Koreans and religion
For the Far East, the reputation of the region, whose peoples are very indifferent to religious issues. The Chinese and the Japanese most really do not tend to take religion seriously, and that they differ from residents and Christian Europe, and the Muslim Middle East. However, Korea is largely an exception to this general rule. The religious activity of the Koreans (more precisely, Korean Christians) is striking to all visitors to this country, in recent decades has become the only Writer country of the Far East.
According to official statistics, unbelievers amount to 46% among the Korean population; Buddhists 27%; Protestants 18.6%; Catholics 5.7%; Confucians and representatives of other religions – 1%. Thus, statistics argue that Christians and today form the minority of the Korean population. However, these figures are largely distorted by the real state of affairs, and modern Korea is a Christian (Protestant-Catholic) country. In statistics, the most important thing is not reflected – the religious diligence of representatives of different denominations, how seriously they take their beliefs.
Christianity penetrated Korea in the XVIII century and, despite the prohibitions and persecution, fixed in the country. The last decades have become the time of rapid Christianization. In 1940, Christians made up only 2.2% of the total population of the country. By 1972. They were already 12.8%, and in 1990 – 23.2%. One of the most unexpected impressions for most Russians who came to South Korea for the first time, the abundance of Christian-chramms becomes. The vast majority of Russians can not imagine a country "East" (The term is extremely unsuccessful, but deeply rooted in the mass consciousness), in which Christianity is if not dominant, then, in any case, the most active religion. Russians are sure that Korea, so to speak, "must be" Buddhist, and, meanwhile, the predominance of Christianity in the country is obvious.
I must say that statistics at a more attentive review confirms that Christianity is in Korea the most active and influential religion. Firstly, the younger man, the greater the likelihood that he will be a Christian. If in the whole country in 1991. Buddhists accounted for 51.2% of believers, and Christians – 45%, and the same year, among believers between the ages of 20 and 29, Buddhists were 40.2%, and Christians – 56.8%. Secondly, the higher the level of education and the social status of Korean, the more, more likely that he professes Christianity. For example, in December 1994. (I have no later data) from 22 Cabinet 11 ministers were Protestants, 4 – Catholics, 6 – atheists, and only one – Buddhists.
Interesting and survey results, during which believers asked the question of how often they are visiting the religious service. The results of this survey speak themselves for themselves. MORE HALF (54.2%) Buddhists visited religious ceremonies "once a year and less", And only 17.2% of all those who considered themselves Buddhists were more often in temples than once a month. On the other hand, more than two thirds of Christians (76.1% of Protestants and 67.2% of Catholics) attended temples "once a week and more".
The number of churches in Korean cities and towns amazes. You can hardly find the village of hundreds of houses now, in which there would be no at least one church. Crosses installed on the roofs of churches or buildings in which one or another parish takes off the room, rushing into the eyes with the most fluent look at any Korean city. Especially impressive it looks like a spectacle at night, when the crosses are glowing with a red neon flame. Amazing activity of Christian preachers. Middle-aged man, in a suit and tie, with the Bible in his hand, who vote, overlapping the wheels, calls on all the passengers of the train electric train to repent in sins and believe in Christ – the phenomenon is so common that they are even somewhat surprised when for a whole day, full of trips On the urban train, never faced with any of these preachers. As much as ordinary groups of young people who have religious songs at the subway entrance, accompanying themselves on the guitar.
As a result, there is nothing surprising in the fact that the number of Christians in Korea is growing rapidly, while the number of supporters of others, including traditional religions for Korea – decreases. In recent years, Korean missionaries have become actively acting in Russia. I must say that many of the Russians often doubt "And they are real, they say, they are Christians?" In this doubt, with whom I have repeatedly faced, there is a dramatic confidence that, they say, only the European may be a Christian. Every, of course, it happens, and among the Korean preachers operating in Russia there are charlatans, but most of them are quite ordinary American sample Protestants.