84 , 2016-03 , Graduate School of Human Sciences
The Great East Japan Earthquake, an unprecedented calamity, has brought people together in dealing with a common issue and has helped form new bonds between them. Connections between people in society had been on the decline, but this caused a major change. Our fairytale about the safety of nuclear power plants collapsed,and the views and relationships that modern people have toward technology are fundamentally being called into question.In modern Japanese society, there are people who do not consider the act of helping others or other altruistic actions to be a form of self-sacrifice. These people feel a sense that we are all in this together, and they feel a spirit of reciprocity and a sense of solidarity. Religion has often gotten involved in assuaging hardships throughout our long history. Now the beliefs and lifestyles of these religious individuals are truly being put to the test.Most religions teach and practice altruism and warm-heartedness toward others. So it is possible that the sense of awe and the sense of gratitude that one feels toward being protected by God or Buddha humbles them and makes them respect the lives of others as they respect their own. Gratitude for assistance and the repayment of someone’s favor can motivate acts of compassion.This paper will outline religion, altruism and social capital, and exam the relationship between religions and social capital in civil society, and present a foundation for future research.