The purpose of this thesis is to clarify how people who belong to the Oomoto, a Japanese New religious movement, have interpreted the doctrine advocated by the religion’s founder, taking into consideration the mechanics of Japanese society and religious communities. Leaders of the Oomoto consistently desired to communicate their religious doctrine to the rest of society as well as to explain its context. While attempting to absolve myself from any kind of bias, I pay attention to the existing academic research in order to explain the nature of“ doctrine” which was invisible.
This paper focuses on the concept of “theodicy” by Masahisa Goi, the founder of the new Japanese religious group Byakko Shinkokai. Although many “theodicies” have been expressed in different contexts previously, I would like to especially pick up the “theodicies” of Max Weber and Masahisa Goi. Max Weber defined his concept of“ theodicy of sufferings” as of three different types: Zoroastrian dualism, the Calvinist understanding of the hidden God, and the Indian doctrine of karma.
Comparing Weber’s concept with Goi’s interpretation of hardship, a similarity between their views is seen. In brief, their idea about karma is particularly similar, though there are some differences with regard to its explanation. Goi says that suffering is a result of karma from past lives; however, this karma fades away through suffering in the present life. Goi even considered death of the flesh in a positive manner. According to his doctrine, which includes the idea of a spiritual world, the spirit that is purified through suffering will ascend to a higher spiritual world. As a result, suffering does not translate to complete despair. With this in mind, I consider the views of Masahisa Goi’s “theodicy” to be unique in his understanding of the concept.