Religious Beliefs

Is there a Shinto creed?

Shinto beliefs, like those of Daoism and the Chinese Community Traditions, have never been reduced to a concise formal summary statement. If one were to produce a brief Shinto creedal affirmation it might go something like this: I believe that sacredness surrounds me, that it pervades all things including my very self, and that the all-suffusing divine presence is ultimately benevolent and meant to assure well-being and happiness for all who acknowledge it and strive to live in harmony with it. Shortly after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the imperial authorities formulated the rough equivalent of a brief creedal statement, called the Three Great Teachings, in an attempt to enhance the emperor’s status. The three teachings included patriotism and respect for the kami, the establishment of heavenly principles in relation to human culture, and dedication to the emperor and his pronouncements. Authorities interpreted the creed in the context of worship of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, and the other chief deities in the creation myth. Although it approximated a creed in some ways, this statement was more like an acknowledgment of the importance of underlying religious conviction for the good order of Japanese society.


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