Korean American Religion
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The Korean-American community has different religions because of the interaction with various influences championing domination of these religions in the history. These dominations have been transferred to the current settlements. Religious dominance may be accelerated by the core emphasis or the teachings of the religion which cause people to widely accept it or not. For example, Budhism taught that mental and moral purification could help an individual free him or herself from the suffering in life, which is inherent. Religion depict a grouping of a people that have been brought together by common and particular interests and may encourage ethnicity where it favors individuals from a particular ethnic community or lead to the enlightenment of the people joining it to view others in a more positive manner and therefore improve interaction.
The Korean Christian Church has been considered as growing rapidly, and with a role of providing pivotal community functions (psychological, educational and social). It has been indicated that the community could have suffered persecution from their powerful neighbors China and Japan for centuries and therefore needed spiritual solace, and this could have resulted to the domination of the aforementioned religious group. The dominance of the Christian religion may be considered advantageous in that it has remained pivotal in the lives of the immigrants in terms of championing for their freedom and teaching Korean.
It has also been indicated that the Christianity spread among the Koreans during the Korea War could have been carried into America. This may have aided the spread of the aforementioned religion. The fact that the result has been the encouragement of ethnic churches with most attendants as Korean-American may be considered a negative result, because it contributes to ethnicity.
Understanding of the building and maintaining of the community may be boosted by the understanding of knowing how to build and maintain a family. This may be in the case with the Koreans who happens to be more family or community-oriented than nation-oriented (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, n.d.). However, this may result in negative effects since integrating the whole community which has different people may be affected. The United States for example is a country that is much diversified in terms of culture and traditions. Korean-American Catholics have accused of unwilling to mingle with other communities in the United States. This has happened amidst low number of educated clergy who understand the new environment. Thus this may result to weakened institutions of social, educational and liturgical nature that could support the community for the incorporation of new immigrants (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, n.d.).
The church in the Korean American community was considered by the first-generation immigrants as a place of social interaction and cultural identity. However, there has been indicted to have been no uniformity in this conception because the second and the third-generation immigrants did not share the culture or language of the first generation (Locke, 1998). This conception may further lead to the disintegration of the solidarity of the Korean Americans as new immigrants enter and choose a church of their own other than entering the ethnic church, because they have their religious preferences too.
The church has also been said to perform the role of socializing the second-generation into the Korean culture in addition to legitimizing and defending a set of traditional Korean values and forms of relationships. These in a way may be considered as both positive results of religion and partly negative (Kelly Chong, 1998; cited in Kim, 2004). Positive is in the sense that they may retain important and advantageous traditions, while on the negative they may prevent complete incorporation and assimilation of the populations into their current settlements making them to continue looking at themselves as separate entities. Findings have however differed with its conception because Second-generation Korean American-SGKA’s religious services have been found to be different from those of the first-generation and that the parents’ churches do not form the basis of the modeling of the SGKA and other Asian American evangelicals’ churches (Jeung, 2002; cited in Kim, 2004).
Locke, D. (1998). Increasing multicultural understanding. Sage Publications. USA
Rebecca, K. (2004). Second-generation Korean American evangelicals: ethnic, multiethnic, or white campus ministries? Sociology of Religion, Spring. Retrieved 1 August 2009 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SOR/is_1_65/ai_n6141809/pg_5/?tag=content;col1
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cultural Diversity in the Church. Retrieved 1 August 2009 from http://usccb.org/apa/koreans.shtml