Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Travel Is Wasted on Some People

This is pure evil and should be razed to make way for a megachurch. Or possibly a Walmart.

One of the things that disappoints me most about being poor is that I will never get to travel. I would love, more than anything, to see the pyramids, to see Rome, to see the land of WTF?!, otherwise known as Japan. I want to see unusual things, experience a different culture, learn something new. Some people apparently don't feel the same way.

My daughter has been on a mission trip to Japan this summer. She and her sponsor sent a report on how the trip is going. This is the prayer guide given out in Church. It is info about Kimberly's trip from Kimberly and from her ministry coordinator, Jeff that I would like to share:

“It's 9:17 pm Wednesday here in Tokyo. That would be about 7:17 am
where you are.
Today, we went prayer walking at Asakusa Temple, and it was
devastating. As you enter through the large gates, you see two huge
statues of "protectors" (translation: demons). Beyond that is a
market place and then another gate with yet more demon
representations. As you enter the second gate, you can see people
bowing to the false gods before they enter. Then, you're greeted by
the smell of incense as you watch people stand around an altar,
bathing themselves in the smoke in order to purify themselves. After
that, they go to the right where a large water fountain/basin is
located so that they can rinse their hands and mouths to purify those.
To the left is an atrocity. They have a bronze Buddha called a
"healing Buddha." People rub the place on the idol that needs healing
and then rub themselves in the same stop. It's terrible.
Inside the temple was bad, too. People were throwing money into this
large...thing...and clapping their hands before saying a prayer. Yes,
they have to pay the gods to listen to their prayers and clap to wake
them up. It's the worst. There are two large lantern-like things to
either side in which people place small white birthday candles to pray
for aborted babies (this is normally done by a family who suffered
this tragedy). Beyond this is an area where only members of the
temple can enter in which they pray to false gods. Beyond that is
something similar to the Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple. Only
the monks could enter. I saw someone open the door, and the monks
were simply lounging about."...
"Outside to the right of the temple was a Shinto shrine. There,
someone had brought their new car to get blessed, and we watched as a
shrine priest performed a very long ceremony over it.
These people are lost. They are so spiritually blind. I've never
seen idol worship to this extent before, and it's a sad thing.

The picture at the top of the post is the Sensoji Temple, also known as the Asakusa Kannon Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. As you can see, it is an amazing place. I'd probably do nothing but stare open-mouthed for ten minutes as soon as I got there. Not this good Christian. All she sees is evil, idol worship, something to destroy and replace with more of what she could find in any strip mall in America. All the beauty and splendor of the world and religion has made her blind to it. I can't imagine anything more tragic.

The website I linked to, btw, is the website of a Bangledeshi man who loves to travel and take pictures. At least travel isn't wasted on him.


  1. Y'know what's sad? If the OP is talking about her daughter and a missions trip, it's pretty likely that the daughter is in high school or maybe college. That's too effing young to be blathering on about false gods and shit. Not that it's right to be doing that at any point, but what happened to, y'know, wonder? Curiosity.

    I was still within the clutches of Evangelical Christianity when the Taliban destroyed the giant Buddha statues in Afghanistan because they were representations of a false god or whatever. I was massively pissed by that action. Those statues belonged to someone. By extension they belonged to all of us because they were a part of our heritage as human beings.

    You don't have to believe in something to recognize its right to exist. I just can't imagine the close-mindedness that goes in to looking at another culture and seeing, "demon, evil spirit, misled evil people who need some Jesus."

    That could be why I've given up on religion entirely, though...

  2. I just want to see what her reaction is to the life-sized gundam statues.

  3. My response was too long for comments, so it got a post of its own over on the Blog o' Doom.

    Rhino of Steel, thanks to you I now have a mental image of a bunch of teenage American evangelicals trying to proselytise the visitors at the Studio Ghibli museum. "The giant yellow cat bus is Satan! Can't you see it!?"

  4. When I went to Rome, I went to St. Peter's basilica (I think that's what they call their "churches"). It was disgusting. Just inside the doors, which are covered with golden graven images) off to the right, there was this larger than life statue of a woman holding a dead guy on her lap(a grown man!! Not a precious little aborted baby!!!)

    There are big marble bowls of water, and people were dipping their hands in them and then putting the water on their foreheads, over their hearts, and then on each shoulder, while muttering something. I only heard the last part, but it was about a GHOST!

    There were a LOT of statues, some of which were "protectors". They had wings and some had swords. There was one statue of a guy called "Peter" (probably a reference to sexual rites), and people were lined up to kiss the feet of the statue so their various injuries could be healed!

    There were huge racks of little white candles, and people were putting money into a slot in a box and then lighting candles. I understand they sometimes do this on the birthday of people who have died!

    Off to the left, at one of the smaller "altars", there was a "priest" in colorful robes waving around a thing on a chain. It was burning incense! It was probably another incantation, because he was talking something that certainly wasn't English! All these people were answering his incantations in the same strange language.

    There were these sets of three boxes around the sides of the room, and people were lined up to go in one of the side boxes. Only the "priests" could go in the middle box. One time the middle door was opened, and the "priest" was just lounging about in a chair inside there!

    I heard about this strange ritual that they do in other parts of this country, at the beginning of the fishing season. The "priest" goes down to the wharf and blesses the fishing boats! Inanimate objects being blessed! What's next, people bring their animals to be blessed?!?

    At least, on this trip, the food was good.

  5. Yep.

    Mutzali, that was outrageous.

  6. Mutzali, to you I tip my cap.

    Awesome !

  7. I feel sorry for her.

    However, I had similar feelings in the Vatican. While I still did admire and enjoy the beauty of the stuff there, it was colored by a feeling of disgust as to how most of that stuff was acquired.

    This was compounded on visiting the Coliseum, and the Pantheon, and wondering how much more beautiful they would have been if the marble and metals hadn't been stripped from them to build the Vatican.

  8. Totally in line with the Vatican comments here... Keeping in mind, of course, that the OP's brand of Christianity doesn't view Catholicism as so totally different from idol worship. I had a friend in the Salvation Army once ask me why Catholics "worship the Virgin Mary." It had never occurred to me until then that Catholicism was viewed that way by some other branches of Christians. Catholics don't "worship" Mary or the saints; they venerate them and ask them to intercede with God on sinners' behalf, hence the Litany of Saints that goes Priest: "St. Michael," Congregation: "Pray for us," "St. Peter," "Pray for us," etc.

    Anyway. The world traveler here might have had a similar distaste for all the "idols" in St. Peter's. Just sayin'.


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