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A Load of Old Shinto by Peter Lockhart

vivian bullwinkle
Vivian Bullwinkel, a survivor of the Bangka Island massacre

Peter Lockhart (link no longer active) blogs at The Naked Emperor: Why Religion is Bollocks. (link no longer active) He is the author of The Naked Emperor: Why Religion is Bollocks and currently resides on a sheep station in Western Australia.

Recently I have been reading a lot about the Second World War, and especially Japan. Of course, to discuss any aspect of that war in a blog is a flea bite out of an elephant of a subject.

Other than the fact that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour was similar in so many ways to the attack on Darwin Harbour just 10 weeks later, mostly because of complacency and stupidity, both attacks by the Japanese caught the Americans and the Australians, asleep at the wheel. The Pearl attack and the Darwin attack were done by the same group of Aircraft Carriers commanded by Admiral Nagumo.

In both attacks, the early warnings were ignored, the element of surprise was maintained, and the damage was severe. Darwin was important strategically after Singapore fell to the Japanese just four days before the first air raid, and it seems, only the Japanese understood that. The raids on Darwin were done in order to disrupt and degrade the efficient functioning of the important port.

What struck me most of all in my recent reading, was the role the Shinto Religion played in the Japanese war machine in the hostilities, which Japan began in 1931.

The Shinto Religion is a good example of just how we cannot just lower our guard with fanatics of religion, or the teachings of the religions, as they can and do cause untold problems for millions of people.

One thing I admire about the Japanese is the fact they do everything whole heartedly. I was born less than 9 years after the Second World War, and I grew up with stories of the brutality of the Japanese. I had teachers who were POWs on the Burma Railway, who were in fact angry and bitter, even cruel, because of that experience. My mother also had friends who were former POWs of the Japanese.

However, as a grown man, I had the honour of meeting and discussing the subject of the Japanese with Vivian Bullwinkel.

Vivian told me she was still afraid of the Japanese people because they had not changed. Vivian was one of 22 nurses marched into the sea by the Japanese and machine gunned down. She survived by feigning death.

The Bangka Island massacre is just one of countless atrocities committed by the Japanese during the hostilities from 1931 to 1945. The question I ask: how can anyone do such things? The answer is of course, Religion.

The Shinto religion teaches nationalism for Japan, along with supernatural destiny of the nation and the people as the dominators of the whole world. The Kami first “Created” Japan by dipping spears into the nothingness, and that which dripped from the spear point, became the first island of Japan.

The sacred and holy god created nation of Japan, has a living son of heaven god as Emperor (note it’s not a king with a kingdom but an emperor with an Empire). The Japanese are, according to Shinto, sacred and lower caste relatives of the Emperor and the Kami themselves.

As for the rest of us mere mortals, we are subhuman and worthless apes, who have no worth other than slaves to be dominated by the masters of the universe, the people and Emperor of Japan. Charming.

It is clear from reading about the conduct of the Japanese during those hostilities, that they lived their religion with no doubt or question or hesitation. Such brutality is only seen in religious fanatics. They have their god on their side telling them they are doing right.

I recently spoke to a young woman from Taiwan, and a group of young people from Hong Kong and Shanghai. They all said exactly the same words to me about Japan: “We still hate them”.

It was Taiwan, Korea and China, where the Japanese army rounded up the “Comfort Women”, a euphemism for sex slave. The “Comfort Women” were pressed into service to provide sex for Japanese troops at a ratio of 1:40. That’s one woman forced to provide ongoing sex with forty men.

There were millions of Japanese soldiers, but the “Comfort Women” numbers can only be estimated. The women were not Japanese, and so according to the Japanese they were without value except to serve Japan as slaves.

In Japan today, the schools do not teach the truth about those hostilities and the Japanese atrocities committed in the name of the Emperor. If a tourist goes to ground zero at Nagasaki or Hiroshima, the tourist will be told that the bombs were only dropped because of American racism.

The USA would only accept unconditional surrender and nothing less, and the “Big Six” or the Supreme War Council only considered such a surrender when Joe Stalin declared war on Japan and rolled up the Japanese soldiers in Manchuria like an old carpet in Operation Autumn Storm. Nagasaki and Hiroshima hardly rated a mention.

The Nuclear weapons were not used out of racism, but most likely as retribution for atrocities on an industrial scale such as the “Rape of Nanking” where 400,000 people were slaughtered often tied up and thrown into “Slaughter pits” to be used for live bayonet practice.

Then there was retribution for the Bataan Death March and countless others. I heard many firsthand accounts of atrocities from former POWs, from family friends, school teachers and from Vivian Bullwinkle herself.

I say Shinto teaches racism. I say the lack of truthful history lessons for Japanese youth is also a Japanese atrocity. I say Vivian Bullwinkle was right to still fear the Japanese. If anyone “knew the enemy”, the first rule of warfare, it was her. Vivian witnessed the Bangka Island Massacre where 21 nurses were machine gunned and wounded Australian soldiers were marched to the next beach and used for live bayonet practice.

The Japanese army wanted soldiers who were heartless killers who would kill on command and without hesitation or remorse. They succeeded in that wish, and if they ever question the use of the Nuclear Weapons on their “sacred” country, they need to take a lesson from the ancient Greeks – “Know thyself”.


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    Your are completely right as regards the Japanese and the atrocities they carried out , but if we are being honest ,there is hardly a race, country or creed of people who have not carried out atrocities at one point or another, its not religion its the greed, hate, envy, selfishness of man. Nothing makes us commit atrocities we choose to do these things.

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    The simple problem here was naming a harbour after a notorious denier of our Lord like Charles Darwin; that clearly caused his hand of protection to be lifted & thus, this horrible bloodbath happened!

    Duhhhhh, people

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    Darwin was a great scientist to discovered scientific fact. Evolution is fact and Creation is a fairy tale for whackadoodles. You miss the point – the Japanese were religious fanatics with obvious parallels with whackadoodle Christians – it was the religion of Shinto with all the obviously crazy beliefs that made the Japanese to brutal – if you can’t see that you are blind.

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      So I assume you hold with Darwins comment about the lesser races, IE blacks and Aboriginals and not with Christ`s
      view that we are all equal in value, Galatians. 3.28.
      Consider all the evil in the world from Roman empire,American colonisation, French and British empires , the first and second world wars, Rwandan genocide,and every rape and murder that happens every day in the world and you seriously want to blame religion, and not man`s greed selfishness, hatred and love of his fleshly desire`s.
      Ok let`s all have the atheistic view and let us see how that might colour the view of a man or country who want`s to do evil,
      1- we are all just animals
      2- Animals kill animal all the time, why are we different
      3 -The fittest survive the weakest die
      4- The survival of the species depends on the fittest mating and passing on the fittest genes
      5- Bad or weak genes will dilute the strong gene pool, so should be eradicated.
      6- As animals there is no such thing as evil and good ,only survival.
      7 The lesser races need to be eradicated.

      Now the thing is these views I assume won`t make you want to eradicate the weak, but if your hearts desire is to grab for yourself money, land, power, and selfish desires, surely this atheistic view would give you justification, but if you are peaceful and kind and have your heart set on doing good to your fellow man these views won`t change that.
      Christ said love you fellow man with all you heart might and strength, so I would rather be put to death that kill in the name of patriotism, or any other man made cause.

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    Well I know the Evolution of species to be a fact because it has been proven by genetic science and by the DNA molecule. So as a flat earther I assume you think you will fall off the edge if you go too close.

    Jesus never lived and there is no god. So I assume you approve of all the rapes and murders done to children by various priests and clergy over the last 2000 years.

    What you fail to understand is that Christianity especially with fundamentalist extremists such as found in the USA is just as bonkers and dangerous as Shinto in Japan.

    Christianity is an absolute lie and dangerous.

    You think atheists lack empathy and altruism. You are very, very wrong. Atheists do good things for fellow humans not so we will go to heaven, but because we care about people.

    If you worship the god of the Second Isaiah, that is the Zoroastrian god introduced by Zoroaster. Whatever you call your religion if the second Isaiah god is your god you are a Zoroastrian.

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    I assumed we were taking motivation for actions, as you were saying Shintoism was the Japanese motivation for their
    atrocities, my point is can you live as an atheist without carrying out atrocities, you say you can, has anyone ever carried out atrocities based on evolutionary principles yes they have, so the principle of motivation applies.People will use any reason they can to get what they want, and any justification that fits the bill is ok in their eyes.So please show me from the new testament a teaching which would somehow allow me justification to ill treat my fellow man , because I can certainly show you from evolutionary theory why its almost vital we kill the weak and let the strong survive . Dawkins comment on downes syndrome kids comes to mind.Guns don`t kill people people kill people, religion does not kill people, people kill people.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      Nice, how you, as a Christian, limit the discussion to the NT. What is your MOTIVATION for doing so? Your argument fails as soon as I show from the OT that your God was a barbaric, genocidal, maniac. Even in the NT we see God killing someone for what someone else did.

      I am quite willing to admit that atheists have said things that are horrendous. Are you willing to do the same when it comes to the Bible?

      Right now, the U.S. Is in an uproar over same-sex marriage. Why? Religion, specifically the Christian religion. Remove religion and their objections go away.

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        You have an argument here where its being stated that the Japanese did appalling things, so Bruce would you condone or condemn force being used to stop them.

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          Bruce Gerencser

          I would support the use of force. While I am a pacifist, I am not so naive to think that evil can be stopped by praying or lining up to be slaughtered in the name of an ideal. I’m a pragmatist, knowing, in some instances stopping violence requires violence.

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    Again – the Evolution of species by natural selection is a fact. Natural selection is just that – natural. All your puffery and rhetoric cannot alter the fact that Creation according to Genesis is a fairy tale and Evolution as discovered by Charles Darwin is fact – verified by genetics and DNA.

    For some reason you ignore reality. Shinto teaches a Creation story – which is false. Shinto teaches the Japanese are children of gods and their destiny is to dominate the world and Shinto teaches all other people have no value except as slaves.

    Look at the atrocities the Japanese committed in WWII and it matches their religious beliefs.

    As for the NT:

    Matthew 10:34 — “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    John 15:6 — “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
    Luke 12:47 – “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.”
    Mark 14:3-7 — “3While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. 6‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.’”

    Luke 12:33 — “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”
    Even plants and animals aren’t safe from the “lamb of God”:
    Matthew 8:32 — “He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.”
    Mark 11:13-14 — “Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.”

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      Darwin taught variation and natural selection , when then it was shown this cannot bring about new species it was changed to random mutation and NS , so the human brain is a product of random mutations , talk about a miracle.
      So here`s a question how, long and how many mutation does it take to change one species to another totally different species

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          “Your comment has no connection to the post.”
          Just as belief has no connection to scientific method. Once you can accept God-said, everything else falls into place. Dinosaurs are only fifteen years back in history and Rex has shorty arms cuz the guys who dug up the bones got them all mixed and up and then just started telling stories and making fantastical models. God said! Now shut up!

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    What part of “Evolution has been proven by genetics and DNA” do you not understand? All species are related to all other species somewhere in that they all have a common ancestor. That is fact. What you have said above is what no real scientist said ever. Take a look at the Hillis Plot. You are not a trained expert in Biology and have no right to argue with the experts on that subject. Prove Evolution wrong and you will be the most famous scientist that ever lived. But you have no idea about science or biology or genetics or DNA. Meanwhile – religious fundamental nutcases – have a look at Shinto and WWII.

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    Japanese attrocities……of course, its war. However, a large proportion of the Japanese POW camps, were actually run by North Koreans…..and these were the worst offenders. The whole idea of surrender disgusted the Japanese. In no way I am excusing this, just raising a little known “real truth”.

    The Japanese are a very honourable type race, Christ, they would suicide by Kari Kari if Honour was lost, and Kamikaze pilots must be the most practiced example of a “True Patriot” committed to the defence of his homeland…..although in Western eyes we view this on par to an “Islamic Suicide Bomber”.(extreme fundamentals)

    Today, name me a western nation where you could leave your keys in the ignition, wallet on the seat, and if you returned tomorrow, they would still be there? This honour, has its good side too. Lowest crime in the world.

    The question that I have often pondered in regards to ‘religion’ in Japan, is why was Christianity & Westerners(Jesuit Missionarys) exiled and Banned from Japan for over 200yrs?
    There must be a reason why these very honorouble people, who originally welcomed these westerners with welcome arms (trade,technology,ideas,etc) suddenly had a complete turnaround…….

    black collar crime?……or English/Dutch warnings of military conquest using propagation of the faith?

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        Sorry Bruce, I should have stressed the main street of a major city, or busy laneway, etc.

        Here in Aus, if you leave your carkeys in the ignition while you go to pay for the petrol/gas u have just pumped , and your car gets stolen…..the police attitude is basically, its your fault.
        That was the point I was trying to make. Rural Ohio of course……Baltimore or Chicago or NY or LA?
        And Yes, there is probably bad areas in Japan too.

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      The reality of the Kamikaze pilots is that most were well educated, higher social status, young people, who certainly didn’t want to die for their country. Recruitment was by a psychological tactical approach, whereby dozens of potential recruits at any one time would be asked to step forward if they weren’t prepared for Kamikaze duty. Naturally very few did for fear of shaming their families, themselves, and finding that they were labelled as dishonourable. They were victims of a despotic leadership, not one that fostered honour and integrity.

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        Hello again GeoffT. The article pointed at SHINTO fundamentalism as the cause of these attrocities, I was pointing at a culture ruled by “Honour”, and many done by North Koreans, Think Vichy French, or Foreign Divisions of the SS in Russia as other examples of actual wrongs, done by aligned ‘foreigners’.

        Victims? Exactly, victims of a military run govt with a puppet emporer , that used this brainwashed elevation of Honour , to their own advantage. They still had the integrity to make the ultimate sacrifice.
        The reality is ALL pilots in WW2 were well educated, young elites, that didnt want to die….as of all airforces today. The more I research, the psychological tactics of the Jesuits have been responsible for most wars & its victims. Infiltration & Deceipt, and even switching sides, like Fascist run Italy.

        Seems I have found the Jesuit aligned troll on this site.
        Shall we mention the Japanese in the Vatican and Rome during WW2 as they were on the side of the Axis forces? I suppose u will tell me these ambassadors were Shinto priests.
        Shall we mention Mussolini (Fascist despot) got into power because he granted the Vatican a seperate state in the Lateran Treaty? The pope signing treatys with the Nazis?
        Or HG Wells propaganda minister in his indictment of the Catholic Church- Crux Ansata, Why Dont we Bomb Rome? ….and the USAAF refused?
        You may have all the scripted mainstream(Jesuit version of history) answers GeoffT, but anyone on board with the CASTRATION of choirboys for over 260yrs, as acceptable for soprano voices as a reason to justify and excuse this evil practice, is not to be trusted. Its inexcusable,and no Christian Apologetics will answer it.

        Maybe your the right person to explain to all these good American Christians of the Fascist Logo throughout Washington, Law Courts, Sheriffs, Knights of Colombus, and why it is there? Funny how the Fasci dime was taken out of circulation as soon as Italy swapped sides…then it was all the Nazis fault

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          Bruce Gerencser

          Deano, I politely asked you to stop the constant anti-Catholic rhetoric. You, for some reason, are unable or unwilling to respect my request. Now you are calling a long-time reader/commenter a Jesuit troll. You have crossed the line. I will approve no further comments of yours.

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            Bruce, I have to say I’ve never been described as a Jesuit troll before, and I find it rather ironic, considering my views on Catholicism. Not that I subscribe in any way to some (actually any!) of the bizarre conspiracy ideas being put forward.

            For the record, I challenged the basis on which castration became an established practice, namely to retain the treble voices of the boys affected. I in no way condone the practice, as suggested by Deano, and consider it disgusting in the extreme. Anyone who carried out such a ritual today should be liable to the severest criminal sanctions, and be offered no defence in the form of religious belief. This, incidentally, is also my view of circumcision, especially female.

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Bruce Gerencser