“But if that’s the case, then won’t Kyoto even be worse? There’s a lot of places like that there…” Aristel said.
“Yeah, so I’ll be avoiding those. Unlike Nara, we’re free to move in Kyoto, after all. There’s a place I want to visit as well, so I’ll be going there with
,” Shinichi said.
“I see. That’s too bad. I was hoping to tour Kyoto with you, but if you have your own plans, then it can’t be helped,” Aristel said.
She didn’t pester Shinichi to take her along, but it was evident from her voice how disappointed she was.
They could still happen into each other if they visited the same place, but she’s already promised to go with some other students to visit the places where that was likely to happen.
“But if that’s the case, then I might as well drag Ortho’s group with me.”
She’d been wondering what to do with her problematic servants, but with the situation like this, she figured she might as well take them along on top of keeping them quiet and turn this trip into an educational one for them.
As expected, it was much better to have them somewhere she could see them.
“Now that I think about it, Kyoto certainly has a lot of places like that. Just the fact that the old townscape is still around is already plenty amazing for us, but there are even places with so much historical value. What’s even more amazing is that Kyoto doesn’t actually rank at the top when it comes to the number of temples.”
“So it really is strange to a Garestonian, huh.”
“Yes. The fact that you were able to maintain the old townscape is proof that you don’t have any external enemies. But buildings like shrines and temples lasting for a long time and continuously being maintained is not something a Garestonian would easily be able to understand. We can’t understand their value, after all.”
That was not something that Aristel would normally say out loud, but none of the other Garestonians objected, and Shinichi himself didn’t seem to care.
“If I recall correctly, Garesto
There were no concepts of religion or anything similar in Garesto.
There were those from Earth who would question why that was, but from Garesto’s perspective, it was the other way around.
“To be more precise, we don’t have any concept surrounding gods. The Garestonian perspective would be that if someone had the free time to pray, then they would be better off working. That’s why all the missionary efforts from Earth so far have failed. They’re still doing their best, though, so at least they’re passionate,” Myuhi laughed.
They did manage to take root, however, though mostly for the Earthlings that were there.
In any case, that’s the reason why Shinto, Buddhism, and other religious matters appeared mysterious to the Garestonians.
It was something unique to Earth, and because they couldn’t understand its value, they would tilt their heads and question why it existed.
“We’re only saying this because you asked, but we, Garestonians, have been told not to broach the topic in the academy. It’s a sensitive topic to Earthlings, apparently, so even if we had to broach the topic, we were asked not to lean on any one side.”
For various reasons, most of the students in Garesto Academy came from Japan.
The students were relatively tolerant of a wide variety of religions legally and culturally, so religious problems were a rare issue.
However, such problems did still occur, and while one might be led to think that the number of occurrences was small considering how many students there were from all over the world. Given the age of the students and how few zealous believers there were that would waste time to pass the narrow gate to enter the school, it was actually surprising that such problems still occurred.
“I have witnessed several such conflicts, and they were quite unique. Indeed, it is an area we have no understanding of and really isn’t something we should interfere in,” Aristel said.
“That’s fine for students like you, Padyuel, but I’m a teacher, so depending on how serious the conflict is, I have to interfere. Unfortunately, it really is difficult,” Frire said.
They were both troubled and seemed at a loss.
The girls had their own doubts about religion, but they accepted it as part of Earth’s culture, however their expression suggested that that might not be the case for the other Garestonian teachers and students.
Evidently, religious conflicts would rise when a world foreign to the very concept is introduced, and people like these girls, who would try to understand the concept through intuition, were rare.
It might’ve been because of that, and most likely also because they trusted him, that they asked him that question.
“Say, Nakamura, you’re the only Earthling here, so can you explain to us? In the end, what are gods and religions to you Earthlings?”
From the way Frire asked that to Shinichi with a tired expression, it seemed that while such problems weren’t an issue, the school still had to deal them quite a bit.
“What a terribly simple yet frighteningly difficult topic to bring up. I doubt you could find an Earthling that could define it so simply. But of all people, you really just had to ask
The difficulty and sensitivity of the question made Shinichi frown as well.
There were definitely people that could talk about their own gods and religion, but if one wanted to know about it as a concept overall, the answer would vary depending on if it was a religious figure, a historian, or a researcher being asked.
“We understand it’s difficult, but I too would like to know. Considering what’s to come, I can’t remain ignorant and unrelated forever. Just tell us what you think,” Aristel said.
As someone who would eventually succeed her family’s territory and considering their relationship with Earth, Aristel wanted to deepen her understanding on the subject if only a little.
That was also why she’d planned to visit many historical places during this trip.
“…How much do you know right now?”
“Let’s see… I studied up on it, and I can see that there’s definitely some merit to it. They teach how people ought to live and try to foster a heart averse to immorality.”
That was one of the boons brought by religion, but the Garestonians didn’t require it because of the presence of an external enemy that forced them to naturally learn such things.
But in a world with no foes, religion was needed to disseminate such teachings.
“I’ve also heard that wars have broken out due to the differences in religions and gods, and that conflicts between people could basically be summed up as conflicts in religion, so many of us wonder why the Earthlings don’t just do away with it if it’s such a problem.”
Of course, she knew that wasn’t possible. She was just expressing what most Garestonians thought.
It is true that not all religious wars were caused by religion, but it was definitely used as a justification.
“Just being able to understand that much is plenty good already, but I suppose that’s still not enough for someone in your position.”
Aristel nodded and Frire made a difficult face.
As a teacher and as another successor to her house, she could probably imagine how a shallow understanding of religion could cause her problems in the future.
Shinichi also understood how difficult it was to grasp the common sense and concepts that existed only in a foreign world.
That was something he himself knew as an otherworlder that drifted off to another world then returned.
“Alright, I’ll talk, but just remember – this is only my own opinion. Moreover, one that’s fairly extreme. It’s the kind that’s bound to get you all sort of objections.”
“Yes, of course,” Aristel said.
“I got it,” Frire said.
When the two of them nodded, Shinichi nodded as well.
It was curious whether they were nodding to the first half of what he said or the latter, but regardless, Shinichi started talking.
Myuhi seemed as though she was more interested in his own take than religion, however.
“Alright, let’s start from the Earth God. Simply put, it’s a device humans came up with so they could leave to it whatever they can’t control, an impassable wall that allows them to give up.”
“Uwaah, so blunt right off the bat. As expected of you, Icchi.”
Shinichi frowned when Myuhi said that.
He found it hard to accept emotionally, but if he asked her how exactly it was ‘as expected of him,’ he felt like she’d struggle to provide an answer more so than if he asked her about religion.
“Any person would happen into a few major problems in their life. An all-powerful all-knowing god that one could cling to is definitely good for the peace of one’s mind.”
“Is that the God of Earth?” Frire asked.
“I’m not sure how it was at first, it’s too complicated, but from natural phenomena to the birth and death of living things, to the after life, to fortune and misfortune, to talent, to one’s relationships… There are many problems ranging from those concerning an individual to those concerning the entirety of the human race that’s just outside of one’s control. When it comes to such matters, it’s just too difficult for humans to face them without having a safe place to retreat to.”
That’s why they needed an existence that would allow them to come to terms regardless of their own objectives.
That might be why the concept of god was created.
In that regard, all religions were the same.