Catholicism has the highest trust level on South Korea according to a survey conducted
recently by the Jogye Order Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Society. The study
was conducted on a sample of 1,200 people aged 16 and over. The results show that
the nationwide confidence in religions generally dropped from 25% to 11.8%.
Catholicism was the most trusted (38.9 percent), followed by Buddhism (32.8 percent) and Protestantism (10.2 percent). Priests, according to the survey, inspire most confidence: 51.3% of respondents considered them - regardless of creed - good people; the monks follow with 38.5% and pastors with 17%.
Meanwhile, people thought reducing the gap between the rich and poor was the most pressing issue (42.8 percent). They also considered the most valuable social value "fairness and equality" (24.3 percent).
What they regarded highly was that the religions "take care of and comfort the
weak and the suffering." But they regarded "the lack of transparency in finances"
the greatest problem.
The religious concept has gained ground in terms of its influence on society, scoring 40.4% against 26.7% of those who consider it irrelevant. The Koreans respect "more than anything else," the care for the weak and the suffering by people with religious beliefs, but they fear "the lack of transparency in the financial sector", defining it as "the worst problem of religions today."
Although South Korea is not widely regarded as a Catholic country, approximately 5 million South Koreans -- 10 percent of the population -- are Catholic.
Since the 1960s, Catholicism has been associated with progressivism in South Korea after the church played a resounding pro-democracy role when the country was run by a military dictatorship. The religion largely was credited for the shift from military rule to democracy in 1987, and has been popular among South Koreans ever since.
In August 2014, Pope Francis visited South Korea as part of his acknowledgement of Asia’s growing importance to the Catholic Church. (AsiaNews)
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