Regarding Catherine Wallace’s May 31 letter, “Japan’s access to Christianity“: Does it matter whether Japan had access to Western Christianity in the 16th century or in 1945, when Japan is historically a Buddhist country?
Christianity came to Japan in a violent way when Spanish and Portuguese pirates tried to occupy Japan through conversions. The result was conflict between shoguns and the Christian followers of those pirates. It was the same story throughout Asia in the 16th century after Vasco da Gama found a sea route to India from Europe and European colonialism entered Asia.
European imperialists came holding a gun and the Bible. They provided Biblical justifications for genocides of non-Europeans. Thousands of people were killed during Catholic inquisitions in Portuguese- and Spanish-occupied areas of Asia. Then came the Dutch and French into Indochina. Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maoris were practically exterminated by the British, who were following what they thought were Biblical instructions.
Thus Asia received too much Biblical “love of God,” and today there is not much attraction to it since Asia is the origin of some of the oldest religions in the world — Hinduism and Buddhism. There is no need for the Biblical God to come to the rescue of Asians when, under Hinduism and Buddhism, there are different concepts of The God, who does not instruct followers to take over another country and kill its inhabitants.
Humans instead are instructed to accept nonviolence as the supreme principle. Asia does not need instruction from the pope, archbishops or cardinals on religion.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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