A professor of religious studies in a secular university writes in a bulletin for priests on the religious situation in Korea. For over 50 years, the religious population of the country continued to rise but then sharply began to decrease. From 2005 to 2015 it decreased from 53.1 % to 43.9%.
The Korean Gallup survey made earlier this year showed the same results. In 2004 the religious population of the country was up to 54%, in 2014 it was 50% in 2021 it was 40%. The percentage of the younger generation was even more pronounced. In 2021 those in their 20s who are believers 22%, in their 30s, 30% in the 40s, 32%. 98 percent of the believers in Korea are members of the three main creeds.
Among the religions, Buddhism decreased from 22% to 16 %, Protestantism from 21 % to 17 %, and Catholics from 7% to 6 %. Surprisingly the good feeling towards religion has gone from 33% in 2004 to 46% in 2014 and in 2021 it went up to 61%. The professor believes this is the result of the many who have left their religion.
It was understood that in a society where fears of danger were present we had a demand for religion and its growth. In Korea because of the pandemic for well over a year, in a 'high-risk society, paradoxically, the decline in the religious population in Korea, is a mystery.
At that time, he thought it was necessary to distinguish in predicting the change in the religious population, to distinguish between the entire external religious terrain and the internal. (I wonder if this is not what the West sees in the phrase I am not religious but spiritual)
He sees in the last 20 years in Korea a noticeable increase in hazards to the good life. Jobs are harder to find, less security in labor, small business problems, the five day week and 40 hours have brought about voluntary and involuntary problems which has made religious life more difficult for many.
The overall decrease in the frequency of social remarks by the church, selective remarks, and when dealing with political, social, and ethical topics it's only conservative images that the citizens hear.
Working together in the Church, in establishing a human network that will proclaim an integrated Catholic policy would be the best emergency prescription to reverse the trend of abandoning religion.
In the mid-to-long-term outlook, important to prevent polarization of society, a situation that keeps vulnerable people away from the church, and to help everyone enjoy weekend life.