers numerous methods to connect with God in multiple ways.
When the fundamental structures of both Christianity and Shintoism are evaluated against one another, it seems, at least initially, that there are definitely more noteworthy variations between the two religions than there are similarities. For example, Christianity is based upon the wisdom and labors of Christ, as outlined in the New Testament. However, Shintoism in actuality has no real texts, or even a religious set of guidelines that are to be followed by its followers. In addition, Christianity primarily focuses on devotion to God through living a meaningful life that is supported by the teachings of Christ. Shintoism, on the other hand, does not have a fundamental leader that has served as the foundation for the general growth and expansion of the religion (Shintoism, 2009). Actually, as alluded to above, Shintoism was founded on an extended practice of harmonizing spiritual values that have been sustained in the framework of other religions such as Confucianism and Buddhism.
Even though there are obviously distinguishable variations between the two religions, there actually appears to be one prominent resemblance that really should be taken into account for when evaluating these two religions. In spite of of the texts, in regards to the principles and leaders that are both living or not living within the framework of the religion, both Christianity and Shintoism call for paving a pathway of existence that will ultimately show the way for a better life. When it comes to Christianity, a person could successfully dispute that this religion primary deals with the teachings of Christ as an essential method of bringing a person closer to God. Christ guaranteed his followers that if they lived a life that pursued his teachings, they would, in turn, become closer to God and the God's Kingdom. If a person closely examines the teachings of Christ as depicted in the New Testament, it is obvious that Christ desired for his followers to be in love with and take pleasure in all of humanity. This message is obvious, as Jesus promotes that followers feel affection for God and their neighbors in the same capacity.
In regards to Shintoism, it is obvious that the conduit that followers are supposed to attribute to is one that also cultivates a conduit that will ultimately show the way to God. Even though it seems as though Shintoism deals more with a person's connection with nature, the bond that is fashioned is comparable: man needs to live in agreement withthe environment that is around him in order to achieve an advanced existence and successfully come nearer to God. In Christianity, the corridor that a person is supposed to follow is essentially written in the scripture; however, in Shintoism, the corridor that a person needs to follow is sustained through practice and admiration for the magnificence and majesty of nature. In both of the religions, however, the objective is to make certain that a person follows a corridor that ultimately brings them to God. This fundamental principle is one that is the foundation for the growth and foundation of both of these religions.
Even though both Christianity and Shintoism primarily emphasize on following a conduit that will in due course lead to connecting with God, as time has progressed, Christianity seems to have taken on an exclusive element that particularly separates it from the fundamental foundation of Shintoism. The principles of Shintoism, when properly implemented by the follower, become an essential component of every-day life. Shintoism is not a religious order that can be taken control of or divided from a person (Shintoism, 2009). As such, Shintoism has been distinguished to have a spiritual aspect that establishes it as a crucial element in the day-to-day life of a person. Even though Christianity seems to convey a comparable message-that a person needs to undertake on a daily basis in the same way in which Christ would-the development of modern Christianity has gotten rid of the day-to-day impact of Christ on the individual person. Christianity seems to have become an observance that happens outside of the non-spiritual life of the person. A person attends church on a weekly basis in order to worship in Christ's name. Even though Christ is considered to be an essential element of a person's life, this appropriation of the spiritual makes it very hard for the person to maintain Jesus as an encouraging element that encourages certain behaviors on a daily basis.
Even though both Christianity and Shintoism present themselves as a tool for the spiritual progression of a person, the transformation of Christianity seems to have had an unconstructive effect on separating religion from the daily activities of a person. Notwithstanding, Christianity seems to have remained among the most well-known worldly religions. Consequently, even though some amount of transformation has taken place, Christianity still remains appealing to a majority of people.
When the fundamental principles of both Christianity and Shintoism are look at in detail, the general petition of each of the religions seems to come from a more widespread plan of action for an individual. Under the principles of both Christianity and Shintoism, the individual follower is provided with a pathway to pursue. In most occasions, this pathway gives the follower a way for them to live a godly existence that will ultimately bring them closer to Him. This important element is what makes both of the religions so interesting for their followers.
Handbook of Today's Religions. Shintoism. http://www.greatcom.org/resources/handbook_of_todays_religions/03chap06/default.htm. Accessed February 23, 2009.
New Advent. Christianity. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03712a.htm. Accessed February 23, 2009.
Personal Interview. International Shinto Foundation (New York Center). February 23, 2009.
Shintoism. http://www.greatcom.org/resources/areadydefense/ch27/. Accessed February 23, 2009.