South Korean Christians Increasingly Disillusioned with Church

empty church
An increasing number of South Korean Christians are becoming disillusioned with organised religion and are leaving their churches, a recently published report says.

Greed, unthinking obedience, and hypocrisy among church leaders in recent years has led to a new phenomenon of ‘unchurched Christians’, the report says, who believe in the religion but avoid joining a congregation.

In a country famous for its zealous subway preachers and the largest church congregation in the world, the idea that you can be spiritual without being religious is novel.

From the Chosun Ilbo:

‘I don’t go to church, but I’m still a Christian’

Forty-five-year-old Mr. Park used to be called by the nickname, ‘The Missionary’. Park had attended church ever since he was a child and did not let a drop of alcohol pass his lips, even when he was studying abroad. After a lifetime of regularly attending church, Park saw that same church consumed by a financial scandal. ‘They fought over transfer of power, embezzled funds, and covered up scandalous behavior. I just didn’t want to be a member of such a church.’ In his mid-thirties, after trying out a few other churches, Park decided to stop attending. And yet Park says, ‘I am still a Christian.’

The dictionary definition of Protestants (Note: Korean tends to use the terms ‘Protestants’ or ‘Catholics’ rather than the general term ‘Christians’) states, ‘someone who believes in Protestantism’, the term typically implies that someone has faith in the religion and regularly attends church.

The number of people who have attended church for a long time but who have stopped attending is rising. These individuals are called ‘Canaan Congregants’. The term plays off the name for the land promised to the Hebrews in the Old Testament and the term ‘I do not attend’ [안 나가]. In the West, there is increasing study into the phenomenon of ‘believing without belonging’ and ‘unchurched Christians’. However, there is still a shortage of data about the phenomenon in Korea.

Churches offer no hope, my faith hit a wall

Why have Canaan Congregants been leaving their churches? The Center for the Study of Ministry and Society recently published a report based on extensive interviews with Congregants, finding that while the reasons vary widely, the primary issue was disappointment with the behavior of the pastor and the congregation. ‘I didn’t like the way the congregation just did the same thing over and over again, getting swept up in emotion and sobbing out loud,’ said one thirty-year-old office-worker. Another respondent said, ‘it was hard to endure the sermons filled with allegories that didn’t make any sense in our lives.’ Other interview subjects criticised the naked pursuit of material benefits within the church. ‘If you talk about how it is better for the church to make more money, to have a bigger building and fancy facilities, then what is the difference between a church and a business?’ said one fifty-year-old doctor. There was also strong resistance to the forceful messages and discipline demanded by their church, ‘I believe in God, but why do Protestants have to say that every other religion is wrong?’

The Typical ‘Canaan Congregant’

43.2% have attended church for between five and fifteen years
52.6% have not attended church for at least the past ten years
30.3% left their church because they wanted a less rigid religious experience
53.3% would like to return to a church at some point in the future
Source: Survey of 316 ‘Canaan Congregants’ by the Center for the Study of Ministry and Society

‘Without reform, more will leave the church’

So then can Canaan Congregants still be called Christians? According to Kwan Oh-seong of the Global Diaconia Center, “If you emphasise the communal aspect of Christianity, then you could say that these Congregants aren’t Protestants, but if you emphasise personal expressions of faith, then they are still Protestants…the more fundamental issue that should be addressed here is how this trend highlights distrust and dissatisfaction with churches.’ Cho Sang-don, director of the Center for the Study of Ministry and Society, said “it saddens me to see the similarity between the situation here and shrinking churches in the West.”

Comments from Daum:

도트프린터:

A few years ago I had to go to the hospital, (I should add that I am not religious), where I stayed in a room with three other patients, one of whom was Christian. Every day, there were multiple teams of people who would pray loudly and sing hymns. One day someone who looked like a priest came over to me and began began crying loudly and saying that I should pray.. I was taken aback and just stared back at him as he started saying to me, “come brother, let us pray together..then you will get better soon and go to heaven”. I wanted to throw an IV bottle right into his flapping jaw..living with these rude Protestants is like being in Hell

가리봉동정마담:

Korean Christians are no longer an irritation, now they have become a social evil. What other religion does so much harm, works so hard to preserve its power, disgraces God, and yet acts so self-righteous? They are the worst of the worst groups in Korea.

포터:

Even in America they say that hundreds of churches are closing every year, nothing like the situation here in Korea. But Korean churches aren’t flourishing because of strong religious feeling, it’s because of the tithes. In the West, they don’t pay tithes. But here in Korea, the Protestants just about force you to hand over your money! That’s how they grow their churches. As long as there is tithing, Korean Protestants will always be corrupt.

하늘마루:

That’s the reality, they see religion as just one more business ke ke ke

쭈니형:

ㅆhe more developed your country is, the fewer citizens attend church…

보헤미안:

I don’t know why priests are so eager to identify with the left-wing politicians and North Korea..then at the same time they work to make sure that not only their families but their cousins and their cousins cousins get rich off the church..what a crazy world of nepotism..then they try to make sure that a family member takes their place when they retire..then they try to tell everyone that it was the will of God…ke ke ke protestant nuts

church protest
19대 대통령 안철수:

People turn to religion to find peace, but when I read the news coming out every day about rape, abuse, assault, and molestation that goes on inside of religions I don’t see how any of them can offer peace. Just reading the articles makes my blood pressure rise…

독도:

You will only find tithing at Korean churches.. you will also only find Protestant perverts in Korea.. tithing, it’s just so the church can make money off you

한미경:

I’m not sure if they are following Jesus and God or following the church and their priest…

배러맨:

Proselytizing violates freedom of religion. Catholics realised this a long time ago and refrain from proselytizing to anyone who objects

rkdmftlrhf:

A religion that ignores the interests of the people, exploits human rights, indulges in corruption, praises and feeds off of the bastard politicians of the New Frontier Party, a fundamentally immoral religion, cannot survive

삭제된 글이 아닙니다:

Neither Jesus nor Moses ever really existed. There is no evidence of Jesus in Judaism or in the records of the Romans from 0 A.D. to 40 A.D. Protestants in the year 100 A.D. started looking around for ways to reinforce their religion, taking the image of Dionysus nailed to a cross from Greek mythology and replacing it with Jesus. They copied the principles of Zoroastrianism from 5th century B.C. Babylon (a virgin birth, the appearance at that time of a star, the appearance of wise men at the birth, the rebirth), took Saturnalia from Roman religion, Amen-ra from Egyptian religion, then stole a few bits from Buddhism (flowing to Europe along the road Alexander the Great carved into India)

블로거:

Priests who have forgotten their purpose, congregations that blindly follow their pastors, congregations that spend all their time caring for the physical appearance of their church building, they’ve all forgotten the needs of the world and its standards of decency

叡江(예강):

Religion is the opium of the masses. The Communists weren’t wrong on that point…The situation is such that followers of religion will sell their own soul for the right price…don’t believe in a religion, instead carry your own right faith and belief.

neon church
Comments from Twitter:

@jouhahn:

‘Believing without belonging’ I know exactly how they feel

@gawaimin:

Believing without belonging. So there are many other Christians who also feel lost like me..

@ffxfuelsave:

The days of an omnipotent, untouchable clergy are drawing to a close. A personal, loving, faith is the future.

‏@symmmetry

An uneven faith that borrows from pagan superstition, pastors who are becoming more secular, churches that have lost all connection with the salt of the earth, it all makes it inevitable that people will leave the church

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  • Ruaraidh

    Without some form of organised enforcement of orthodoxy, religion reverts to being little more than some people getting over exited about their imaginary friend…

    • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

      So if it’s organized, the friend is no longer imaginary? Personal faith is wonderful and gives people who have such faith hope. In many cases, it helps them help others. Organized religion is what has caused the most evil (or organized it) in the world.

      I’d rather see people who treat each other with respect and care and keep their imaginary friends to themselves than seeing them impose their imagination onto everyone else and forcing them to play by their rules whether they share those beliefs or not.

      The enforcement you speak of is just that. Exercising force onto what should be a pure, personal (or shared with people of the same convictions) and positive thing. If priests raping little boys and marching around in BMWs to boast about their insane fortune while people suffer is the core of this religion, I prefer a world without it.

      • Brett

        Strawman

        • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

          Apologies for not being psychic. How silly of me. I should correct that in the future.

          • Ruaraidh

            Maybe ask god to tell you, he’s pretty much psychic right?

          • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

            He’s not answering. It’s because I am not good enough and my misery is my own fault. But if anything good happens to me soon, I’ll be sure to credit him and try asking again.

          • Ruaraidh

            It seems you and I communicate better in sarcasm.

          • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

            Tricky thing online, but marvelous when it works.

    • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

      See, if that last line were there from the beginning, things would’ve been much clearer. Now I can agree.

  • Hitbbbw3

    Please edit the title of this article.

    “Disillusioned” is a subjective term and in no way corresponds to the original, cited article. While I understand that the topic of religion always SPARKS a hostile debate among netizens, the integrity of journalism (and the fact that Koreabang is a website that cites published articles) motivated me to suggest a title change.

  • Reila90

    Religion is bullshit.

    http://i.imgur.com/dR4Ua.jpg

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/VictimOfBoredom Matt

      I thought you hated Westerners?

      • http://www.facebook.com/marcus.muller.5220 Marcus Muller

        No rational person can hate Dawkins.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/VictimOfBoredom Matt

          Agreed, but I wouldn’t consider Reila90 rational.

          • harvz

            Zing.

    • Daniel

      This logic does not refute religion itself though. Atheism/agnosticism would fall under his statement as well. Something like: isn’t it a remarkable coincidence almost everyone whose parents are atheists are atheists? Circular logic doesn’t really go to prove anything about the legitimacy of atheism or illegitimacy of religion.

      • Reila90

        Because the term atheist, theist, agnostic, etc.. are all abstract. But science is reality. And reality is a fact. To think atheist is a “religion” is absurd. It’s only a word.

        • Ami

          Where in his post did he say “atheism” is a religion?

        • mr.wiener

          You can however find bigots everywhere, religious bigots and atheist bigots , basically any who tries to foist their opinions on other people.

          • jixiang

            Well forcing your opinions on others is wrong, but foisting? What does that mean? People have a right to argue in favour of their beliefs.

          • mr.wiener

            Foist: to force someone to have or experience something they do not want.
            I certainly agree people have the right to argue in favor of their beliefs, but not to force them on others unasked.

          • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

            While I don’t support arguments from authority, it may be worth mentioning that anthropology is the most appropriate scholarly field to clarify whether atheism is a system of religious belief, and it’s not under serious debate among anthropologists, since virtually all consider it to be one.

        • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

          Universe is indifferent and religion is uniquely human. We human want to be elevated into the sublime and the timeless, because facts alone are not enough. Men and women are either made in the image of a supreme being, or no different than any other animal. A man and woman procreate either because they’ve come of age to pass on their gene and ensure bloodline, or they were destined to love and be one despite the world insistence in keeping them apart.

          Nothing is as vulgar as unhappy religious zealot and unhappy atheist zealot religiously shoving their belief down people’s throat… Commanding us what to do, telling us what is right and what is wrong, endlessly critisize and judge…A veil that hide their desire to dominate… dont you agree that they are vulgar, Reila?

        • HaakonKL

          Actually they are pretty concrete:
          Theist: I believe in a personal god
          Deist: I believe in a non-personal god
          Atheist: I have no belief in a god
          Agnostic: You can’t know for certain whether or not there is a god
          Gnostic: You can know for certain whether or not there is a god

          So for instance, the pope would probably be an agnostic theist: He believes in a personal god, but he agrees that there is no certain knowledge of this.
          Decartes would probably be a gnostic theist.
          Richard Dawkins is an agnostic atheist, etc.

          The words mean things but they’re value-neutral. They don’t claim that either is better than the other.

      • jixiang

        Hang on, I don’t think it’s so true with atheists that they get it from their parents. I think lots of atheists become it in spite of their parents. Considering that almost nobody was an atheist in the West 300 years ago, but there are now lots of them, people at some point must have made a conscious decision to stop believing.

        • Gunthertheyoung

          Ha.. Very valid point

        • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

          This argument fits the law of conservatism, and it also leads to a chicken-and-egg dilemma. If they must have at some point in their lives converted to atheism, then their foregoing generations must have at some point done the same with their respective religions. Their progeny will also do the same when they take on a system of belief other than atheism. This can be applied back to the beginning of awareness of religious philosophy, which was probably mostly a product of the facts and circumstances of the time–the same reasons for each respective inter-generational conversion. So what’s true for religion in this argument is also true for atheism.

        • HaakonKL

          The argument isn’t meant to be against religion as such.
          It does point out that the average believer never made a conscious choice to become a believer though.

      • Ami

        Yeah, there are a lot of arguments to confute religion but this isn’t one of them.

        If my parents are liberals then I will probably be liberal with some changes to their beliefs here and there. Same if they’re conservative. That doesn’t prove that my or their belief in certain political philosophies are wrong though.

      • http://www.facebook.com/IsThatSolyaris Chris Wagner

        My parents are both religious but never brought up the subject of god or pressured me to go to church. Outside of one babysitter, none of my friends ever invited me to go to their church or anything like that. The end result: I’m nonspiritual. The problem with the common “atheist/agnostic upbringing is indoctrination too” argument is that a nonspiritual upbringing doesn’t necessarily imply that the parents were actively advocating atheism or agnosticism.

      • jon776

        It wouldn’t since atheism isn’t a faith or has a doctrine. Atheism is the same as all other non-things. We are born as atheists and we don’t have to be indoctrinated into it.

        • Gunthertheyoung

          But if you say “we are born as atheists ” then why didn’t our progress from cave man to civilised man leave us completely devoid of religion ?

          • jon776

            Because people needed answers, even if they were lies, to lifes questions.

          • Gunthertheyoung

            Good point, but then why do the “answers” almost always lead to a supreme deity, even for various civilizations separated by time and space ?

          • RXYX

            Who came first, God or people? “We all know” that people were created by God. However, if there were no people, who would know of a God? Do all self-aware creatures know of a God? If so, again, without consciousness who would know of God? If people were created from the stuff of this universe, then we are the universe becoming aware of itself… Maybe each of us are the stuff/atoms that God is made of. We are each a piece of God.

          • HaakonKL

            See Richard Dawkins and Daniel C Dennett’s works on memetics for one possibility.

            An other one is that it’s just the result of Skinner’s superstitious behaviour.

      • aadfasdd

        lol my mom is christian and my dad…is…something weird. i’m an atheist. i came about atheism by myself. hearing about kids raised as atheists who become christian are much more rare than hearing about kids raised as christians who become atheists. why? atheism is rationalism. it’s not even a religion, it’s a philosophy. i’d rather guide my life using philosophy than religion

    • tnrc75

      Kids are often similar to their parents, politically also, until they get to their teens or 20s, at which time there is often re-evaluation. It’s not an argument against religion. Kids will often follow their parents’ lead in many significant ideas because they don’t have the mental faculties to know why they’re wrong. Parents try to do their best in many cases and when kids are relatively helpless, parents shouldn’t be knocked for doing their best.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Smith/100003026114865 John Smith

      “Indoctrination” is not the word I’d use.

      Molestation with religion is more apt.

    • http://rhapsodyofwar.tumblr.com/ ιиfιиιту

      Child repent while is still mercy time, Jesus is very Alive and speaks only to those who are willing listen.You don’t need religion, you need Jesus.

    • Guy Forget

      Richard Dawkins is joke. The door to “childhood indoctrination” swings both ways dumbf*ck. So if you’re not teaching your kids to believe in Jesus, and follow the 10 commandments (which aren’t bad rules to begin with…i mean c’mon…don’t steal? don’t murder? honor your parents….what’s wrong with indoctrinating kids with these godly values?), then you’re indoctrinating your kids with something else, perhaps, “you are god! believe in yourself! study hard, get a good job, buy a big house, continue to be a slave to the matrix and be a consumer capitalist and serve the elites!” EVERY thing is child indoctrination. Sending your kids to school is CHILD INDOCTRINATION. Teaching your kids that multiculturalism is a beautiful thing and that we should let more immigrants take over our lands because its the modern thing to do is CHILD INDOCTRINATION. People like Dawkins are possessed by the devil….always attacking and ONLY attacking protestant christianity.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    I’ve never met so many Christians who don’t even know what language their scriptures were written in as in Korea. That sort of tells me all I need to know. I’ve also never met so many Presbyterians who’ve never heard of John Knox or the Westminster Confession or Methodists who’ve never heard of John Wesley. In fact every Korean Presbyterian or Methodist I’ve ever asked has never heard of them.

    • MooDang

      Dude a tonne of Korean Christians don’t even know what Easter is….Much less those things

      • dk2020

        Easter is more of a western tradition, but Korean Christians do celebrate Easter it’s just not a national holiday like in the US ..

        • MooDang

          Meaning they aren’t really christian, but just indulging in a fad. Which is fine, but gets disgusting when they pull the christian card.

          • harvz

            Like chocolate bunnies and painted eggs are any better.

  • MooDang

    Go to any Hakwon/academy on Christmas eve in Korea and it will be filled with middle school students, even at 10pm. These same students will proclaim loudly that their family is christian, they love Jesus and attend church regularly. Christianity in Korea was more about getting a social leg up / group think , rather than actually knowing or caring anything about the actually teachings of the religion or observing its sacred times. I hope this article portends a return of Koreans to their original religion, one that seems to have more meaning here to begin with.

    • Hitbbbw3

      Interesting!
      How do non Christian students in South Korea respond to these proclamations?

    • Emhyr Var Emreis

      koreans blindly follow christianity without any meaning. It is time to review the values of christianity.

  • Zach

    Where does the idea that only in Korea do people give tithes to the church come from?

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    Humanity naturally seeks some form of self satisfaction. Some find it through helping others, some by exploiting others. Organized religion is the perfect place for the latter to thrive unfortunately.

    • Ami

      Both thrive literally everywhere? I can run a secular non-profit charity to help others or I can scam people and pocket what I can.

      • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

        But organized religion especially. A scenario where people pay through the nose for salvation and have nothing to base your word on but faith.

        Just look at the corruption the Catholic church has to put up with. Protestants left because of that corruption and now they have just as much corruption plaguing their churches. All too easy.

  • commander

    The Protestany churches are in need of an across-the-board overhaul as they put monetary interests from weekly donations by believers ahead of religious conviction and teachins, a notorious hypocriptic action that has increasingly kept away many faithful from their weekly sanctuaries.

    • Jackm Cm

      FOCUS ON JESUS REPENT AND TRUST JESUS ALONE.
      LIVING IN OBEDIENT TO GOD THAT IS ALL WHAT WE NEED.

  • http://twitter.com/KJustinC Justin

    People build churches, not god.

    • Jon

      If not people, then who builds gods?

      • http://twitter.com/KJustinC Justin

        i’d like to think that god is a higher power, but god could just be an accumulation of things people cannot explain… either way, it does not exist physically and hence should not have physical wants, needs or possessions… a church, on the other hand…

  • Paul M

    It’s always nice to start the week with some good news.

  • AlexSt

    All Christians I met in Korea so far were self-righteous, judgmental people. One girl chatted me up in the subway once, talking about all kinds of things, but finally asking me, why Westerners all turn into swinging cheating bastards after marriage and why they can’t be like Koreans – the most moral people in the world. :D

    • To AlexSt

      Only in the Dave’s ESL world, a parallel universe in your own imagination.

      • AlexSt

        What is Dave’s ESL world? I’m no American, no English teacher and fluent in Korean – in case you want to put some other prejudgmental crap on me.

        • dk2020

          정말? 당신은 한국인?

          • AlexSt

            Why would you think that? I’m not.

            ..Let me add to my statement that I haven’t met too many Korean Christians yet. “Amongst the few that I met..”.
            Pretty sure it’s not representative.

    • MintyBadger

      Sounds like she’s got it backwards…many Korean men are pathological cheaters who get senselessly drunk and visit prostitutes with greater frequency and regularity than most people brush their teeth. Source; taught Korean housewives for years. Anyone who thinks Koreans have a superior understanding (and actually practice) morality are living in an isolated, well-insulated fantasy world.

      • AlexSt

        I’d also explain it with that shame one feels when not living up to the role model.
        It appears to me, that South Koreans don’t like sharing stories about sexual encounters or the like, so they naturally feel everyone else is moral, but them.

      • Isaac

        If you replace ‘Korean’ with ‘white’ then i believe its true.

        • harvz

          Or just replace it with ‘assholes’. Every culture has them.

          Quit being small minded simpletons, you generalizing bastards.

          • mr.wiener

            Word!

        • KoreanNoMore

          To be fair, something like 1/4 or a 1/3 of Korean married men admit “regularly” visiting brothels.

          This would be fine, we are all very immoral people in a lot of ways, but unfortunately some Asian-Americans like playing the “nice guy” card and pretending they are much more moral.

          • Isaac

            “1/4 or a 1/3 of Korean married men admit “regularly” visiting brothels.”

            Source?

            Btw, your name just shows how insecure whiteys really are. Aha!

          • dk2020

            how did it go from korean men to asian americans? different people.

      • dk2020

        ah yes Korean men are whoremongers unlike anywhere else where men cheat on their wives.. damn scum of the earth .. you must have saved some of those poor korean housewives with your super duper ESL powers .. hopefully they escaped ..

      • lonetrey / Dan

        o.O

        You taught Korean housewives who then gossiped to you about these things?? XD Sounds like an interesting situation! What did you teach them about? Was it like night school or something?

    • dk2020

      damn korean bible thumpers you’re so much better than them ..

  • dk2020
    • pingu777

      good to know I wasn’t the only person that thought of this lol

  • Your Sexy Cousin Rex

    what would Jesus think about plastic bean paste bitches

    • jon776

      He’d probably fuck them like any nomal male.

  • YouAreSilly

    It’s funny how many Koreans lap up a religion that was pressured upon them by westerners who believed that Korean religious beliefs and superstitions were inferior to their own beliefs. For the first missionaries, their primary concern was as much cultural imperialism as it was a desire to save anyones soul.

    • RXYX

      It was a soft form of integration, although I would argue that planting the idea of eternal damnation to play on your primal fears of pain and suffering is not exactly soft. The modern day African-Americans had this past too whereby they’ve abandoned their shamanistic beliefs for the Anglo-Christian belief system.

    • CrazyTerry

      Yes, even in the US, it seems like Koreans who come here convert to Christianity at a much greater rate than other Asian nationalities. I wonder if they do it as their way of assimilation when it is so unnecessary. Why sell out that way? Have some pride in native Korean traditions. It’s not like there is a god for sure.

  • harvz

    There was a post on ilbe that had me laughing. The title was ”my eyes hurt” and when you opened it you saw a picture of a small bedroom with the curtain pulled down. The lights were off and a shining red cross blasted through the drawn curtains and illuminated the whole bedroom. Sucks.

  • K

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt like this… I’m an Australian born Korean and been a Christian since I was born I’ve attended church every week (skipping church was just wrong for me). It wasn’t until grade 11 I stopped going to church. Sydney churches and the Brisbane churches they’re all the same as the churches in Korea. The priest are all here for status…since they think their status’ will put them in a high position within the Korean community (in Brisbane, Sydney). My church in Brisbane even spent nearly a year renovating … and tah duh.. it’s the biggest church now rivaling with another church. Students around my age (19) all have stopped going to church as well for the same reason the ignorance and selfishness of the older people and priest within the churches. The only people who practically go are those who follow their parents because their parents are part of the organization of the church or in high position as well …

  • dk2020

    Isn’t it kinda strange how anti-foreigner and xenophobic Korea was (and some you say it still is) to embrace a western religion like Christianity? I think it really has to do with the Korean Independence Movement and becoming Christian was a way of rebellion against the Japanese rule of Shintoist beliefs. Church was always a way of social networking for new immigrants also. This antireligious trend is recent same with the youth in the states. There are Korean Christians out there that are genuinely good people, I think of my halmuni as one. I believe in freedom of religion as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else .. and yeah Koreans put their own little twist to it, just like any other ethnicity .. religion tends to adapt to the people not the other way around ..

  • chris

    anyone know if there were any religions other than Buddhism prior to the Christianization of Korea? its interesting how foreign colonization also lead to the spread of religion and how it impacts present day

    • Yu Bum Suk

      The Japs imported a lot of Shintoism and encouraged Koreans to embrace it. Evidently it didn’t take root. Shamanism still exists to an extent but it seems an aspect of society educated people feel a bit embarrassed about, especially when talking with westerners.

      • ChuckRamone

        There’s also “ancestor worship,” but I’m not sure if that qualifies as a religion.

  • jun

    as an ex-born korean chrstian.(im 18.)

    i can tell you korean christians must be exterminated.

    if they were islam they must have been taliban.

    • dk2020

      aiiish … how about more tolerance and common sense ..

  • chucky3176

    So when is the 윤창중 incident, which is by far the most talked about story in Korea right at this moment, going to be translated here?

    • Yu Bum Suk

      There are so many developments coming out. It might be better to wait a few more days. Plus, because it’s so discussed, it’s not as though non-Korean speakers living in Korea need this site to know what Koreans are saying about it. I’d be more curious to see links to what Korean-Americans are saying about it.

    • Paul M

      I would love to see the netizen’s reactions over this.

  • http://www.sos-symphysiotomy.com/ redgirls

    SLAMS! the door on the way out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jewishlover Adam Michael Ziel

    I keep on reading these comments and as a Christian think, “I’m sorry!” Them again as Ghandhi said, “I love your Christ, hate your Christians.” I know not everybody is perfect. However, at least in Christianity we have tenants such as leaders serving their congregations instead of Lording their position over them. (Matthew 25:24-28) Also, there is love your neighbor as yourself. Even if you look at the Old Testament the story of Johna is about God wanting to show mercy, not wrath! I am not trying apostolatize. However, I think the leaders of the Korean church have give a good religion a bad name. I agree! They are stuck up individuals who think they are bett than everybody else. I see what Koreans can say what they say. What I think people fail to realize is that they are going against the basic tenants of Christianity. I quote, “A bishop (also, elders) must be blameless…not greedy for money…(Titus 1:7). Sorry, but I only quotes or examples from the Bible to give examples of where they are erring in the faith they claim to profess. It also lets me blow off steam. In short, I don’t know what the solution is. There are good churches but they are far and few between. But please, do not let your negative experiences with Christinaty effect the way you look at it, and that goes for all religions. Research it and see what it is really about, which is why I am a Christian. I do know this. The Bible says, “God is love.” I don’t think certain pastors know what that means and I fear for what they are going to have to answer for. Sorry,once again.

  • bultak23

    a bad church is exploitative, a few at the top benefit only. this is a cult. a good church that is based on love benefits all its members.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Smith/100003026114865 John Smith

    If godbots kept it to themselves, or at least stood to one side of sidewalks and let people pass, it wouldn’t be so annoying. But rabid religitards arrogantly assume some “right” to assault people as if religion excused it. I lost count of the number of times I was assaulted by godbots on the streets.

    I was physically accosted (them grabbing my arms or clothes) many times. They actually had the nerve to get upset when I did “karate chop” on their arms or pushed them away with a hand to the chest or face to make them let go.

    The religitards would also deliberately moving from where they were and into my path to block my way so they could spew their filth. I wasn’t walking anywhere near them, they chose to do this. My response was to walk right through them, and I didn’t care if they got upset when they were on their asses.

    The buddhists’ bell ringing and stinking incense was annoying, but at least they stood in one place and you could walk around them. They were never aggressive, to their credit. And the muslims in Itaewon, surprisingly, never blathered about it to me.

    • eyong

      actually, bell ringing and the incense is not part of buddhism, it is part of korean shamism that were blended with buddhism.

      the arabic religion is too tribal and brutal.

  • Kalhoun

    The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around.
    –Herb Caen

  • http://rhapsodyofwar.tumblr.com/ ιиfιиιту
  • Judge Not Least

    It’s obvious from several of the comments that most people writing here do not realize that protestant church leaders are typically called pastors, preachers, reverends, or ministers, not priests as in the Catholic church.

    The concerns of the people quoted in the article are quite valid. Big churches typically follow very formulaic worship services. Also, small groups (groups of church friends meeting together for fellowship outside of the scheduled services) are usually formed by people living in the same area or around the same age. Those are aspects of culture as much as corruption within the church.

    The article actually points out that people perceive religion and spirituality differently, which is indeed a biblical distinction that Jesus Christ himself pointed out when he criticized following merely human regulations rather than God’s word.

    By the way, I’m a foreigner living in Korea who has attended the same – our – Korean (i.e. Korean-speaking and attended by Koreans) church for the past 5 years. Our church has remained very small during that time. Therefore I’ve gotten to know the pastor, pastor’s wife, and other people very well. Despite extreme cultural differences and my own concerns about the worship style, my appreciation for the Christian community in Korea has increased as time goes on. Understanding certainly takes time and patience; even more so does change.

    Never having attended another Korean church, I’m not sure about the extent to which emotional reactions such as crying during prayer may be coerced in churches generally. However, praying out loud – typical in other countries around the world (with freedom of religion) as well – lets people express their emotions much more freely than in other aspects of Korean social or even family life, based on my observations. If people go willingly and want to cry, why blame “the church”? Are not the people without tears also part of “the church”?

    Also, feeling part of a group holds great significance in Korean society, so people without such emotional reactions would naturally feel less inclined to attend services as time goes on. However, the cause could just as well be their own lack of genuine faith or feeling of communion with the divine. That’s not to say religious participation alone measure one’s faith. Of course a statement of faith alone does not mean that people actually believe it – including church leaders.

    In general the comments on this website show fairly nuanced understandings of complicated issues. It would be nice to see similar comments on this article rather than off-topic bashing of Christians/Korean churches/God in general. The Barna Group (http://www.barna.org/) has studies showing that critical evaluation of Christians doesn’t necessitate discounting of their beliefs or traditions. Unfortunately, when it comes to religion, many people have unaddressed spiritual wounds and scars that make them bitter and angry. I pray for peace for anyone here in such a state. There is healing, peace, and joy!

  • Ravin’ Shikshin

    There are wayward churches everywhere in this world. Greedy pastors and gullible congregations have existed for yonks. This one here makes a very interesting read.

    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/07/05/singapore-church-allegedly-misused-funds/

    How does one expect to promote Christianity using this???
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ya3Hqu

    I just can’t understand how smart professionals like doctors and lawyers still get suckered into this sort of crap and still live in denial. A close friend of mine even donated a pile of money to these bloodsuckers and was so proud of it until this scandal broke out.

    The full story here if you’re interested: http://www.straitstimes.com/chc_funds_case

  • Ibyangin

    God is also increasingly disillusioned with South Koreans… Guess it works both ways…

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  • SailorTaylorr

    Religion is the ‘church’s form of Christianity. The ‘church’ tends to mold and form Christianity into their own. They focus on rules and regulations, when true followers of Christ simply focus on HIM.
    All of this crap these ‘churches’ is doing right now LITERALLY sickens me. This isn’t the church Christ created. The church is a hospital for the broken, not a place to steal money from people in search of Him. If they would open their doors with love for the sinners, forgiveness for the corrupted, help for the orphans, and hearts after Jesus, satan would have ever creeped his way in.
    Luckily, I attend a church who’s focus is our community. We don’t pull bull crap stunts like this.
    If you’re a believer, keep the church in your prayers. Let’s trust God with His bride.
    And if you aren’t a believer, please understand that not all Christians are ‘religious’. Most of us realize that religion is a set of laws that people must abide by. Instead, we just want Christ. We want to help others. Give us a chance.

    Much love.

  • Gianni Mdz

    There are different kinds of churches, the one I assist encourages all of the members to be missionaries to spread the gospel to different cities and countries. This sounds right to me because it is the great commission given by Christ. Not all churches are bad. It saddens me to hear that people are leaving their christian communities…it is easier to attack christians if we are separated. I would not doubt this is the works of the lier. Do not leave the christian lifestyle, it is the only way to live, that will give you the peace and happiness that nothing else in the world can. I live in Peru by the way.

  • Jo River

    WORD to the NATIONS

    KOREA -The Land That Shall Be No More! Jan. 16, 2014

    I speak unto thee and I say that as you are, you shall be no more. I say that as you are, you shall be no more. For I say that it is the time that I the Living God will bring my wrath, my fury, my indignation against thee, and I say that as you are, you will be no more. I say you are guilty, you are guilty, you are guilty before me, for I say you have either locked yourselves into bitter hatred against me, or else wise you have lived in delusion and pretended you loved me, when it is not true.

    But I say whatever way you have chosen, I say you have not given up your idols, but I say you have chosen to oppose me, you have chosen to walk in your sins, you have chosen to remain in your iniquities, yet I say you have put on your shows. I say you have either locked into your hatred, to your rebellion, your bitterness, and your accusation against me, knowing that I am the one true God, yet forsaking me as the same. Or else wise you have put on a fabricated invention, a tale, a story, a show that you love me, when it is not true.

    I say you have refused steadfastly, refused to forsake the idols, the images that you have bowed unto, I say you have gone in the way of your fathers. That is, you have gone in the way of idolatry, abomination, and I say you have put on great pretension before me. That is, you profess that you love me, but I say you would not turn from the way of your fathers, but I say that you kept the same.

    Now I say the time has come that I the Living God will ventilate my wrath upon thee. I say that you have refused repentance, you have refused to walk uprightly, though I have given the truth unto thee. I say you have forsaken the way of the truth to take up lies, to take up pretension and hypocrisy, and yes you have loved it so. I say you have loved to remain as children ever playing, playing, and playing, yet not getting real with me. That is, going on in that which is nothing but a show, a pretension, a mockery of my name. I say that it is me the Living God who is indeed bringing my wrath upon the land, the land, the land that has violated me.

    Therefore I say when you see my wrath come upon thee, know that I the Living God have forewarned thee of the same. Know that it is indeed the consequence of your willfulness, your stubbornness, and your pride against me. Know that it is indeed my just retribution for the sins that have mounted up in my sight. I say that it is me the Living God who will cause thee to cringe, to moan, to groan under the same, but I say because of your refusal of me, because of your rejection of my way, because of your mockery through your own sinfulness and your vices that are brought in by your fathers, I say you remain the same. That is, you remain stubborn and proud, you remain willful and hateful, and I say you are remain rebellious against me.

    Therefore I say when the time does come and my wrath is revealed, it is me the Living God who is bringing the same. I say that the land, the land shall be brought to naught, and it will not be as it is in this time. For it is me the Living God who is bringing it to pass.

    WORD to the NATIONS

    KOREA -The Land That Shall Be No More! Jan. 16, 2014

    I speak unto thee and I say that as you are, you shall be no more. I say that as you are, you shall be no more. For I say that it is the time that I the Living God will bring my wrath, my fury, my indignation against thee, and I say that as you are, you will be no more. I say you are guilty, you are guilty, you are guilty before me, for I say you have either locked yourselves into bitter hatred against me, or else wise you have lived in delusion and pretended you loved me, when it is not true.

    But I say whatever way you have chosen, I say you have not given up your idols, but I say you have chosen to oppose me, you have chosen to walk in your sins, you have chosen to remain in your iniquities, yet I say you have put on your shows. I say you have either locked into your hatred, to your rebellion, your bitterness, and your accusation against me, knowing that I am the one true God, yet forsaking me as the same. Or else wise you have put on a fabricated invention, a tale, a story, a show that you love me, when it is not true.

    I say you have refused steadfastly, refused to forsake the idols, the images that you have bowed unto, I say you have gone in the way of your fathers. That is, you have gone in the way of idolatry, abomination, and I say you have put on great pretension before me. That is, you profess that you love me, but I say you would not turn from the way of your fathers, but I say that you kept the same.

    Now I say the time has come that I the Living God will ventilate my wrath upon thee. I say that you have refused repentance, you have refused to walk uprightly, though I have given the truth unto thee. I say you have forsaken the way of the truth to take up lies, to take up pretension and hypocrisy, and yes you have loved it so. I say you have loved to remain as children ever playing, playing, and playing, yet not getting real with me. That is, going on in that which is nothing but a show, a pretension, a mockery of my name. I say that it is me the Living God who is indeed bringing my wrath upon the land, the land, the land that has violated me.

    Therefore I say when you see my wrath come upon thee, know that I the Living God have forewarned thee of the same. Know that it is indeed the consequence of your willfulness, your stubbornness, and your pride against me. Know that it is indeed my just retribution for the sins that have mounted up in my sight. I say that it is me the Living God who will cause thee to cringe, to moan, to groan under the same, but I say because of your refusal of me, because of your rejection of my way, because of your mockery through your own sinfulness and your vices that are brought in by your fathers, I say you remain the same. That is, you remain stubborn and proud, you remain willful and hateful, and I say you are remain rebellious against me.

    Therefore I say when the time does come and my wrath is revealed, it is me the Living God who is bringing the same. I say that the land, the land shall be brought to naught, and it will not be as it is in this time. For it is me the Living God who is bringing it to pass.

  • 새중앙교회 in 파주 mis-managed by 오성택
  • 새중앙교회 in 파주 mis-managed by 오성택

    THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE GOES INTO COMPLETE AND FULL DETAIL ABOUT HOW FINANCIALLY CORRUPT AND BRAINWASHING THE VAST MAJORITY OF BUSINESS-BACKED “KOREAN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES” ARE.:

    TITLE: “Depravity of religion is rampant in korean society. Christianity, and specifically Protestant”

    LINK ~ https://storify.com/wjsfree/depravity-of-religion-is-rampant-in-korea-society

  • Space Jam

    cloy·ing

    /ˈklɔɪɪŋ/ Show Spelled [kloi-ing] Show IPA

    adjective

    1.

    causing or tending to cause disgust or aversion through excess: a perfume of cloying sweetness.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cloying?s=t

  • Space Jam

    “Corrupt Cloying Corean Christians.” :(

  • 하늘의비전교회 Reverend 오관석 is SATAN

    Chapter One: “The Historical Background of Twentieth Century Korea ~ 1.3. A Corrupt Christian Regime and Inefficient Government”

    READ NOW! ~ http://www2.gol.com/users/quakers/Ham_contents.htm

  • Blake Hess

    The photo of man holding a sign “Rev Rhee…This is God’s church” is Canaan Presbyterian Church in Glenview, IL. Now its called Chicago Covenant Church with new pastor as of June 2014. Most of these people at this church thinks the pastor is god. The people in this church are so disengaged from reality. Its unbelievable and scary. But then again, that’s the culture of most Korean churches in the states.

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