Round 7 Buddhism in Japan Response

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The biggest environmental obstacle in the world is that we as humans are forced to chose between the economy and the environment. We have grown accustomed to our industrialized societies, which have come this far without really considering the environment. It is now so difficult to change our mindset to incorporate the environment into the economy because it carries the negative connotations of “going back” and being anti-growth. I think that this global problem is in large part due to the great influence of the world’s superpower, the United States. I think the anthropocentric nature of Christianity correlates with the capitalist nature of the U.S. and its journey in attaining top-dog economic status. I think that since we live in competitive world, other countries especially China and Japan (who are in second and third place after the U.S. based on GDP) strive to compete, and even emulate the United States. Thus, China and Japan have grown their economies and with that their amount of pollution and environmental degradation have also grown, despite Buddhism being a predominate religion in both countries. So to answer the first question, I think it is less a matter of which religion is predominate in a country and its relation to environmental policies, but more about the influence of the U.S. as a superpower and the anthropocentric nature of Christianity. So it seems that I have kind of hijacked the blog prompt to focus on the U.S. and Christianity, but as we discussed in class, Christianity is currently the world’s largest religion and I think that its growth in popularity has a lot to do with U.S. influence. If China or Japan would have emerged from World War II, as the superpower maybe Christianity wouldn’t be as dominate today and Buddhism would be more dominate. Maybe there would be less environmental degradation as a result, but I can only speculate.

            I do think that if we were to idealize a perfect world, we would obviously place less focus on the economy. Concern over the economy is the biggest threat to the environment and I am sure that without the economy we would be more in tune with nature. However, at this point in time, we can’t just “go back” to the days before the economy and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. I think that we have to keep working towards integrating the environment into the economy through ecological modernization, which the U.S., China, and Japan are all trying to do. 

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3 responses »

  1. I agree with you that had Japan or China come out on top, Buddhism would most likely be the dominant religion. Cecil Adams, reference the link below, has made a fair point that Christianity really emerged when pagan religions were decreasing in popularity. Christianity, much like Buddhism, has more positive moral aspects compared to paganism. That is the reason so many people have come to accept them as their beliefs.
    Christianity has been corrupted. The Christianity that you believe to have caused the capitalist nature of the United States is not Christianity in its purest form. Knowing this, I can only think that if Buddhism was the dominate religion, it could just as easily be corrupted by the leaders of the world.
    Also note, it is controversial as to whether or not Buddhism is a religion.

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1167/why-did-christianity-become-so-popular

  2. Although many countries attempt to emulate the U.S. standard of living most notably Japan and China I do not think a change in a dominate religion would change our belief of how the environment and economy are related. You have to remember the form of Christianity widely accepted in the west is a perverted form of true Christianity. It was been warped into something that people can use to justify their actions of greed. I believe people are inherently greedy and power hungry so it does not matter if it is Christianity or Buddhism that is the dominate religion it will always be corrupted. What we truly need to focus on is changing the belief that the economy and environment are separate entities to one that is more holistic and encompassing of how actions in one affect the other.
    leftuntaken I don’t really understand why you pointed out that it is debated whether or not Buddhism is a religion or not. The fact is it is a worldview and religion is just another type of worldview so it doesn’t matter if its a religion or not it still affects how people view the world they live in.

  3. I was really thrilled when you mentioned that Japan and China try to emulate the united States and our westernized actions because that is so valid. I believe this is what contributed largely to international environmental degradation. People look at the US and our “success” and want what we have, all the same materialistic objects, and materialistic happiness. However, there are other countries, like ukraine for instance, who cannot stand our lifestyle. They feel as if we are chained individuals, and work ourselves to death without truly enjoying our life. Anyways, Overall I agree with you when you say that the United States is contributing to the global problem of over industrialization. I also really enjoyed what you said about “anti-growth.” I do feel as if sometimes people misinterpret others when they say we should go back to older ways of living. I think we should do this but put a modern spin on it. We need to build cities like the one described in the clip we watched in class earlier this semester. It needs to be designed for people, so that everything is within walking distance and everything is recycled within the city (the waste). I think this is something we should be striving for instead of continuing this consumerism way of living that we do now.

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