Religious Conflict and Coexistence in Korea

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 1813

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Religious Studies, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Interests: sociology of religion; civil religion; cosmopolitanism; Korean religious philosophy; religious issues in Korea
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
College of Humanities, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Interests: comparative religion; Korean shamanism; religion and mythology; Korean christianity
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As human beings, we are ceaselessly in pursuit of avenues to satisfy our innate yearnings for transcendence and fulfillment. Paradoxically, our expansion in intelligence, deepening social connections, and broadening aesthetic horizons, while a testament to our freedom and creativity, have often posed challenges rather than liberating us from constraints. In a world more interconnected and communicative than ever before, courtesy of advances in communication and transportation, and despite our exposure to universal aspirations for freedom, security, and prosperity, our society remains marred by mutual suspicions and fears, suffering from political polarization, ideological extremism, and religious fundamentalism. Even amidst well-established laws, policies, regulations, and moral norms, we find ourselves not entirely secure. A prevailing sense persists that our community has lost the sacred canopy or symbolic framework that once furnished us with a profound sense of self, connection, and belonging.

Korea, much like many other nations, grapples with distrust, division, and disharmony. Despite religion's substantial contributions to the nation's formation, survival, and prosperity—from its role in nation-building and independence movements to its contributions to democratization—it continues to wrestle with mutual suspicion, animosity, and hatred. For instance, the Korean public increasingly fails to recognize religion's significant societal value; a recent survey revealed that half of the population now identifies as non-religious, downplaying its positive role. Two major faith communities, notably Protestant Christians and Buddhists, have occasionally found themselves embroiled in conflicts over influence, with each side accusing the other of receiving preferential treatment in policies and often blaming one another for perceived indifference to societal needs. Additionally, there is considerable public tension stemming from a lack of knowledge and understanding of religions at all levels, spanning from world religions and mainstream religious beliefs to new religious movements (NRMs) and folk religion/shamanism. In particular, Islam, relatively new to the Korean public, faces prejudice and unwarranted toxic opinions, which, in turn, shape negative discourse related to accepting refugees and permitting the construction of mosques in towns. Often, invisible but palpable religious conflicts are concealed beneath the surface, masquerading as evangelism and competition.

Call for Papers: As an extension and update of the Special Issue published in 2020 (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/special_issues/Korean_Religion), we extend a warm invitation to scholars to contribute their expertise, delving into concepts, theories, interpretations, and strategies aimed at deepening and broadening our understanding of religion and religious conflict, with a specific focus on the Korean context. Researchers are encouraged to explore these themes through various methodological approaches, encompassing disciplines such as history, anthropology, psychology, textual studies, theology, and sociology, among others.

Topics of Interest (not exhaustive):

Historical perspectives on religious conflict and peace in Korea;

Psychological and sociological analysis of religious tensions;

Interactions between major religions in Korea;

Religious freedom and legal frameworks;

Role of religion in nation-building, democratization, and peaceful co-existence;

Intercultural and interfaith dialogue in Korea;

Education and religious literacy;

Media portrayal of religion and its impact;

Strategies for promoting religious coexistence;

Comparative studies on religious conflict in Korea;

Contribution of religion in multicultural education;

Role of religion in transnational phenomena in Korea.

We look forward to receiving your contributions and fostering a deeper understanding of religious conflict and coexistence in the Korean context. Together, we can contribute to building a more harmonious and inclusive society.

Dr. Song-Chong Lee
Prof. Dr. Yohan Yoo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Korean religion
  • religious conflict
  • interreligious dialogue

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 389 KiB  
Article
Ham Sok Hon: Bridging Spirituality and Politics
by Song-Chong Lee
Religions 2024, 15(5), 601; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050601 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 336
Abstract
This paper aims to offer an interpretation of Ham Sok Hon’s views on the dynamic relationship between religion and politics. While considerable discussion has already taken place in the Korean academic community across various fields, including philosophy, theology, and political science, many of [...] Read more.
This paper aims to offer an interpretation of Ham Sok Hon’s views on the dynamic relationship between religion and politics. While considerable discussion has already taken place in the Korean academic community across various fields, including philosophy, theology, and political science, many of which propose ssial philosophy as the metaphysical foundation of his political thoughts, there still remains a need for a more systematic understanding of their relationship, which I argue is closely linked to his concept of jeonilhwa gwajeong (the process of unification/integration). By exploring Ham’s unique analysis, particularly in relation to the notion of ipcheseong (stereoscopic/multi-dimensional), this paper will underscore their shared roots and objectives across different spheres of life: one pertaining to salim (human affairs) seeking the pursuit of fairness and equality, and the other dealing with spirituality, aspiring to grasp the sublime aspects of human existence. Both religion and politics, as these movements are termed, are mutually dependent, with their culmination promising peace and harmony in historical reality. Through highlighting Ham’s integrated perspective on religion and politics, I will ultimately suggest a specific discourse—civil religion—as a theoretical framework to effectively unravels Ham’s viewpoints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence in Korea)
24 pages, 355 KiB  
Article
A Study of the Aekmagi Ritual in Jeju Shamanic Religion: Focusing on the Sacred Status of Shamans and the Significance of Sacrifice
by Yohan Yoo
Religions 2024, 15(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15010060 - 2 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1090
Abstract
In the Jeju shamanic religion, chickens have been sacrificed for aekmagi, a ritual to prevent aek, a looming misfortune that may cause death. Whereas ordinary participants are thought to be at risk of harm when possessing or eating chickens or other offerings [...] Read more.
In the Jeju shamanic religion, chickens have been sacrificed for aekmagi, a ritual to prevent aek, a looming misfortune that may cause death. Whereas ordinary participants are thought to be at risk of harm when possessing or eating chickens or other offerings made to prevent aek, the simbang, Jeju shamans, are thought to be immune to it. Simbang are believed to be permanently on the threshold between the human and the divine realms. They help remove aek but are not harmed by it, because it only harms humans in the human realm, not the person on the boundary. While the other participants are temporarily placed in the liminal state during aekmagi and come back to the ordinary living human realm after the ritual, simbang remain in the perpetual liminal state. Chicken sacrifice has been omitted from aekmagi since around 2010 in most places in Jeju-do. Though ritual killing is no longer practiced, adherents still think that aek is prevented by aekmagi. The Jeju people believe that gods are the main agents of preventing aek and that they can persuade the gods to do the work without receiving chickens’ lives. In addition, due to the change in people’s view on killing animals, aekmagi without chicken sacrifice has become a more efficient ritual system for nourishing social sustenance by following the new social prescription. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence in Korea)
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