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Historical Religious Structure and the Rapid Growth of Protestantism in Korean Society, 1945-1990

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Authors
Chol, Set Byol
Issue Date
2002-06
Publisher
Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
Citation
Development and Society, Vol.31 No.1, pp. 163-187
Abstract
The underlying purpose of this paper is to explain the rapid growth of Protestantism in modern Korean society. My basic argument is that this phenomenon is not simply a change in the religious sphere but the culmination of changes in contemporary Korean society arising from its historical, political, and economic development. To overcome the problems latent in previous studies, I develop a new framework that incorporates historical religious structure, organizational aspects of religion, and the role of the state as contributory factors to the Protestant boom in Korea. From a societal perspective, this paper will first examine the anomic, social context induced by rapid political and economic changes in Korea. Second, at an organizational level, the various aspects of each religion as an organization will be explored, including evangelical strategies and social activities designed to increase legitimacy. However, I will argue that the fundamental basis for the explosive growth of Christianity in modern Korea lies in the discrepancy between the nominal religious identification and the actual belief system of the Korean people. The origin of this discrepancy can be traced to the historical religious structure of Korean society, in which the state occupies a dominant position, particularly during the First Republic.
ISSN
1598-8074
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/86638
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소)Development and Society Development and Society Vol.31 No.1/2 (2002)
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