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Why Shintoism is One of the Most Fascinating Religions
Religion is a marvelous idea and belief implemented by humans for centuries. With around 4,200 religions worldwide, it is truly fascinating to see where it took us today!
Most of us may think of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam when asked about religions. In reality, there are far more religions than those 3- make it around 4,200 more. I find it truly intriguing to know that religion impacts the world in so many different ways, that we don't necessarily notice. For centuries, religions overpowered each other as if in a race to the top. Looking back in time, religions changed and adapted to different beliefs and geography. For example, if you search for art-works of Jesus Christ in different areas around the world (Europe, Asia, Middle East, etc), you will notice that Jesus Christ looks completely different. This is clearly due to those who painted the works, and where they lived. Such paintings not only show the religion itself but also how it was affected by its surroundings.
One religion that stood out to me like no other, was Shintoism itself. With the culture rich with history and traditions only found in Japan, Shintoism is a religion I believe everyone should get the chance to discover!
Going back to the ideas of geography, Shintoism is a religion solely based on its people and geography. To give a broader Idea of Shintoism, Shintoism is a polytheistic religion where followers worship various Japanese clans, especially the Yamato, who claimed to be descended from Amaterasu, the sun goddess. Starting all the way from 600 BCE, this religion is still practiced to this day.
Torii gates—Fushimi Inari ShrineClick thumbnail to view full-size
Some Core beliefs that are a part of Shintoism, are the worship of the forces of nature and the divine called "Kami". Shintoism, in a way, teaches that the Japanese people were specially and divinely created. What makes Shintoism more unique than other religions, is the fact that its not necessarily a religion. Shintoism is more of a lifestyle. Because of this, many Japanese people tend to follow Buddism and Shintoism since both beliefs don't intervene each other.
Even though there are many polytheistic religions still active throughout the world, Shintoism is unique in many ways; one way being its influence. Not only does it influence society, but it also influenced animations and movies such as Spirited Away and Noragami.
So here's what you probably want to ask me after reading this article. "Why do you find Shintoism so fascinating?" To summarize my answer in a few sentences, I would say that I'm fond of Shintoism because of its uniqueness. Living in a society revolved around Christianity, it's interesting to see a belief that is completely different. A religion based across the world- created by people just like myself. It's mind-blowing to read and discover such unique information. To Shintoists, it may seem like a daily act- nothing special. But to someone who has never visited Japan (but is planning to soon), It's truly shocking- in a good sense.
With religion having almost a negative impact on the world today, it's deeply saddening to see discrimination against people and their beliefs. Even though Shintoism does not have any negative associations around the world, I hope that in the future, people will be more tolerant of each other. Even if someone does not believe in another's religion, there should be no reason for that person to discriminate. We are all human and we all have the right to do the things we want. Afterall, religion is history which continues to grow, and I hope we can continue to thrive with it.
I want to make this a stepping stone for others to find out more about each other- to discover each other's cultures and lifestyle. It is all so fascinating. The ideas of human society and how it came to be is a gift to humanity that we should all treasure- not act against. If we seek peace in the world, we must first accept each other. If we accept each other we can achieve our sought out goals and work together as civilizations should.
Should religion be taught in schools in the 21st century? Or should religion part ways with our education?
© 2017 Yana