Only Decentered Deities Bring Harmony and Wholeness to Our World

August 2, 2016 by Paul Louis Metzger 0 Comments

The conversation took an unexpected though welcome turn, like all really good dialogues: you never quite know where they will go. I had gone to Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan to interview Prof. Seung Chul Kim (Dr. Theol.). He is the Director of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, and Professor, Faculty of Arts & Letters, at Nanzan University. I asked Prof. Kim why he has dedicated so much of his energies to incorporating science into religious studies. Among various endeavors, he has recently overseen a Templeton grant project that involves incorporating science into religious studies courses of various religions in Japanese universities and high schools.

Drawing from Keiji Nishitani, Pierre Baldi and others, Prof. Kim discussed his implicit reason for his passion of incorporating science into religious studies: the need for decentering, including the self. He wants religion to go back to ground zero by way of negation through scientific scrutiny. The decentering of self is an essential ethical moment. Prof. Kim believes the decentering of humanity and the Christian story that occurred through science and the rise of world religions as a category can helpfully decenter the Christian West from hegemony.[1] He believes we all need such decentering—all countries, cultures, and religions, not simply the Western powers, but also Japan as well as South Korea, his homeland. Past cultural, military and religious conflicts in the Asian context involved a centered West and centered Shogun (and later Emperor), among others.



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