Naganuma Muneyoshi (1635-1690), was a Japanese neo-Confucian and military scientist of the Koshu or Takeda school. He had this to say about faith and service.
Faith is critical to both culture and warfare. Without faith, humaneness is a mere expedient, courtesy degenerates into flattery, intelligence is decorated with deception, duty serves adventurism, and bravery deteriorates into violence and depredation. None of these are virtues.
If a knight has faith, then in times of peace he can assist the process of civilization, while in times of disturbance he can eliminate what injures the people. Then he is able to be a protector of the nation.
Knights keep their discipline to the death. Those whose aim is justice are best; those whose aim is honor is lesser. The custom of knights in Japan is to be extremely desirous of honor, so there are those who mistakenly think the desire for honor is itself justice. All in all, to carry out justice and thus achieve honor is good, while to perform exploits hoping to get honored is lowly. Even more so is aspiring only to get paid-even if you perform feats in battle, you are not worthy of being considered a knight.
The section on faith seems to echo my previous post on fact and faith. A Tokugawa Japanese man’s definition of “faith” is most likely different from any Christian or other Western flavoring of the word, and that kind of supports what I was trying to say in my own post. “Faith”…as much as the atheist may like to pigeonhole it…doesn’t necessarily have to come with a denomination or a fundamentalist worldview. Faith has to do with believing in the things worth believing in. If you want to believe in a world where honor, courage, justice and love are nothing but chemical reactions in the brain…have at it. I choose to believe otherwise and would rather live out my time on this earth in that sort of world. That doesn’t mean that I reject science by any means. That is the typical rebuttal…”you are a Luddite who still believes in a geocentric universe”…uhhh. No. Just as science is constantly discovering that there is more to existence than we previously thought, I believe that there is more to life and it’s meaning than science can prove. If the knight chooses to believe in expediency, flattery and deception in order to serve his own self interest, because that is how he thinks the world works, that is due to how he CHOOSES to see the world. What sort of knight would you aspire to be?
The last part, the part about aspiring only to get paid, that sort of spoke to me. It made me think of the reasons people serve, in particular within my chosen profession of law enforcement. I have to be honest, I have a family and I couldn’t do this job for minimum wage. The money and the benefits were a major factor as was the status and “honor” of the profession. However, Muneyoshi said “aspiring ONLY to get paid” and I think that is the key. Money and honor are far from the ONLY reason that I love my work, but there are, unfortunately, some people within the ranks who seem to look at the job as ONLY that…a job. I, like Muneyoshi, believe that they are not worthy of being considered “Knights”.