Religion For Dummies
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Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, emphasizes living with sincerity and virtue, possible only by an awareness of the divine. The fundamental beliefs in Shinto are the Four Affirmations (affirmations are positive declarations):

  • Tradition and the family: Understanding that family is the foundation for preserving traditions

  • Love of nature: Holding nature sacred

  • Ritual purity: Ritual bathing to spiritually and physically cleanse yourselves before entering a shrine to worship the kami. (In addition, festivals are held twice a year to drive out pollutants or impurities.)

  • Matsuri: Worshipping and honoring gods and ancestral spirits

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Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman host cable TV's The God Squad and appear frequently on Good Morning America and Imus in the Morning. They have written several children's books on religion.

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