Non-traditional religious cults
In addition to recently penetrated Korea, but rapidly growing Christianity and traditional "Religious Triad" (Confucianism, Shamanism, Buddhism), in modern Korea there are a number of non-traditional cults that have arisen in the last century. Unlike the West and Japan, the share of supporters of these cults in Korea is small, but they still exist, and it would be nice to tell about them.
The spread of new cults began in the second half of the last century. It was a natural reaction to the crisis of traditional Korean society, on the disintegration of the public structure that existed not one century. Old religions, first of all – Buddhism and Confucianism (if the latter can be called a religion at all), by the end of the XIX century they turned out to be discredited, because in the eyes of many Koreans they were responsible for the difficult situation in which the country came then. Christianity also, despite all his successes, was inappropriate for most Koreans. He was perceived as an alien teaching and, worse than an instrument of foreign penetration. Therefore, appeal to unconventional sects, the ideology of which in most cases was based on the heretical interpretation of Buddhism, was quite explained and logical.
According to the approximate estimates of Korean sociologists, now in Korea there are approximately 300 non-traditional religious sects. For the most part – these are small groups that are rarely managed to survive their founder. Of the 108 largest sects 35 appeared until 1945. and 75 – after liberation. 1950s. With their political instability, war and universal poverty were the time of the new heyday of the Korean sectarianism and non-traditional religiosity. In those days, sects based numerous self-stocked prophets occurred in a huge number. Since people lived hardly, and most of the more traditional religions turned out to be discredited, the prophets of all the masters easily found a favorable audience. By the way, a similar splash of non-traditional religiosity occurred then in Japan. However, in Korea, in contrast to its Eastern neighbor, distribution "new sects" The wave of mass treatment of Koreans in quite traditional, Protestant or Catholic, Christianity was suspended. After 1970. largely managed to fix his position and return the popularity and Buddhism. Therefore, the most numerous are still the old sects that have arisen long before 1945. and managed to get enough effect before the start of a mass Christianization.
The oldest, most common and most authoritative of all these cults is Chhondog ("Religion of the Heavenly Path"). The history of this religious system dates back to the middle of the XIX century, when Catholicism began to actively penetrate in Korea. Under the influence of Christian ideas and, at the same time, in the controversy with them, in the early 1860s. the ruined nobleman chkve zheh y created his religious system that is opposed to "Western teaching" (Catholicism) he called "Eastern teaching" (Tyhak). The system of Talkhak combined the elements of Christianity (monotheism, developed ethical teachings) with traditional Far Eastern ideas and values that the creator of this religion borrowed from Confucianism and Buddhism.
SHVE ZHE himself examined his system as a kind of ideological answer to alien and heretical Christianity, but the authorities, then actively chased Christians, did not understand the theologian subtleties. Chhel Zhe I was executed by the authorities on charges of propaganda "Amoral Christian ideas", the distribution of which he so wanted to suspend. However, his teaching survived and, despite all the persecution, continued to strengthen its influence. At the end of the XIX century, the teachings of Talkhak became the ideology of the largest in the Korean history of the peasant uprising. The uprising ended in the same way, the peasant performances were erected: it was suppressed, and his instigators were executed. Suppression of the uprising, however, did not mean the defeat of the actual religious organization Tychak. In his new form, called name "The teachings of the heavenly path" (Chondog), it continued to attract new supporters to himself and often played an important role in the organization of Antiappon performances. In addition to Chhondog, there is in Korea and others, much smaller, religious sects, which also continue the traditions of Tychak, but in other interpretation.
In the colonial era, Chhondog was perceived by many as the only true national religion, which a lot contributed to the popularity of this teaching. However, soon after the end of World War II, this teaching turned out to be moved to the background. Chhondog could not oppose the financial capabilities and organizational experience of Christian preachers and the number of supporters of this creed began to quickly decline. After the war in South Korea, there were about 400 thousand families of supporters of this faith, now they are about four times less, while the population of the country during this time almost tripled.
In addition to Chondog, there are a number of rather exotic local cultures of the most different orientation in Korea. Some of them are simply variations on the theme of Christianity or, less often, Buddhism, others are frankly nationalistic and claim to be "True Korean religion".
Another "New religion", which was able to turn into a rather noticeable feature of Korean religious life, became vonbuddism. Vaughn Buddhism appeared in 1916. As a synthetic religion, in general, based on the principles of Buddhism, but in many ways a very far away from his original source. The creator of Won-Buddhism Pak Chun Bean was a kind of "Luther Korean Buddhism", But it sought to clean the Buddhism from idolatry, turn it into the religion of asceticism and abstract philosophy. However, serious support in nor in Korea, nor outside of its limits, these reform efforts found. In addition to Won-Buddhism, there are several dozen small sects in Korea, which in one degree or another use Buddhist terminology and symbolism, but the creed of which is so different from orthodox Buddhism, what to consider their Buddhist hardly possible.
Today, perhaps the most dynamic of all new religions is Chinsang ("The teachings of Chin Sana"). Chin San – Advinc by the wandering preacher Kan Ile Suna (1871-1909). At the beginning of our century, he unexpectedly stated that was sent to Earth in order to establish the kingdom of God on it. The times in the country were vague, and his sermons attracted many students. This, of course, alarmed the Japanese police, the preacher was arrested and soon died. After it became clear that the forces of heaven did not stand up for the CAN Ile Suna, most of his students lost interest to him, but a few group of the remaining associates managed to preserve faith in the miraculous opportunities of the teacher and in his soon sunday (this story does not remind you of Dear readers?). However, like Talkhak, Chinsang could not save unity, and currently in Korea there are approximately 50 sects in Korea, each of which considers itself the only keeper of a true, undisherchaent instructor teaching. Some of these sects are very active and will successfully recruit supporters, including among young people.
A curious group of non-traditional religions form various creeds associated with the cult of Tangongo, the mythical founder of the state ancient Choson. This son of the celestial and turned into a female Medoli allegedly lived in the XXIV century BC.NS. Tangun fans sects began to occur at the end of the past and the beginning of our century. They all wore and wear an extremely nationalistic character, which sometimes acquires cosmic scales. However, it is precisely this extended nationalism in many respects and contributed to the popularity of these cults in the first half of our century. In the era of the national humiliation, Koreans appealed to these teachings, seeking to prove to the world and, above all, to themselves, the fact that they are not inferior to other peoples, but, on the contrary, surpass them. At the same time, none of these sects could become truly massive, and the number of their supporters remains small (several hundred or, at most, several thousand people), although they play a certain role in the distribution in the country of nationalist views. The largest of these sect is TECCHONG founded in 1910. At one time, supporters of this extremely nationalistic verbation took an active part in the partisan war with colonizers, but now its influence is not very large.
Probably, not quite correctly mention in connection with new religions and Islam, which, of course, can not be considered "Non-traditional religion". However, in Korea Islam is still exotic. Islam penetrated the country relatively recently, during the period of the Korean War, in which Turkish military units were actively involved. Turkish soldiers and officers and became the first preachers of Islam. In 1953. On the territory of the Turkish military camp, the first mosque in Korea was opened, and in September 1955. The Korean Muslim Association was created. The new wave of Islamization began in the seventies, when numerous Korean workers took part in large-scale construction projects in the Middle East. Some of them met there with Islam and accepted him. In May 1976. A new big mosque opened in Seoul, built in the very center of the city for funds provided by Saudi Arabia. In addition, at the beginning of the eighties in the country, 7 mosques operated in the country, and the total number of Muslims reached 25 thousand and continued to grow rapidly.
However, with all its diversity, "New religions" — This is nothing more than low-cost details of the Korean religious landscape. Korea is a Christian Buddhist country and, most likely, will remain such.