Robert & Roberta Adair

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Roberta and I just got back from a fun week of vacation in northern Japan.   Camping on a crater lake and along the west coast of Japan, hiking in the mountains, and lots of time in the car.  The trip also had me thinking about something I have wrestled with off and on regarding spirituality and Japan.

Religion or Culture

Japan is a country full of temples and idols.  That said my experience is that most younger people do not put much significance into the religious festivals and locations.  We were at the temple to the left on our trip and we saw two types of people.  Some who were there like us predominantly as tourists.  But others would stop and pray.

Religion or Culture

The group of 4 people in the picture to the right were going through the area at the same time we were.  They seemed much more interested in pictures and seeing the sights as opposed to looking for significant spiritual meaning from the experience.  The picture even shows them imitating the idols in front of the temple.  I obviously don’t know what they were thinking or feeling internally but they struck me as tourists at a historical sight.  Another young woman would stop at every location and offer a prayer to the god inshrined there.

Obviously as Christians we are opposed to idol worship.  But what should we do?  What effect does the presence of idols have on the spiritual condition of the people of Japan?  As Christians how do we interact with Buddhism and Shinto?  Should Roberta and I ever visit these religious sites?  Is it ok for Japanese christians to go to them just to look?  Do temples and shrines have direct impacts on the communities they are in?  I know these places are spiritually significant but am not sure what the best way to interact with them is.  Thankfully we serve a God who is stronger than these places and ultimately it is Him who will overcome these things.  These are just a few of the questions I have been mulling over post vacation.  Sorry if I have been rambling but would like to hear what you think.

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