Monday, 23 Aug 2010
Why Western spirituality doesn't have much appeal in the East...
In place of our regular commentary today from Vynette, may I direct your attention to a fascinating paper on Sandro Magister's blog by the Japanese Ambassador to the Holy See which examines the differences in spiritual outlook between Eastern and Western cultures. I sense readers of Catholica will value the insights that Kagefumi Ueno shares in this lecture which was delivered in Rome on 1st July.
With the rise in economic and geo-political power of countries like Japan, China, India, South Korea this essay provides valuable insights at both the religious level and at wider cultural, political and economic levels.
Here is a very small taste of what Kagefumi Ueno writes to whet your appetite...
"In the past, or until the end of the 19th century, it was largely believed at every corner of the world that modernization of nations can be attained only at societies with monotheistic religiosity, notably Christianity. They believed that modernization and monotheism were linked together, directly or indirectly. They believed that societies with polytheistic, animistic or pantheistic religiosities, such as Buddhism or Shintoism, were not modernizable unlike western countries."
"Remarkable modernization of Japan refuted this belief. Nowadays, many non-Christian nations achieved admitted modernization, following Japanese precedence. Consequently, their emergence further de-linked notional link between modernization and monotheism. It was also made clear that polytheistic, animistic or pantheistic approach is not behind the times nor backward as compared with monotheistic approach."