Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Japan, Religion in

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

Statistics here are as worthless as in the case of China. Practically all the better-educated Japanese are Agnostics, though they favour Buddhism or Shinto as useful for the masses. In 1871, three years after the country had been opened to the West, the Government sent a large mission to Europe to ascertain whether Christianity was of such a character that it would be useful to press it upon the Japanese people. Lafcadio Hearn and other writers quote its verdict, that Christianity had been "less efficacious as an ethical influence in the West than Buddhism had been in the East." These men, representing the professional and higher classes, discussed religions as coldly as locomotives. To the end of the century all writers, including the Christian missionaries Griffis, Munzinger, Lamairesse, etc., admitted that the Buddhist and Shinto priests, whose creeds were taken as lightly as in China, had so good an ethical influence that the average character was far higher than in Europe. The disbanding of the Samurai (mediaeval soldiery), in 1871, as part of the work of modernization, led to a change. The Samurai, who are still often represented in England as model soldiers, had brutal qualities, and they took these into the new army, journalism, etc. When a score of families grew very wealthy by the new industry and trade, they enlisted the service of these qualities, and the plan of vast conquests (really of vaster wealth) grew and spread. The Black Dragon and other (by 1934 more than 200, with millions of members) "patriotic" societies were founded, and the priests as well as the politicians were bribed and enlisted in the plot to conquer all Eastern Asia and Oceania. There were 150,000 Buddhist priests, and they sent missionaries with political aims as far as India. Great wealth was given to the Shinto and Buddhist Churches, and they made a big spurt and were organized on the model of the American Churches. This development was candidly, or cynically, described by several speakers (chiefly Prof. Pratt, the Japanese Prof. Kishinoto, and the Chinese Prof. Y. Y. Tsu) at the International Congress of Religions held at the University of Chicago in 1934. The speeches are in Modern Trends in World-Religions (1934) edited by A. E. Haydon. Buddhism then had, they estimated, 41,000,000 members and immense wealth, but as a religion it was "merely formal" and was wholly prostituted to the political aim. Prof. Armstrong, who taught in Japan, says that the great majority of the Buddhist priests were sceptics, and quotes Baron Kato, President of Tokio University, describing them as "rotten." Prof. O'Conroy (The Menace of Japan, 1933), who had an intimate knowledge of Japan, says that the better Buddhist priests told him that 70 to 80 per cent. of their body were corrupt, and describes the exposure in 1928 of a large monastery of strict repute near Tokio which was found to be indescribably corrupt and worse than the sodomist monasteries of Germany (p. 87). America and Great Britain took no more notice of this plain warning than of a hundred others. The only European body to be impressed by it was the Vatican, which at once joined the Japanese (or Axis) conspiracy. An article (apparently by a French priest) in the Catholic Revue des Deux Mondes, January 15, 1935, boasted of the Pope's cleverness. The alliance began after the annexation of Manchuria, which the late Pope effectually blessed by at once appointing Catholic officials to co-operate with the Japanese. It was then arranged that Japan be diplomatically represented at the Vatican and the Pope at Tokio. Since then, says the Catholic writer, "no Japanese prince or mission ever passes through Rome without paying its homage to the Sovereign Pontiff." On October 20, 1937, an article by "Pegler" syndicated in the American Press caused a sensation, and aroused great anger and consternation among Catholics, by confirming these facts; and "Pegler," in reply, admitted that the facts were obtained by bribery from officials of the Vatican Press Bureau, winch is, he said, one of the most venal in the world. When the world-influence of religion and the social need to restore it are discussed it is well to remember this prostitution of Roman Catholicism and Buddhism.


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