Asian things

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Theology' started by Anglican04, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    Hey guys :)

    I had a question about charms or "lucky" items.

    I would like to start out by saying that I come from an Asian background that is VERY traditional. We have all sorts of festivals, celebrations, and traditions. These celebrations are usually supersticious and involve charms.

    So my question is this: is it sinful to have these charms? I do NOT trust in these charms and celebrations and do NOT believe that these will bring me a good fortune or anything else, I have them purely for cultural purposes. I stay away from borderline occult things such as joss candles and paper (burned sacrifice for the dead meant to bail them out from hell) and buddha statues. Is it wrong to have a chinese coin or something like that?

    Also one last thing, is eastern meditation sinful? Eastern meditation being the I take martial arts and we are taught that a strong body starts with a strong mind and meditation helps (which it does).

    Answers would be much appreciated.
     
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  2. DouayJamesGeneva

    DouayJamesGeneva Active Member

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    Like many people in my generation, I'm a big fan of asian culture, and have a particular fondness for the lucky mallet of Japanese lore, and the ever-popular lucky coin neko cat seen in many places. If you understand why these things are just mythology and have had no prior belief in them as actual charms or previous involvement with the occult where similar items played a role in your practice, then you should be OK. I'm sure many native americans who are devout believers in Christ also feel the same way about dreamcatchers as asians do on this matter.

    I'm not sure how much science is in Eastern meditation, but it tends to delve into more new age territory. Not all meditation is occult, but I am rather uncomfortable about it myself.
     
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  3. neminem

    neminem Member

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    Last Monday I went cycling with a bunch of road cyclists. I noticed the local Anglican Reverend's bike had a very small wooden crucifix stuck on the top of the bike frame just before the seat post. I did not ask him what it signifies, but I am assuming it is his way of asking God to protect him and his bicycle.

    I cannot answer your question about what is sin or not about eastern meditation. Personally I see nothing wrong with meditation if it is to improve your skills in the sport of martial arts. Many elite athletes meditate for visualizing purposes. They visualize doing the perfect movement, getting out of difficulties, and of course winning their sporting event.
     
  4. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That sounds to me like the ideal way to look at this, in that, as long as it is a purely cultural thing, then it should not affect your interior state

    When it does affect your interior state, that is when you must be concerned, but not until then
     
  5. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    I have traveled to Asia a few times and have brought back some items which I enjoy for their artistic value. I don't think that any of the items have mystical powers or occult status- I just enjoy the history behind them and craft that went into making the items. I think if enjoyed from a perspective in which you know the objects have no power over you, then it shouldn't be a problem. I mean, of course, nothing overly violent or debased. For instance, I would not purchase some items from the Himalayas made from bone (human or animal) as they can be used for arcane rituals. But a neko chan cat? I think it's pretty similar to having a horse shoe or a rabbits foot. I do have several Buddha statues which were hand covered and are very nice works of art.

    But, if you feel like they make you uncomfortable then I would not bring them into your home. I think it depends on your level of comfort and association with the cultural connections. As a non-Asian, I probably see them with much less emotional connotations than someone who was raised in an environment in which paper offerings are burnt, for example. That being said, I am sure there are many objects in the West that people view with similar attachments which may be more magical or luck based like Tarot cards, crystals etc..

    For meditation, there are many books and there is abundant guidance on Christian meditation. It is a great myth that only the Eastern traditions have meditation as part of the religious life. Silent contemplative prayer and meditation has been part of Christian life for a very long time. Lectio Divina may be a good place to start:

    http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/253799/1-What-is-Lectio-Divina.pdf
     
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  6. Achilles Smith

    Achilles Smith Member Anglican

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    I guess a few items would be ok, but be careful, sometimes those things open holes for spiritual attacks.
     
  7. DouayJamesGeneva

    DouayJamesGeneva Active Member

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    Since we're talking about Asian things....

    I grew up in a household where my parents were always wary of how magic or witchcraft was portrayed in our entertainment. It still carries over with me to this day, though I can accept it to an extent, it really depends on how it is portrayed or the philosophy behind it. C.S. Lewis was very particular about how magic was defined and illustrated as a power in his fantasy works.

    I do feel a little uncomfortable with the use of spells or certain kinds of summoning in certain role-playing games, but again, it depends.

    I liked Final Fantasy 10, which I played through at least once, but now I understand the game definitely has some gnostic ideas injected into its lore and storyline. The concept of Aeons, among other things, such as the conflicting view of reality portrayed in the game, is clearly owing to gnosticism and many suspect that the idea of the characters rebelling against a religious order is meant to be a jab at Christianity, though some say it could apply to any cult. You'd be surprised at how Japan, despite having a strong minority of Christians, references Christianity so much in their entertainment, some in a very sympathetic way and others in a brazenly antichrist fashion. As for the latter, it does not get more antichrist than the Shin Megami Tensei/Digital Devil Saga/Persona series, which has become surprisingly popular in the west these days, where it was previously banned in the past when video game censorship was stronger. The themes are overtly Satanic, and manage to do it in a sort of clever but entirely unwholesome way.

    Then again, I played another Japanese role-playing game called PoPoLoCrois that had some wholesome themes. One of the characters is a kind of witch (though portrayed more as a fairy) and the game has a lighthearted, sweet tone most of the time. Towards the end however, it becomes a lot more somber, and the final conflict has you delivering one deity's daughter from oppression, in which the characters at the end mention that even though it seemed hopeless and after all she had done, her father was going to do all he could to win her back, and a message of forgiveness was expressed at the end. I liked that, and found it quite appropriate. Most games made in the west could barely express this, being quite profane and atheistic now.

    In the classic game ActRaiser, you originally played as Lord God coming to earth to reclaim his kingdom from Satan. The religious references were removed in the US version because they felt it would be offensive. The original Japanese version had very overt Christian references. And at the end of it, after the world celebrates God's victory, they erect a statue in honor of him, and then it shows it decaying over time after they felt they no longer needed him and forgot about him once the earth was too prosperous. I am really surprised whenever I see this in Japanese entertainment. I sincerely wish they had kept it in the US version and not given in to political correctness, but it wasn't the first time. In the first Zelda, Link's 'magic book' was not a generic spell book in the original Japanese version, but a bible. Nintendo also made an obscure game called Devil World (again, not localized over here) that depicts a small dinosaur running through a pac-man maze controlled by the devil. He has to collect crosses which help him shoot fire at Satan's minions, and in other stages, must collect bibles and put them into slots to blow the devil's maze up.
     
  8. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely
     
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  9. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    Those games all sound very interesting.. I wonder why there are so little Christians in Japan despite popularization in video games and other media?
     
  10. DouayJamesGeneva

    DouayJamesGeneva Active Member

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    I ask the same thing. Some people say it's a fascination with western religion as a novelty in the same vein as when the Beatles got caught up in eastern religion. I also heard, regarding the movie Godzilla vs. Destroyah, that the film was originally titled "Godzilla vs. Satan" in its concept stages. Destroyah was supposed to be Satan (since he comes out of a volcano, which likely must've been hell in the early concepts). In the actual movie as it was released, Godzilla's son dies while his father is fighting Destroyah, although he ends up being revived at the end in a fully grown form. The creators were fascinated by Christianity and originally intended it to symbolize God giving his son to die for the world and then being resurrected. However, the Christian references were made less obvious when the movie went into production so it wouldn't offend people because of the religious themes (which was probably for marketing in the west and not for Japan itself, considering their idea of Christianity as a novelty). I find it all interesting considering it comes from such an unlikely franchise like Godzilla! :)
     
  11. neminem

    neminem Member

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    Jeremiah 17:10 "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve."

    Each person also needs to discern their own heart in such matters.

    After the Vietnam war there was a concern that many injured soldiers, receiving morphine, would become addicted to it. But this proved to be a false assumption. Research revealed that the mind of the injured recipients wanted morphine purely for the relief of pain. There was no thought about chasing a high. The difference in attitude and self proclaimed belief about the morphine became the deciding factor, to be addicted or not.
     
  12. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    Cool! I didn't know much of the beatles thing, so I looked it up and it said that George Harrison was the one most influenced by Hindu practices. The article I was reading also said that the song "My sweet Lord" was made to the glory of a specific hindu god. After hearing about the Japanese media, it's sad they don't take Christianity seriously. I wonder what would happen if I held a cross outside a Japanese abortion clinic and prayed.
     

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