Monday, December 28, 2015

"Which is the first commandment of all?" - Christianity, Commercialism and Democracy/Freedom

Tokyo Station

Christianity, Commercialism and Democracy/Freedom

Europeans colonized many regions in Africa and Asia and exploited many Africans and Asians.  They even destroyed some cultural heritage of those peoples.

But Europeans have not been essentially sorry for them.  Because Europeans have thought that they taught advanced civilization to Africans and Asians.  So, Europeans think that colonized people of Africa and Asia should be thankful to European colonial rulers as they introduced advanced civilization into regions they colonized.

And the core of the European civilization is Christianity.  One of excuses for Europeans to have ventured into the world, establishing colonies, is that they had a mission to spread Christianity.  But Christianity could not replace Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc., though it was accepted by some peoples mostly living in some regions of Africa and Central/South Americas where no such traditional and sophisticated religions were practiced.

In other word, materially the European civilization prevailed.  Material products of the European civilization have been widely accepted even in the Islamic world, India, China, Southeast Asia, Japan, etc.  But, people of these areas have not totally adopted Christianity.

Till the 20th century, Europeans thought that only Europeans living in Christian environments could develop the material part of the European civilization.  As Muslims, Indians, Southeast Asians, Chinese, and Japanese didn't convert to Christianity, Europeans thought, they could not develop modern science and technology.

But, Japanese drastically changed this view.  Japanese, still being Buddhists and Shintoists, carried out its version of the Industrial Revolution from the late 19th century.  Its scientific and technological development has never ceased through the 20th century and, especially WWII.  Even before WWII, Japan was recognized as an industrial and military power competing with European powers.

To adopt and develop the material side of the European civilization, you don't have to become Christians.  This is what Japan proved in the 20th century.  Owing to the Japanese success, today India, China, and other Asian nations are developing their industries without converting to Christianity.  But before Japan's success prior to WWII or since the late 19th century, it was widely believed not only by Europeans but by peoples in the world that only Christian Europeans could develop the modern industry.

Globalization of economy means that the Islamic nations, India, Southeast Asians, Chinese, and other nations that were once regarded as impossible nations for developing modern industry are now actively promoting their versions of the Industrial Revolution.

Nonetheless, there is one new common religion prevailing in all these newly industrialized nations as well as Europe, the US, and Japan.  It is faith in wealth and money, which may be termed capitalism or commercialism.  Today no rich Europeans ask Asians what religions they believe but how much money they have.

Of course, democracy and freedom are other elements prevailing along with commercialism.  As the US is enjoying its material success based on huge material wealth while maintaining the American democracy and freedom, newly industrialized countries are expected to adopt full or American-style democracy and freedom.

In this context, it is still only Japan that has such democracy and freedom of people, though the Japanese society has still underlying influential power of Buddhism and Shintoism.

The friction in the world mostly arises from this point.  The Islamic nations, India, China, and even Russia cannot fully introduce democracy and freedom in their societies due to their unique historical, political, cultural, and religious conditions.

But will America play a role of a teacher teaching democracy and freedom to those nations?  The EU looks very reluctant to join such a mission.  Japan is just watching how America will decide, since Japan introduced almost fully American-style democracy and freedom after WWII.

Whether or not the US and the EU are working on those nations for adoption of full democracy and freedom, these nations have to undergo an era of trial as to how much they can allow their peoples to enjoy democracy and freedom, another core of the modern Western Civilization.

But for this cause, will American troops advance and occupy, say, Damascus, Riyadh, Moscow, and Beijing in addition to Pyongyang?


**** **** ****

Mar 12:28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
Mar 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.