Wintermute here, and today we are going to be talking about religion in South Korea. In my last post Ed had asked, "aren't a lot of Koreans Christian?" I'm sorry but no, only about 10% of Korea's 49 million people are Christian, and typically are Catholic. But heres a very interesting point, if you visit Korea one of the first things you'd notice aside from the immediate size difference between you and them is that there are a lot of Churches. You can not go down a street without seeing at least 4 neon crosses glowing bright throughout the night. It was always interesting seeing these as it felt more of a competition, who had the taller steeple, the brighter one, most were red but some dared to go green, one even dual wielded two neon crosses atop their church. My walk home from school was about 40 minutes, most of the time was spent hiking through mountains, but even still I could count up to 30 crosses.
But why would a country that has only 10% Christians have so many churches. 50% of the country declare themselves completely uninhibited by spiritual believes. However, almost half of Korea is Buddhist, and a common Buddhist trait is to accept and explore all other religious beliefs, so maybe thats why. Again some of it has to do with being judged, you don't want to be known as that family that doesn't go to church. So even though you wouldn't declare yourselves a Christian you go to church to let others know you are a good person as the Christians are. Interesting fact I was told once, Church service in Korea last practically all day long, the point is for you to go in when you can and leave when you want to. It's not expected of you to stay all day long.
For those of you who are wondering if there are any church services for you in English the simple answer is yes. Would I recommend them, not really no. There was one located in Seoul city, in the worst district of the town, known for its trans-gender and rapid homosexual activity, every street and alley dotted with bars. In fact this church was located in a bar. I went, after spending 3 hours through tunnels to emerge near a taco bell, soon to become my new holy sanctuary for the day. I went inside the bar/church, and sat through the service, talked with some people, the greater majority of them were just one weekers staying with family. Now I'm not judging, really I'm not, there is nothing wrong with a church in bar, if thats where God put them, then I'm sure theres a very good reason for it. I left and went out to eat with the church goers at some Indian place, wasn't too good so I left and went back to the subway to get me some delicious taco bell. Word to the wise however, there are no chalupas :(