On Niijima Jo's Separation of Church and State

Makoto Myoraku

  There has existed a common understanding that Niijima's view of civilization was the same as the Puritan's view of New England in the nineteenth century.

  But, after an educational inspection in Europe, Niijima came to recognize that there existed a long suffering history of English people to extend their economical and political rights. It originated from a learning community appearing in universities founded freely from the worldly authorities in the Middle Ages, and that people under the influences of Catholicism or other heathen religions independently were trying to "civilize" them. And, under these views of civilization, he acquired his new salvation theory that God's love is open to all individuals and nations on Earth.

  Unity of church and state is harmful in promoting people's spirit of self-government and consciousness of rights, and to accepting God independently. People choosing to believe in God are only blessed when they choose him voluntarily out of many gods in the world. For these reasons, he parted from his old thinking of unity of church and state. And his new theory of separation of church and state was also intended to criticize the worldly and authoritative tendencies emerging in the Protestant church around him in the nineteenth century.