仮説としての「無宗教社会」

縦書き文庫「無宗教社会を生きる」(執筆中)より

十九世紀後半から大日本帝國は<富國強兵>という名のもとに現在の中国やロシアにほぼ相当する国々と戦争をし、現在の台湾・韓国・北朝鮮を植民地にし中国東北部地域に満州まんしゅう國を作って版図はんとを拡張した。一九三十年代には中国内陸部と東南アジア地域に戦域を広げ、四十年代には米国と戦争するに至った。その過程で双方の兵が殺しあい、大日本帝國軍はこれら地域の人々の慣習や文化を奪い人権を蹂躙じゅうりん殺戮さつりくもした。

一方で五族協和をとなえアジア解放をうたっていた。二〇二二年のロシアによるウクライナ侵攻とそのプロパガンダは、大日本帝國による侵攻と報道管制のようすを彷彿ほうふつとさせる。一九四五年八月に無条件降伏し、大日本帝國は瓦解がかいしたかにみえるが、その残滓ざんしは今も日本社会のどこかに温存おんぞんされている、と筆者は考える。

戦後、雨後のたけのこと形容されるように<新興宗教>が勃興ぼっこうした。多くは戦前の似非えせ宗教に対する反動ゆえに同じく非宗教であったが、人々は宗教も非宗教も区別できないまま盲目的に追随ついずいするか無宗教を決め込んだ。そんな時代のなか創価学会そうかがっかいは全国で折伏しゃくぶくという名の布教活動をくり広げた。その仏教運動は既存の仏教各派や神道キリスト教等を邪宗じゃしゅう邪教として一蹴いっしゅうした。人々は創価学会を略して「学会」と呼び、会員を「学会員」と呼んでみ嫌ったが、その実像を理解している人は少ない。その大衆運動に驚き戸惑った人々は「学会」をまわしい団体とし「貧乏人と病人の集団」と呼んでさげすみ排斥した。この集団の勢いを恐れ、統率のとれた会員の表面的な活動だけをみて全体主義と評する者すらいた。

二〇二三年、日本社会にらす多くの人々の「宗教」観は二十世紀後半からほとんど変わっていないのではないだろうか。いや、むしろ無宗教性がさらに深まり、スマフォ依存症とその延長上にある脳内露出症が蔓延まんえんしている。

戦前の天皇を中心とする国家神道に対する反動からだろう、「無宗教」がよしとされ普通とされる戦後の日本社会において、神社での祈祷きとうは「信仰」とは違うとされ、正月にはみな神社に参詣する。また、葬儀や法事には僧侶に読経どきょうしてもらい念仏をとなえることが死者に対するとむらいであり通過儀礼とされている。戦前と同じようにいずれも「信仰」とは異なるものとして扱われるのだ。筆者は、仮説として現代日本社会を「無宗教社会」と呼ぶ。この作品もその仮説を前提している。

「無宗教社会」では、何かを「信じる」者は非科学的だとされ、「信仰」を持つ者は弱者としてうとんじられる。「信仰」を説き、宗教団体に勧誘する者はうさん臭いものになってしまう。長いあいだ思想と情報の統制下に置かれ考える習慣を持たない人々は、これまでどおり自ら思考する力を失っていた。その状況は戦後八十年がとうとする現在も大きく変わってはいない。そんな人々の思考と信仰の真空域に「学会」が現れたのである。

「学会員」となることは「信仰」を持つことを宣言するだけではない。人々が習俗として取り込んできた既存の神仏を否定する。それを知りながら、경호ギョンホの母は「学会員」になった。周囲の人々にあなどられ陰口かげぐちをたたかれ、夫に嫌われながらも「学会員」になる選択をした。なぜだろう、何が彼女を仏教運動におもむかせたのだろうか。この中説を通じて考えてみたいと思う。

NON-RELIGIOUS SOCIETY AS A HYPOTHESIS
From the latter half of the nineteenth century, under the name of “Wealth and National Strength,” the Japanese Empire went to war with countries that are roughly equivalent to today’s China and Russia, colonizing what is now Taiwan, Korea, and North Korea, and expanding its territory by establishing Manchukuo in the northeastern region of China. In the 1930s, it expanded its war areas into inland China and Southeast Asia, and in the 1940s, it went to war with the United States. In the process, soldiers from both sides killed each other, and the Imperial Japanese Army deprived the people of these regions of their customs and culture, violated their human rights, and slaughtered them.

On the other hand, the Imperial Japanese Army advocated “harmony among the five races” and claimed the liberation of Asia. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and its propaganda are reminiscent of the invasion by the Empire of Japan and its control of the press. Although Japan surrendered unconditionally in August 1945 and the Empire of Japan seemed to have collapsed, I believe that the remnants of the Imperial Japanese Empire still exist in some parts of Japanese society.

After the war, new religions sprang up like bamboo shoots after the rain. Many of them were non-religious as well, as a reaction against the false religions of the prewar period, but people blindly followed them without being able to distinguish between religion and non-religion, or decided to have no religion. In such an era, the Soka Gakkai spread its proselytizing activities, known as shakubuku, throughout the country. Its Buddhist movement kicked out existing Buddhist sects, Shintoism, Christianity, and other religions as paganism and pagan religions. People called the Soka Gakkai “Gakkai” for short and abhorred its members, calling them Gakkai members, but few people understood the true nature of the movement. People who were surprised and perplexed by the mass movement called the Gakkai an abominable organization and scorned and ostracized it, calling it “a group of poor and sick people.” Fearing the momentum of this group, some people even described it as totalitarianism based only on the superficial observations of its well-organized members.

In 2023, the view of “religion” and the worldview of many people in Japanese society had hardly changed from the late 20th century. Rather, irreligiousness has deepened further, and smartphone addiction and its extension, brain-exposure disorder, are widespread.

In postwar Japanese society, where “irreligion” is considered acceptable and normal, perhaps as a reaction against the emperor-centered state Shinto of the prewar era, praying at shrines is considered different from “faith,” and everyone pays homage to shrines on New Year’s Day. In addition, at funerals and Buddhist memorial services, people are asked to recite sutras and chant the Buddhist prayer to the dead, which is considered a mourning and rite of passage for the deceased. As in the prewar period, these are treated as something different from “faith.” The author calls contemporary Japanese society a “non-religious society” as a hypothesis. This work is also based on that hypothesis.

In a “non-religious society,” those who “believe” in something are considered unscientific, and those who have “faith” are marginalized as weak. Those who preach “faith” and invite people to join religious organizations are regarded as shady. People who have been under the control of ideas and information for a long time and who do not have the habit of thinking have lost the ability to think for themselves, as they always had been. This situation has not changed much in the 80 years since the end of World War II. The Gakkai appeared in the vacuum of people’s thoughts and beliefs as described above.

Becoming a Gakkai member is not only a declaration of one’s “faith.” It is a denial of the existing gods and Buddha that people have taken in as a matter of custom. Knowing this, Gyungho’s mother became a Gakkai member. She made the choice to become a Gakkai member even though people around her belittled her, talked about her behind her back, and her husband disliked her. Why, I wonder, did she choose to become a member of the Buddhist movement? Through this essay, I would like to think about it.
Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator 

わきびとたち

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