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The Invention of a New Religion

By Chamberlain, Basil Hall

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Book Id: WPLBN0000232586
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.5 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: The Invention of a New Religion  
Author: Chamberlain, Basil Hall
Language: English
Subject: Literature, Literature & thought, Writing.
Collections: Classic Literature Collection
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Publisher: World Ebook Library


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Chamberlain, B. H. (n.d.). The Invention of a New Religion. Retrieved from

Voltaire and the other eighteenth-century philosophers, who held religions to be the invention of priests, have been scorned as superficial by later investigators. But was there not something in their view, after all? Have not we, of a later and more critical day, got into so inveterate a habit of digging deep that we sometimes fail to see what lies before our very noses? Modern Japan is there to furnish an example. The Japanese are, it is true, commonly said to be an irreligious people. They say so themselves. Writes one of them, the celebrated Fukuzawa, teacher and type of the modern educated Japanese man: I lack a religious nature, and have never believed in any religion. A score of like pronouncements might be quoted from other leading men. The average, even educated, European strikes the average educated Japanese as strangely superstitious, unaccountably occupied with supra-mundane matters. The Japanese simply cannot be brought to comprehend how a mere parson such as the Pope, or even the Archbishop of Canterbury, occupies the place he does in politics and society. Yet this same agnostic Japan is teaching us at this very hour how religions are sometimes manufactured for a special end -- to subserve practical worldly purposes.

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