Addressing The Religion in Korean Culture

Addressing The Religion in Korean Culture
3 min read

Unlike in most countries where it is not easy to approach people and directly talk to them about their religious views and thoughts, things are a little different in Korea.

Religion is, in fact, a very casual topic of conversation amongst Korean people and is even a point of interest to many people when they meet others for the first time. They do not consider it improper or prying to directly ask people what their religious affiliations are during their first conversation right after meeting them.

In a report conducted by Cultural Atlas in 2015, it was found that 7.9% of Koreans identify themselves as Catholic, 15.5% as Buddists, 19.7% as Protestant Christians, and 56.9% are unaffiliated with any religion. An important thing to note is that traditional Asian philosophies - such as Confucianism - are not always considered as religious but are more commonly perceived as viewing life that can work alongside other religions.

And out of all religions, there is a strong influence of Christianity within Korean people and millions of people have already converted during this time. And a lot of this influence is through the contributions of many missionaries who preached Christianity in Korea.

A prime example of such a person is none other than Dong Suk-Kee - one of the most renowned Korean American missionary and Gospel preachers of our time.

Dong was one of the first few people who converted to Christianity in 1903 while working on a sugar plantation in Hawaii and was baptised by Waterman via sprinkling late in 1904. After receiving his diploma in Methodism, he travelled back to Korea as a Methodist preacher in 1913. It was around this time that Dong preached for the Methodist Church in Korea for more than a decade before he had to move to the United States.

Working abroad allowed Dong to take on multiple career roles. He was ordained as a provisional pastor, was named the sixth minister of the Naeli Kyuhae Church, became the eighth evangelist of the Namyang Church, and so much more.

However, things began to take a different turn when he attended a rally in Pagoda Park in 1918 and was arrested for participating in a national independence demonstration. After his release, he resigned from the Namyang Church and went on to serve in different churches over the years. Later on in 1930, Dong founded the Church of Christ in Korea and when he returned to his native province of Hamgyeong Do, he began preaching the gospel for three weeks and had converted 20 people within that time.

Seven more churches were established by him in 1940 and he founded the first congregation in Seoul - therefore playing an instrumental role in the early work of the southern parts of the nation.

As a missionary who was devoted to his Christian mission, Dong’s role became very influential in the process of spreading Christianity into Korea - which is one of the major reasons why his relentless efforts and determined spiriti continue to serve as an inspiration to many young Korean missionaries who wish to follow in his footsteps.

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Mark Devin 3
Joined: 1 year ago
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