He was still trying to sift Tyrer’s information into perspective, along with the astonishing sight of all these grown men, and two revolting-looking women, singing in unison, getting up, sitting down, solemnly droning out prayers, bowing their heads to their very strange God who, after the service, Tyrer had explained was actually three people, the Father, his Son who was crucified like a common criminal, and a kami. “So ka?” Hiraga had said perplexed. “So, Taira-san, woman name Madonna who not God has son God—but she not God—and she pillow with kami who not God but like hatomoto of God with wing who not husband, husband also not God, but father is, so father of her son is grandfather, neh?”
“No, there was no pillowing. You see . . . “
Again he listened, eventually pretending to understand so he could question Taira about the enmity of the two churches. And when, head aching from concentration, he had discovered the reason for the schism—and the resulting scale of hatred and mass killings and universal wars—he knew for certain in some areas gai-jin were totally mad: the split was only because an old bonze called Luther, three hundred-odd years before, had decided on a different interpretation of some minor point of dogma that had been invented by another bonze fourteen or fifteen centuries before him. This man, clearly another lunatic, had decreed, amongst other things, that poverty was to be sought, and no pillowing with women would, after death, send you forever to somewhere called Heaven, where there was no sake, no food and no women, and you were a bird.
Barbarians are beyond belief. Who would want to go to such a place? Anyone could see at once that old bonze was like any other ambitious, disgruntled fool who, after a lifetime of pretending to be chaste, just wanted to have a wife or concubine openly like any ordinary sensible bonze or person.
—James Clavell, Gai-Jin