Image 28 of 28
According Associated Press-Ipsos poll of the United States and nine of its allies on religious attitudes, 19 percent of Koreans said they did not believe in God, the highest percentage among nations polled. According to the poll, Buddhism was the most popular religion in Korea with 24 percent of the respondents regarding themselves as its followers. Twenty-three percent and 11 percent identified Protestantism and Catholicism, respectively. Christianity was unkown in the Korean Peninsula before the 18th century. The social composition of the two Christian communities was different as well. The Protestants were by no means an elite group, but they included a large number of the best and brightest. Catholicism, on the contrary, remained the religion of simple, uneducated people, largely farmers and small craftsmen. The Catholics were deeply involved in the change of the regime. In 1974 one of the most radical Catholics, Bishop Chi Hak-sun, was imprisoned for allegedly supporting anti-government activities. The arrest of the bishop was a shock and led to an outpouring of resistance. From that time, the Catholic churches became major strongholds of the opposition. The nationÕs major cathedral, Myngdong Cathedral in Seoul, was the usual place of the democracy rallies, and the priests often signed sharply worded anti-government declarations. Today the Protestant activism gain growth and the percentage is higher than Catholics. *** Local Caption *** Church in Central Seoul.