Shaken Faith.

Everyone who believes in anything or anyone; God, Shiva, Buddha, Satan, Zeus,  in my case the many Kami who are worshipped by the Shinto. Falls from grace occasionally. That is to say, they give in to a temptation that leads them astray.  Causes them to falter. 

I was a Reading A  Blog post from “A Fractured Faith” a Christian blog, it isn’t the kind of Christian blog that to someone like me would feel suffocating and somehow ashamed of myself for believing different. It’s actually a pretty great little blog, that I can relate to. Do we believe in different Deities? Yes. Are our Values the, 98% are. I mean they don’t have to repent for not peeling their grapes… I don’t think.

Anyway, I was reading their post called “Shark Attack” it focused largely on how Guilty pleasures can lead you astray from God, and gave a pretty good, comical review on the movie “Sharknado”.As I was

As I was typing a rather lengthy comment, that hopefully didn’t offend anyone, it got me thinking. Like really thinking. I have been asked before “But you are Shinto, how could you possibly stray from a fake religion?” Excuse me, I don’t doubt the existence of your god, whoever they may be, why do you doubt the existence of mine. In my opinion, no religion is better than any other, in the end, many values are largely the same. We believe in faith, family, love, and have rules we must follow and hope that one day the world will be at peace. To my knowledge, none of us are too keen on war, as it kills innocent people.

I just wanted to give a few examples of how a Shinto can stray from their faith.hidingmiko

 

  1. Denying their faith in which they believe in front of others:  In the Bible, Jesus asks that he not be denied by man or he will deny man to his father, who is in heaven. ( Mathew 10:33)  That seems a fair punishment to me. As a Shinto,  while there is no explicit rule about denying your beliefs, it is still not a good idea.  I started studying Shintoism when I was 12 and even found a shrine, all be it private. After a year, I was ready to tell my family the path I had chosen in my faith. I started with my uncle, who is a pastor. He looked at me as if I were a demon, told me I was going to Hell in a hand basket for choosing not to follow God. He said I should be ashamed of my choice, and atone for my sins. After that, I was afraid to tell anyone about it so I studied in Secret for two or three years. When asked what I followed religiously. I would only say ” My family is Christian//Catholic.” When I was 16. Gran had asked me why I stopped going to church…So I told her “Please don’t hate me, Gran, but I am Shinto, and apparently this is bad, but I do still believe your God Exists” She scoffed and said “You were different from the start, I knew you weren’t meant to be a Christian. You could see ghosts when you were little and Uncle Pastor tried to have you excised. From what I know of Shintoism is that they are pretty peaceable and believe in keeping the body pure from sin. Same as Christians. No reason why you should be shunned.”

    shintoswimsuit
    *Don’t worry it is a swimsuit*
  2. Guilty Pleasures: As I stated at the beginning, the post I had read focused on this. There are many rules in the Bible and other places that state one must not give in to temptation leading to sin. IE lust, greed, gluttony, vanity, sloth, pride, wrath, murder… etc.  Shintoism states that humans are born pure, and good, and falling into temptations is what causes their body and soul to be soiled, causing them to become impure and in some cases bad.  Anything in which disturbs the kami, disrupts worship of kami, the harmony of the world, the natural world, disturb social order, and things which disrupt the group of which one is a member. among many other things… can cause one to become impure and we must repent, and do a purification ritual. Much like a Catholic would go to confession, or a Christian prays for forgiveness.

    sakura-mochi
    Sakura Mochi. This is typically only served for special occasions. Namely “Girls Day” and of course Hanami- Cherry blossom Festival. If you have never had this, do put it on your food bucket list. (Photo source: http://blog.wagashi-net.de/wp-)
  3. bringing pollutants into our bodies: Sounds simple enough, until you sit for hours reading and studying the many ways this happens. Pollutants come from the cities air, foods, and actions. Let’s just focus on the foods though.  You go to grocery store and buy fruits and vegetables. You bring them home. Chances are you wash them ( and hopefully you do, whether or organic or not to get rid of dirt, debris and or pesticides). Well.. then you just cut the apple and dip it in your caramel,  pop a whole grape into your mouth. YAY GO YOU! Have you ever been to a restaurant though, and noticed the crazy man peeling his grapes or strawberries. “That poor man,” You think, he must have some sort of OCD. While that may be the case for some, for that man, though, he may be Shinto, been peeling fruits and vegetables for 90+ years. They peel everything, even after washing them. Why? Because the skin is dirty. It has absorbed the impurities of the world. To not peel everything is to willingly ingest impurities. And you must undergo a quick ritual to purify your body… OR just do a system flush *Winks*.

    animesword
    As my Shaman has always told me “The only harm you should ever do is Banishing evil Spirits”. 
  4. Disrupting the natural harmony of the world: This one is more complex, Well I guess they all are but I will focus now only on the Non- Violent aspect of it as I have struggled with this, especially recently. As a rule, we are peaceable, we don’t wish ill on others, nor do we wish harm on them and do not take a violent approach to anything we do. As a Priestess, if I commit a violent act, I could be stripped of my title. As a regular Shintof, well, mostly you just go through purification rituals and basically told don’t do it again. I punched a woman a few years back because she was a horrible person, she was with a man and trying to take mine at the time, and ended up hurting mine, and a couple others I cared about, I was seeing red, I was 21 and in love, and didn’t think her husband deserved what she was doing to him, or anyone else, and she was doing a lot of other undesirable things. I punched her, and until the barkeep (yes I was sober) pulled me off her, I had no intention of stopping, until the woman was laid up in the hospital. Well, I had managed to break her nose, and her ribs, and bloody her up nicely, but it didn’t satisfy me… I had broken one of the biggest rules of my religion, and she was still at her games, trying to steal everyone’s lovers and making stuff up. Violence is a HUGE no-no and causes one to stray from what they believe.

There are a million things that can lead you astray. Worshipping false idols, adultery… Obviously, you can’t be a saint all the time, as even cussing is perceived as a sin. I do implore you to be mindful of your words and actions, they are your biggest weapons. How you choose to wield them defines your character.

I do implore you to be mindful of your words and actions, they are your biggest weapons. How you choose to wield them defines your character.

*Note to those whom I know will ask, Yes, I am a PRIESTESS/ Low-rank Shaman, NOT a Miko, I took my exams just this February. I started out as a follower, then eventually fell into the role of “Miko” for the private shrine, which really just means I participated in festivities as shaman said too. It was very fun and still is, though I am a low-rank priestess, I don’t plan to work for a real shrine, like, in Japan, If there was one in the U.S. perhaps. If you need a charm, I can make you one, or perform a purification ritual! I wish to be a higher ranking Shaman, at the level the nice old lady I assist is, which is just a level above me.*

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