I came back but the world is still a fantasy!? – School Field Trip Arc – Act 1: This Is What Happens When I Go on a Trip – 04-60: The True Nature of Earthlings (3/3)

“So basically, an idol to distract from the anxiety of everyday yet insurmountable problems?” Frire said.

“So people praying to their gods to flee or relieve their anxiety through enlightenment is religion?” Myuhi said.

“Myuhi-san, the way you put it makes it sound like psychotherapy catered for the masses,” Aristel said.

Aristel pointed out how loose Myuhi’s analogy was, drawing a chuckle from Shinichi as he nodded.

“Fu fu, that’s an interesting way to put it. Religion might have that side to it as well. But I think it’s better looked at as a religious system meant to educate and control the population. As to whether it functions well or not would depend on the era and location, however.”

“…So blunt.”

Myuhi was taken aback by that.

If one were to look up religion and gods, plenty of history, concepts, and philosophical results would appear.

However, Shinichi’s opinion was void of anything mystique and was concerned solely with the practical.

That might have been because the Garestonians didn’t see the value in such things, but Myuhi felt that that was actually his own take.

“…Anyway, the Earthlings ended up with those sort of ‘gods’. To believe that there are existences in this world with powers beyond their own control… That kind of thinking is just too convenient… Whether it’s to cling to such an existence or as an excuse to give up.”

There’s an existence like that, so it’s okay to give up.

This ordeal was brought about by an existence like that, so nothing can be done.

Relief brought by such thinking was never permanent, but there were times when it’s necessary.

“And since the Earthlings ended up with it, they can’t just ignore it. The ‘gods’ have grown too big for people to ignore or disregard. After all, they are existences to cling to… However, it’s also true that no one has any actual depictions of them. Because no one’s met them.”

It might be an exaggeration, but all Earthlings generally know about the concept of ‘gods’.

Naturally, that would lead to the question of, ‘what are gods?’ To which, countless different answers would come. Regardless of the truth, only an exceedingly small portion of the Earthlings have heard the voice of or met these so-called ‘gods’.

Aristel became thoughtful, then said.

“…Is that why the Earthlings put together those common yet uncommon concepts to create a comprehensible system? To control the people?”

“As someone from a country that’s able to function despite having all sorts of gods, I feel that’s a bit off, but regardless, the rulers would be troubled if their people ended up looking in the wrong direction.”

Shinichi said that casually, but it was enough to draw out a voice of agreement from Aristel.

Indeed, she couldn’t imagine controlling a situation like that.

“So it was more convenient to just unite the people? The gods that served as the mental support of the people and religion that worshiped it?”

“Well, I can’t say for sure if that was their initial objective, but it’s human nature to make use(・・・・) of ‘what’s there’. It hardly matters whether the people themselves genuinely believe or not. Wanting to be close to their gods, wanting to be seen as a good person, wanting to save everyone, wanting to be happy, wanting to make money, wanting to become popular, wanting to go to heaven… It’s all the same. If someone prays even a little, then it’s all the same(・・・・). I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though.”

But even as he said that, the smile that surfaced on him was ‘evil’.

Evidently, he had gone out of his way to choose words that could be interpreted poorly.

When he noticed everyone other than Aristel looking at him in dismay, that smile deepened.

“Good grief… So, what’s this religious system you’re talking about?”

“As Alice said, religions differ from one another, but there is usually nothing wrong with the teachings themselves. Rather, they teach about human nature, or make us think about life and death. In a sense, they fill the parts that normal education doesn’t cover. For example, most Japanese would mourn the dead with their hands put together. This is true even if they’re not Buddhists. That is because it’s already normal(・・・・OP) for the dead to be mourned in this way.”

“So even if not everyone believes, the teachings will spread and become common sense. I see, that’s why it’s called a religious system.”

“Of course, ideas and rituals unacceptable in society ought to be controlled, but it’s definitely a good thing to have to instill some degree of humanity in people. Of course, it could prove problematic when it goes too far, but that’s true anywhere, right?”

No one argued against that.

It was common sense that anything taken too far would be problematic.

These girls knew that all too well, though their standings and reason might differ.

“In other words, you don’t care what the initial motives were. The only thing that matters is that right now religion and gods are being used to control and provide relief to people,” Frire said.

“And since the Earthlings already possessed the concept of gods, it was better to have a religious system than not,” Myuhi said.

“That’s how it is, but… My opinion is actually more negative. We can’t get rid of it, so we might as well make the most out of it. It’s already so rooted in our culture that trying to deny it would just cause more bloodshed. It’s really troublesome,” Shinichi lamented and laughed.

Should the humans be pitied for going through so much just to have their gods and religion to cling to?

Should those who would take up arms to fight for their beliefs be scorned?

“If it can’t be eliminated and has a certain value, does that mean that religious wars are, at best, a necessary evil?” Myuhi asked.

Even though religion and gods could cause wars, they have become too ingrained to be removed, so their merits could only be acknowledged, and their demerits be tolerated.

Shinichi shook his head.

“I don’t think that’s exactly correct. Religion might be used to justify, but it’s hard to believe that it’s the cause itself. Odds are that when such wars break out, a war would have broken out anyway. Religion itself isn’t evil. What’s evil are the people that can use it as a reason to hurt others or make others hurt others. And those that can’t accept other viewpoints would eventually take another person’s life no matter how just their teachings are.”

But that was no longer a problem of religion, but a problem of a person’s disposition.

On a national scale, that would be a politician taking advantage of religion.

On an individual scale, that would be a person’s problems going out of control.

“That’s why wars and such actually have nothing to do with religion, but a different question pertaining to why people hurt each other, to which, I don’t have an answer to.”

Religion could be a justification but never the cause. The cause was a responsibility that would always fall onto the people behind the war.

As Shinichi drank his tea, it was evident from his attitude that he no longer felt like talking about ‘conflicts’.

He was thirsty after talking so much, but it was also a good time to stop.

“That’s kinda… Unexpected. I thought for sure you’d say that the gods don’t exist or that religion is meaningless. Your tone is negative, but aren’t you actually covering for them?” Myuhi said.

“…It can’t be helped. I like neither, but gods do exist and religions are necessary.”

He didn’t like them, but they were necessary, so he would cover for them to some extent.

Shinichi told them with a reluctant face.

When he revealed his dislike for them, Myuhi seemed to understand and nodded.

“So, it’s the people that take advantage of religion that are the problem. That or the ones that take it too far,” Myuhi said.

“But now that I put it into words like this, it’s unexpectedly terrifying,” Shinichi said.

“Huh?”

“How many gods and Buddhas have the Earthlings worshiped throughout history? At times they would shackle themselves, at times they would take up arms, and at times, they would sheathe their blades. They would use them for education, use them for control, use them as a justification, they would even use them for the peace of their everyday life… If the gods had labor laws, they would definitely rise up in protest.”

The way he said that seemed both amused and disrespectful.

He seemed to be saying that the Earthlings have imposed too much on the gods, but at the same time, he seemed to also be saying that they should work them even harder.

Then he laughed and said, “When you think about it─────There’s no other species that abuses the gods as much as the humans.”

But there was a lack of emotion in his voice as though this were a matter that concerned him not.

Indeed, his was an extreme viewpoint just as he claimed at the start.

It was also true that the end result was the same regardless of the feelings involved.

Perhaps that’s the reason why… Someone’s breath quietly resounded in the train.

Earthlings were creatures that created a being greater than them, only to work them to the bone.

“…It’s certainly terrifying when you look at it that way.”

Frire said despite the unspeakable awe she felt,

leading Shinichi to laugh softly.

“Fu fu fu fu.”

“…What a nasty laugh,” Myuhi said.

But as soft as that laughter may be, when it was Shinichi who was doing it, the image he engendered was the exact opposite.

“What’s so funny?” Frire asked.

“I mean… You Garestonians might not have a religion, but you certainly have your gods. There’s a particular group that fits the definition, right?”

“Huh?”

Shinichi’s definition of a god was a device that would allow people to impose their problems onto or allow them to give up.

At times, these gods would be relied upon to bring them relief, and at times, they would stand up for them.

“…Surely not…”

Aristel muttered, shocked. Indeed, she was as wise as he thought.

It wasn’t a perfect match, but there was one thing that fit the bill.

“What are you trying to say, Nakamura?” Frire said.

“The gods of the Garestonians that allow them to keep the populace under control and the impossible problem that is the raybeasts anchored.”

“…Ah!”

“…Ah!”

Frire and Myuhi were speechless.

There was no one here who failed to see his point. After all, this was something directly related to them.

The warriors of Garesto would stand up for the people to fight the raybeasts, and they were the nobles that led those warriors. Perhaps, it was an exaggeration to call them gods; however, there was no doubt that they fit Shinichi’s own description of a god.

“You should be careful. Even if the people themselves don’t mean to, you’re standing at just the right spot, so… Do take care – not to get crushed.” It was curious if Shinichi was worried or anxious, but the sight of the bewildered girls drew out another round of laughter from him.

Eerily enough, he was just like an evil existence(evil god), one that beguiled the human mind.

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