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Koreans trust Catholicism most

But survey reveals credibility of religions in general is inferior to doctors and teachers

  • Korea
  • November 2, 2011
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Catholicism is the most trusted religion among Koreans while religions in general have low credibility, according to a recent survey on people’s attitudes towards major institutions.

The survey -- the results of which were released yesterday -- was conducted by the Jogye Order’s Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Society. The institute surveyed 1,500 people aged 16-69 from September 26 to October 15.

Among the major religions, Koreans most trust Catholicism which scored 4.11 out of 5 points, followed by Buddhism with 4.05, Protestantism with 3.34, Won Buddhism with 2.31 and Islam with 1.20.

However, it noted that religions generally have rather low credibility since they collectively scored 3 out of 5 points.

Political and government institutions were the least trusted, and failed to score above 2.5 points, while those in the media and financial sectors fared little better, struggling to hit 2.9.

Institutions in the medical sector were the most respected, followed by those in business and education fields, which all scored over three points, according to the survey.

Explaining Catholicism’s high score, James Byun Jin-heung, former secretary-general of the Korean Conference on Religion and Peace, said the late cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan and the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice had played pivotal roles in South Korean democratization in the 1970-80s.

“We, Catholics, are still benefitting from their contribution to society,” he said.

But the relative low scores for religions in general “has become a cause of worry,” and which could be blamed on frequent conflict between faiths, he noted.

He warned the Church not to rest on its laurels saying issues such as authoritarianism within its ranks could have a negative impact on public perceptions.
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