The Muslim Ban: America Loses Its Mind.


I doubt you hate Shinto. Most people don’t even know what it is.


I do! Visited some amazing shrines in Japan last year.


Aren’t they great!

What I found fascinating there was this idea that many get married in a church (Christian), cremated for a Buddhist grave site and practice Shinto without really thinking about it. Not only did the number of young people, a few older, not understand our religious strife at all, when someone in our group asked them if that meant she was Buddhist, the young lady called her mother to ask because she didn’t know what religion is.

Religion is what you make it. It can drive every aspect of your life, it have light to moderate influence or it can be non-existent. If there is a problem with someone linked to religion, it’s the person more often than not, not the religion. Personally, I think it’s the leaders of the churches. They pick out key pieces from their text and use it to talk politics, but they don’t want to talk politics, they want to preach it so you can ask them things like… this book was used to support slavery, how do we make sure we’re not making the same mistake again. That’s when they spout something about not questioning faith, just believe… don’t question why.


We were told that people use Shinto shrines for happy things and Buddhist temples for sad, like funerals. I really enjoyed learning about things like the hand washing ceremony and getting immersed in the culture in various small ways.


Just talking to the house, like the first time I was corrected and told it was important to tell your house, not the people there, but your home that you are home or that you are leaving… that’s part of Shinto, and it’s kind amazing. Back when I watched anime`, I don’t really anymore, I saw that over and over again but I never understood they were talking to the inanimate there. And then yeah the ceremonial things, and the traditional kind of riding alongside some of the biggest Christmas displays I’d ever seen. Our 3D Christmas cards have nothing on theirs…

I digress. It would be hard to hate Shinto it’s ummm, not a traditional religion as most know it. You’re not going to practice Shinto and suddenly start hating on Christians or Muslims or that weird guy down the street.


It is funny watching House of Cards this season. First, Trump is way more scary than Kevin Spacey and just as evil.
But the thought of Trump in the situation room making a decision is really terrifying. Will he start screaming, throwing a temper tantrum, order shot to kill for Muslim, launch retaliatory strike against an innocent country, and off course the every present nuclear launch codes?


Did Shinto contribute to the extreme Japanese nationalism that caused their soldiers to commit suicide attacks and whatnot? Treat the Chinese like subhumans? They considered their Emperor a god. Doesn’t sound so great.

I believe the US forced the disestablishment of Shinto as the state religion in Japan as part of their surrender after WW2.

I’m against any belief system that discourages critical thinking.

EDIT: Buddhism seems more my style. I spent some time in a Buddhist temple. The basic tenets seem to be calm the fuck down and eat your vegetables. Who can argue with that?


Why not say you’re for critical thinking instead of saying you’re against, x, y, and z? And as an aside, the Japanese government is what gradually manipulated Shinto into being a self-serving vessel that led to extreme Japanese nationalism. Governments don’t need religions to do that, but it was the most convenient; ANY system which people believe in (news, authority figures, etc) can be corrupted.


Because I really dislike (most) organized religion! I think it is a cancer on modern civilization.

Watch this fake alien, I agree with his views. Base your morality on compassion and evidence. You don’t need God.

I think Fake Alien should run for President in 2020.


Governments don’t need religions to do that, but it was the most convenient; ANY system which people believe in (news, authority figures, etc) can be corrupted.

The Chinese government is suppressing “traditional” Christianity in favour of its own flavour for exactly such a reason.


Japanese Buddhist leaders were all too happy to support the military goals of their Emperor.

That’s from Daiun Sogaku Harada, a well-known Japanese Buddhist teacher.


Sure they were. However, was the Buddha? (regardless of whether one believes in the deity, the answer is the same). This is the frailty and corruption of mankind we’re now talking about, which doesn’t stop or start at any theological borders. Many terrible things have been committed in the name of countless faiths, but rare are the times that one’s faith in their chosen deity actually demands these acts be done. Leaders are fallible, while one’s god is typically not.

Perhaps this seems like an arbitrary distinction, but I’d argue it’s quite important. When I’ve been to temple, the congregation doesn’t assume they’re hearing the truth. Rather, they’re hearing an interpretation (which many will then debate endlessly afterwards) being offered in an effort to impart some wisdom and provide a springboard to lively discussion. The fallibility of the rabbi is assumed and accepted by all (especially by himself). So I get all hot and bothered when I see leaders speak with an air of perfect knowledge and wisdom. But that’s not the fault of the faith in whatever religion they follow so much as it is the fault in themselves.

Anyway, I’ve probably veered this conversation too far away from it’s intended purpose. Thanks for the back & forth.


I agree. I was addressing the “Shintoism bad, Buddhism good” part of the argument.

But more generally, I think that people have natural tendencies. Some question authority, others don’t. Some support violence, others don’t. Yet all of them can find justification for their position in religion. If religion can so easily provide comfort to so many contradictory positions, then it’s pointless to blame religion for people’s actions.


There are so many varieties of Buddhism, and so much historical baggage associated with them.

Every human endeavor - from science to art, religion to music - is brought along for the ride when people go bad, and Buddhism is no exception.


However, religious faith represents an acceptance of the unreal, the unrational, and the untue as being, well, the opposite of all that. Unlike TV/movies/books/videogames, where all but the most mentally ill participants understand the fictional nature of what they’re engaged in, religion asks you to accept the fake as real and hold those conflicting beliefs simultaneous in your mind. I’m very much of the opinion that training children to do that from birth onward cannot be a net good for their development, and I think is exactly the sort of magical thinking that somehow produces a nation where 60m people think Trump is somehow a good man to elect President.

In essence, training our brains to believe the unreal and accept the baseless as absolute, unquestionable truth strikes me as a pretty dangerous thing to do in general, nevermind however much religious leaders routinely warp the faith they preach to mislead and twist their congregations into violence and hate.


Probably, but people have plenty of non-religious delusions too (“Global warming isn’t real!” “Vaccines cause autism!” “The moon landings were fake!”). Benign religion and widespread critical thinking skills seems an achievable goal; wiping out all non-rational thought and faith-based belief seems unattainable (without engaging in rather unsavoury means).


Shoot for the moon, land among the stars, etc.

I just can’t help but wonder if the widespread acceptance of religious faith as something to instill in the young from the word go doesn’t somehow contribute to the capacity of society at large to bear those delusions.


Well, what’s “real” and “fake” is hardly incontrovertible. There are a lot of things that I think are “real” without any good scientific evidence, for example love, justice, and rationality.

People believe in those sorts of things because they provide comfort, and that’s also largely why religion is so widely accepted. Now, you may argue that some types of people should not be comforted, but IMHO that’s like arguing that some types of people should not get medical treatment. Regardless, it’s not your decision.

Finally, a delusion is a belief that’s held despite clear evidence to the contrary. Nothing in mainstream religion really qualifies. To a biologist, perhaps belief in creationism would be considered delusional, but only because a biologist has easy access to contradictory evidence. For everyone else, it requires substantial rational inquiry and intellectual laziness is not the same thing as delusion.


Shinto does not equate to suicide planes and treating the Emperor as a god. I mean you can twist a belief system to do anything you want right, like enslave brown people, stone people to death, burn smart women on stakes… Shinto itself though still exists and it’s not really like other religions… aka you could practice Shinto and actually have another religion. It’s not… exclusive. It’s hard to explain really.


And as we were discussing earlier, most in Japan practice both Shinto and Buddhism.

This is probably not entirely accurate (please correct me if I’m wrong Nesrie) , but for purposes of people getting some idea of Shinto, it has a great deal to do with reverence of nature. That mountain over there? That’s a god. That beautiful tree? A God. The river that brings you water? A God. There are hundreds of shrines and thousands of gods. Some big some little. “God is everywhere” is literally true, I think, in Shinto.