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What religion are Koreans?


Korea is known for its rich history, culture, and traditions. Religion has played a significant role in Korean society since ancient times. Today, South Korea is predominantly a secular country, but religion still holds an important place in the lives of many Koreans. This article will explore the various religions practiced in Korea and their impact on Korean society.

Buddhism in Korea

Buddhism was introduced to Korea in the 4th century and has been a major religion in the country ever since. Today, it is estimated that about 20% of South Koreans practice Buddhism. The religion has had a significant impact on Korean art, culture, and philosophy. Many temples and monasteries can be found throughout the country, including famous ones such as Bulguksa and Haeinsa.

Confucianism in Korea

Confucianism was introduced to Korea in the 14th century and became the dominant philosophy during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Confucian teachings emphasize respect for elders, loyalty to family and friends, and moral behavior. Today, Confucianism continues to influence Korean culture and values.

Christianity in Korea

Christianity was introduced to Korea in the late 19th century by Protestant missionaries. Today, it is estimated that around 30% of South Koreans are Christians, making it the largest religion in the country. Christianity has had a significant impact on Korean society, particularly in the fields of education and social welfare.

Catholicism in Korea

Catholicism was introduced to Korea in the late 18th century by French missionaries. Today, it is estimated that around 10% of South Koreans are Catholics. The religion has had a significant impact on Korean culture and history, particularly during times of persecution.

Shamanism in Korea

Shamanism is an indigenous religion that has been practiced in Korea for centuries. Shamanism involves the worship of spirits and ancestors, and rituals are often performed to communicate with them. Although shamanism is not as prevalent as it once was, it still holds a significant place in Korean culture.

Taoism in Korea

Taoism was introduced to Korea in the 7th century and became popular during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). Taoist teachings emphasize the balance of opposites and the importance of living in harmony with nature. Today, Taoism is not as widely practiced in Korea as other religions.

New Religious Movements in Korea

In recent years, there has been a rise in new religious movements in Korea. These movements often combine elements of traditional Korean religions with Western or Eastern teachings. Some of the more well-known new religious movements include Won Buddhism, Cheondogyo, and Daesoon Jinrihoe.

Atheism in Korea

Despite the prevalence of religion in Korean society, there is also a growing trend towards atheism. According to a 2015 survey, around 46% of South Koreans do not identify with any particular religion. This trend is particularly common among younger generations.

Religious Tolerance in Korea

Despite the diversity of religions practiced in Korea, there is generally a high level of religious tolerance. Interfaith dialogue and cooperation are encouraged, and various religious groups often work together on social and charitable projects.

Religion and Politics in Korea

Religion has played a significant role in Korean politics throughout history. Today, however, South Korea is a secular country with a clear separation between church and state. Nevertheless, religious organizations continue to have a significant influence on Korean society.


In conclusion, religion has played a significant role in Korean society throughout history. Today, the country is home to a diverse range of religions and beliefs, each with its own unique traditions and practices. Despite their differences, these religions have helped shape Korean culture and values, and continue to play an important role in the lives of many Koreans.

Do Koreans have their own religion?

The religious landscape of South Korea has seen an increase in Christianity and a resurgence of Buddhism, but most South Koreans either do not follow any religion or practice folk religions. In North Korea, there is no freedom of religion and the state promotes atheism.

Why is Christianity so big in Korea?

The acceptance of Christianity in Korea was greatly influenced by the connection many Christians made with Korean nationalism during the period of Japanese occupation between 1910 and 1945. Japan attempted to assimilate Korean culture during this time, which led to a strong desire for national identity among Koreans and a connection to Christianity.

What religion is Chinese and Korean?

Korean states, who were originally followers of shamanism, adopted different religions and cultural practices from China over time. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism were all adopted, with Buddhism eventually becoming the official state religion. These cultural practices, along with literature and burial practices, were passed down through generations.

What are Korean beliefs?

The primary religions in Korea are Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity. Buddhism has the largest number of followers and deeply influences Korean culture, lifestyle, and artistic expression. The Yungdrung symbol is a significant emblem of Korean Buddhism, and it can be seen in all temples and religious sites throughout the country.

Do Koreans believe in Christianity?

The Pew Research Center of 2010 shows that 46% of the population has no religious affiliation while 23% are Buddhist and 29% are Christians. The 2015 national census reveals that 56.1% of the population is irreligious, with Protestantism representing 19.7%, Korean Buddhism at 15.5%, and Catholicism at 7.9%.

What religion is most popular in Korea?

The Constitution of Korea promises the right to freedom of religion. A survey from 1995 found that 50.7% of Koreans practice a particular faith. The majority of religious Koreans are Buddhist (46%), followed by Protestants (39%), and Catholics (13%).

One of the most fascinating aspects of religion in Korea is how it has adapted and evolved over time to reflect changes in society. For example, during the Joseon Dynasty, Confucianism became the dominant philosophy and greatly influenced Korean culture and values. Today, however, younger generations are more likely to identify as atheist or to follow new religious movements that combine elements of traditional Korean religions with modern ideas.

Another interesting aspect of religion in Korea is how it has influenced other countries in the region. For example, Buddhism was introduced to Japan from Korea in the 6th century, and many Japanese Buddhist temples were modeled after Korean ones. Similarly, Korean Catholicism has had a significant impact on Catholicism in China and Vietnam.

Despite the generally high level of religious tolerance in Korea, there have been instances of conflict between religious groups. For example, there have been tensions between Buddhists and Christians over issues such as the construction of new religious buildings. In addition, certain new religious movements have been criticized for being cult-like or promoting extremist views.

Overall, religion continues to be an important part of Korean society, even as the country becomes more secularized. Whether through traditional religions like Buddhism and Confucianism or through newer movements like Won Buddhism and Cheondogyo, Koreans continue to seek meaning and spiritual fulfillment through their beliefs.

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