The Invention of a New Religion

The Invention of a New Religion

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The Invention of a New Religion by Basil Hall Chamberlain

Published:

1912

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The Invention of a New Religion

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Book Excerpt

olute fealty of his subjects. Such things as laws and constitutions are but free gifts on His part, not in any sense popular rights. Of course, the ministers and officials, high and low, who carry on His government, are to be regarded not as public servants, but rather as executants of supreme--one might say supernatural--authority. Shinto, because connected with the Imperial Family, is to be alone honoured. Therefore, the important right of burial, never before possessed by it, was granted to its priests. Later on, the right of marriage was granted likewise--an entirely novel departure in a land where marriage had never been more than a civil contract. Thus the Shinto priesthood was encouraged to penetrate into the intimacy of family life, while in another direction it encroached on the field of ethics by borrowing bits here and there from Confucian and even from Christian sources. Under a regime of ostensible religious toleration, the attendance of officials at certain Shinto services was required, a
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