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–“In a discussion of Japanese religious psychology, Brendan Branley, a Maryknoll missionary to Japan, has noted that “essentially, there is a heightened consciousness of their identity as a distinct people, of their membership in a group whose purposes they are willing to serve at the expense of their own.”
This observation is supported by Robert BelSah’s analysis
of the relationship between Japanese religion and economic development. Bellah describes the enduring notion of kokutai, which arose during the Tokugawa Period (1600-1868) as “a concept of the state in which religious, political and familistic ideas are indissolubly merged.”39 Jesuit missionaries to China in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were similarly confronted with a high level of organic unity that was expressed through ancestor and emperor worship.
A strong sense of social unity and collective security also prevailed among the Germanic peoples in the early Middle Ages. Although they may have been less culturally sophisticated than the contemporary Japanese, like them, the Germanic peoples did not have immediate social or spiritual needs which Christianity might fulfill. Also, the homogeneity of early medieval Germanic society, like that of contemporary Japan, did not predispose it to the Christian message. Christianity tends to flourish in heterogeneous societies in which there exist high levels of anomie, or social destabilization. Since the relationship of social structure to ideological structure and religious expression will play a significant role in this inquiry, a brief discussion of fundamental concepts is presented here.
Similarly, the Anglo-Saxon missionaries did not emphasize the central soteriological and eschatological aspects of Christianity. Instead, seeking to appeal to the Germanic regard for power, they tended to emphasize the omnipotence of the Christian God and the temporal rewards he would bestow upon those who accepted him through baptism and through conformity to the discipline of his Church.52 Other medieval advocates of Christianity, such as the authors of the Heliand53 and The Dream of the Rood,54 apparently sought to appeal to the Germanic ethos and world-view by portraying Christ as a warrior lord.”—
from The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity by James Russell