Shintois an ancient religion in the Japanese culture and has its roots inthe period around 500 BCE (Isomae, 2012). The worship and belief ofShinto are based on Kami. This religion is important in the study ofother religions because its practices and customs can draw insightsinto its relatedness with other religious sects. Shinto was selectedas a study area because quite unlike all the other religions, thisreligion was not founded by anyone. This is interesting becausequestions can be asked about what prompted its foundation. This essaywill explore the various aspects of the Shinto religion and theirsignificance in other faiths.
Shintodoes not believe in a supernatural being. They believe in Kami andthat it is Kami who created the universe. Kami are many in thisreligion and have the ability to respond to the prayers made byhumans. They can also influence natural happenings and unlike thegods in other faiths, the Japanese god is not omnipotent (Katō,2011). Judaism, for instance, believes in the existence of oneSupreme Being who is responsible for the creation of the universe.This being is omnipotent and holy. A similar belief is shared byChristianity, Sikhism and Islam. The idea about nature in Sikhismreligion is different from the knowledge of establishment, and theone responsible is denied. The belief is that it is only the creatorwho knows everything about creation including its origin.
Jainismbelieves that the universe has always been in existence, it was notcreated by anyone. However, they believe in a God who they considerto be perfect in all descriptions. The three aspects of God inHinduism are shared by Christianity. The Hindu religion believes thatGod exists in Bhargava, Brahman, and Antaryami. In Christianity, Godexists in three persons as Holy Trinity Father, Son and the HolySpirit (Langley, 2012). Buddhism does not ascribe to the idea of asupreme being. The three aspects of Hinduism do not depict theelement of holiness that is very much profound in Christianity.Daoism and Confucianism are similar in their belief in that in bothTao is the author of everything that we see in the universe.
Regardingsalvation, Shinto elevates the value of striving to achieveindividual purity and the worship of ancestors. This belief is thecornerstone of Shinto religion`s belief of what is good and what isevil. Purity is described on the metric of things that separate anindividual from Kami ("BBC – Religions – Shinto: Purity inShinto", 2016). Such things cause pollution in a person and aredescribed as tsunami or sin. Salvation in Daoism means with therequirements of nature. Confucianism does not hold any belief insalvation but lean on the idea that right and wrong are unavoidablein our lives.
InHinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, salvation means eliminating Karmaand Dharma from individual souls. It is believed that to obtainsalvation, individuals must hold on to desired conduct, actualknowledge, and the right belief. Holding on to the three aspectsremoves Karma from the soul leaving one pure. Buddhists believe thatall things have issues of right and wrong embedded in them. Jainism,on the other hand, is the belief that evil is created by humans justby their existence. The Hindu belief of good and evil is one that isbalanced. The religion subscribes to the idea that success andpleasure must be kept in balance, and this is treated as a virtue.
Judaismregard repentance over individual salvation and that God is good toall his creations but allows evil to coexist among humans because oftheir sinful nature (Langley, 2012). For Christianity, salvationcomes only through atonement and belief that Jesus Christ died andresurrected. According to Christianity, God has given his creationthe power to choose between what is right and wrong. In Islam,salvation implies living a life that is fulfilling in the eyes ofAllah. To Islam, evil and suffering come about because of sin. InSikhism, salvation means being in close association with God whileevil is the outcome of humans placing their lives at the center ofeverything instead of remaining divine.
Inconclusion, the belief and practice of the Shinto religion manifestitself in our daily lives in various ways. For instance, in thechurch the importance of believer’s remains pure in their lives isoveremphasized. Purity is stressed by preachers who acknowledge thatsin causes impurity in both body and soul. For this reason, believersare urged to repent and atone for their sins. Shinto religion speaksof impurity as anything separating an individual from Kami. Inchurches, sin is what is observed to separate individuals from theirGod. For this reason, many believers try to walk on a path that leadsto good.
BBC- Religions – Shinto: Purity in Shinto.(2016). Bbc.co.uk.Retrieved 10 June 2016, fromhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/shinto/beliefs/purity.shtml
Isomae,J. (2012). The Conceptual Formation of the Category “Religion” inModern Japan: Religion, State, Shinto. Journalof Religion in Japan,1(3),226-245. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/22118349-12341236
Katō,G. (2011). Astudy of Shinto.London: Routledge.
Langley,M. (2012). Religion.New York: DK Pub.