Finding religion? …not likely

Friday, 30 October, 2009

I am not really sure if I have ever mentioned this, on my blog.  Here it is, though.  The not-so-shocking truth:  I am an atheist.  Now that, what other people might consider, the ugliness out of the way, I can get down to the nitty gritty of what makes me post this blog–because I am really not a fan of bringing up religion in any case.

I would have to say that I have cobbled together my belief system from a few places.  This brings to mind a religion that, if I was to choose one, would be it: Shinto.  I am very much into the Japanese aesthetic as it is, so why not find that their religion is also something that pleases me?

Shinto is a religion very unlike most Christian and Catholic-based religions that are out there.  There is no concept of original sin.  No one has to atone for anything in Shinto.  This can definitely be a load off for people who feel that their god is “out to get them”.

Yes, there are gods in Shinto, they are known as Kami.  They exist basically in, and for everything.  It’s almost like the Force.  Though it has gods, there are many things other religions have, that it doesn’t.

Shinto has no founder, no doctrines, no precepts/commandments, no idols and no organization.  This may seem detrimental, but, according to Motohisa Yamakage (in his book The Essence of Shinto: Japan’s Spiritual Heart) it is not.

Shinto is really about four forms of purification.  Keeping clean, and bright (happy).  These two use the word Seimei–clean and happy attitude of your inner mind.  And keeping right and straight (honest).  These two use the word Seichoku–right action/behavior and behaving with honesty.

These are, relatively, easy things to follow.  There are also ceremonies of purification; those delve deeply into the spiritual realm.  Claiming impure spirits can attach themselves to oneself, and such purification can rid oneself of them.

While I believe that spirits, impure or otherwise, are out there it’s impossible to undergo that sort of cleansing.  There really is no access to shrines, and other tools used in these ceremonies.  Without moving to Japan, that is.

So, as Shinto goes, it’s basic believes–and it’s reverance for nature–do appeal to me.  I think everyone should live by those four key beliefs, though they most certainly don’t.  If I was in a place to practice Shinto, I think it would be my religion of choice.

Since I am not in any such place, I guess that practicing it’s beliefs is a close as I am going to get to actually becoming one with Kami.  My loss, I suppose.