A Korean Gallup survey based on 1500 adults over the ages of 18 made last year was published recently, and reported on by the Catholic Times. There is much in the report that leaves some Christian's sad.
The number of religious people has declined from what it was 10 years before. Those in their 20s and 30s who have abandoned religion have increased, and the age of those with religious beliefs has increased. Ten years ago, 45 percent of the young had a religious belief, today it is only 31 percent.
Buddhists, according to the report have the largest number of believers with 22 percent, Protestants are second with 21 percent and Catholics, 7 percent. The figure for Catholics at 7 percent is much lower than the 10 percent the Church understands to be Catholic.
45 percent of the Koreans are not believers because they have no interest. Most look to religion for peace. 58 percent of the Catholics have this as their purpose. In 1984, 57 percent of the respondents prayed at least once a day, on the recent survey this has dropped to 30 percent. Catholics who never read the Bible 10 years ago was 11 percent this has increased to 30 percent, and those who go to church at least once a week was 59 percent.
Those who think that religion is important has also decreased. Catholics in 1984, 97 percent considered their faith life important, this has decreased to 81 percent in 2014. Protestants continue to maintain the importance of their faith life with a percentage over 90 percent.
Those with religious belief, 37 percent would agree that if the horoscopes are not harmonious it would be wise not to marry. Catholics in 2014, 26 percent agreed, in 2014 this increased to 32 percent. 45 percent of the Catholics feel that a propitious grave site would be favorable to the descendents.
The difference between Catholics and those without any religion was slight in what they believe on moral questions. Religion's influence on society, according to the respondents, has dropped from 68 percent in 1984 to 47 percent. 87 percent of the Protestants, 79 percent of the Catholics, and 67 percent of Buddhists and 48 percent of non believers think religion is a help to society.
What is the degree of religious people's observance in practicing love and mercy? In 1984, 56 percent of the citizens answered this positively, and of the believers, 67 percent did. In 2014 only 34 percent of the citizens saw religious people positively, and those with a religious belief it was 45 percent.
How many of the clerics and religious leaders do you believe are not qualified to be in their position? There are many: 22 percent. There are some: 65 percent, only 13 percent disagreed. In 2004, 46 percent thought the authoritarianism of the clergy was a problem, but this dropped to 33 percent in 2014. 68 percent of Koreans think that religions want to raise their numbers and not in search of truth.
In the question what do you want to say to your religious leaders, the number one issue for Catholics: they want the clergy to refrain from talking about any thing that is not religious, 5 percent of the respondents saw this as important. There is a lot in the survey that is not new; the results should provide matter for discussion and planning for the future.