Religion Part 1 – Christianity in Korea

People are somehow very surprised that 2 of the 3 main religions in Korea is christianity, that is catholics and other christians. In Korea, people somehow separate catholics and christians. Don’t ask why as christinity (in all forms) came all at once to Korea over 100 years ago. I am not sure why christianity was so attractive to Koreans. Despite the initial persecution, the religion took root rapidly and spread wide.

I am technically a christian since my family, at least as far back as my grandparents’ generation on both sides, followed that faith. Well, but I say technically since I consider myself more spiritual nowadays. Since all of my grandparents have already passed away, they would not be upset at me for saying that. But if they were alive, they might have a slight problem with my “technical” christianity.

For some strange reason, you will find that the majority of Korean christians are extremely devout, almost fanatically so. This is one of the reasons why I seem to have very few Korean friends (as you can imagine, this is a bit out of norm). My lack of Korean friends is due to — as soon as I become even remotely close to any Korean people, they try to get me to go to their church. As I am not really a believer in an organized religion, this is a bit of a problem for me. Of course, the friendship fizzles after that since they honestly think I might go to hell or something because I refuse to go to their church. And it’s not just enough that I tell them I’m technically christian. It has to be their church or no church at all.

Thankfully, my parents were only slightly pushy about their religion. I suppose it helps that my mom studied theology (yes, she could have become a pastor if she so had desired). This is the reason why I grew up a little differently compared to others. My parents encouraged me to go to church on the weekends (occasionally forced), but also took me to catholic masses and Buddhist temples. This is not very typical. Most christians in Korea tend to be really anti-non-Christian religions.

So, now that I’ve introduced one of the main religions of Korea, I suppose my next post will have to be the other main religion in Korea…Buddhism, which, by the way, is quite different from ones you find in many other countries in Korea. Yes, not all Buddhism are alike!