Religious Groups in South Korea Essay

Published: 2020-02-23 10:51:34
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Category: Korea

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As mentioned above, the two most dominant religions in South Korea are Buddhism and Christianity. However, many South Koreans do not practice one religion and they usually integrate various religious beliefs (Peterson, n. d). Confucianism is quite popular in Korean society compared to any organized religion. It originated from China as early as 2,000 years ago. Its philosophies are integrated in the morals and society of South Korea. It can be seen in practices like prioritizing education and respecting elders (Peterson, n.

d). Mahayana Buddhism originated from India through China during the 4th century. It was recognized by successive Korean kingdoms as its official religion from 500 AD until 1392. It is prominent all over South Korea and there are a lot of Buddhist monasteries and temples (Peterson, n. d). Daoism, or Tog-yo in Korean, is a mystical religion practiced in China about the same time in Buddhism. Its principles of harmony, purity, and longevity are evident in the culture of South Korea (Peterson, n.

d). It was only 1882 that Christian missionaries began to flourish in South Korea. Since the 1950s, Christian denominations rapidly increased and today South Korea is the biggest Christian nation in East Asia. Seventy-five percent of Christians in South Korea are Protestants and the remaining are Roman Catholics (Peterson, n. d). New religions also sprouted in South Korea. Majority of them are syncretic, which means that they have the ability to merge with different religious beliefs.

The most prevalent among these beliefs is the Unification Church established by Sun Myung Moon in 1954. Chondogyo blends aspects of Confucianism, Daoism, Shamanism, Christianity, and Buddhism (Peterson, n. d). Korean shamanism traces its origins from the ancient communities of northeastern Asia. Grounded on animism, shamanism places emphasis on healing performance and divination ceremonies. Although not an organized belief system, South Koreans seek the advice of shamans when suffering from illnesses or other challenges (Peterson, n. d).

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