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The Nuclear Power Plant as God

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Abstract

There is a theological meaning to the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plants. I can clarify this meaning through a sociological investigation of the significance of nuclear power in post-war Japan. First, as preparation, I will compare the ideology of Christ to that of John the Baptist. Christ thought that we had already arrived at the Kingdom of God. This idea led to the activist aspect of Christ. Second, I will show that nuclear power was considered as a key for the gate to the Kingdom of God in Japan. We can distinguish three stages in Japan's post-war period: the ideal, the fictive and the impossible. It was nuclear power that embodied the ideal during the first era. Third, I will explain how the Japanese fascination with nuclear power has been compatible with Japanese aversion toward it. For the Japanese, the nuclear power plant seemed to be like non-alcoholic beer. In the fourth and fifth parts, I will prove that the nuclear disaster implies a message equivalent to Christ's announcement. Theodicy is an answer to the question of irrational misfortune in a world created by God. However the Book of Job as ultimate theodicy shows paradoxically the incompetence of God. This situation is similar to the disaster at Fukushima, which demonstrated the incompetence of nuclear power (as God). The distance between Job and Christ is short, because if God plays the role of Job himself, it becomes Christ. We will explain why Christ's message can be a call for revolutionary social movement.

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