Religious Beliefs

What role do views of the material world play in Shinto tradition?

Shinto is one of the world’s most ecologically attuned religious traditions. Divine energy suffuses all of creation and is thus cause for reverence and wonder. Very optimistic in its outlook about life in this world, Shinto teaches that when human beings are in harmony with nature, all persons and things flourish. There is therefore no serious distinction or incompatibility between the physical and the spiritual, the human and the divine. Shinto is very much what some call a world-affirming tradition. When devotees worship at a shrine the mood is generally solemn and reverent. But a sense of joy and exuberance pervades festivals. Such celebrations, which can go on for days, leave little doubt that at the heart of Shinto tradition there is a delight in the everyday world and a conviction of the inherent goodness of creation.


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