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article on Korean churches 
13th-Mar-2006 01:45 pm
Here is an article by a student of Korean origin that won an essay contest at Stoney Brook University in New York:
The author poses the question: Is the quality of Korean churches compatible with its quantity? I thought it was interesting and helped me understand even better some of the problems facing Korean churches.
13th-Mar-2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot, freeinchrist, for this fair and profound article. It really explains a lot. What I started to learn is that UBF is only the tip of the iceberg. UBF is only a particularly ugly excrescence of a Korean Christianity which has already tremendous problems in itself.

I'm not saying that the German Christianity is better. It's also problematic, though in a different way. Maybe even worse. However, the difference is that the German Christianity does not *claim* to be the best and the greatest and is going to rescue the world by sending out thousands of missionaries.
13th-Mar-2006 10:25 pm (UTC) - starting to see the whole iceberg
Yes, I feel that I'm starting to see the bigger picture too. I'm finding a lot of articles online about these same issues in Korean Christianity. Just wanted to note also that by no means do I believe all Koreans who are Christians have these problems.
14th-Mar-2006 03:39 am (UTC)
Also see an earlier thread on Confucianism and Korean Christianity and how it might relate to UBF: http://www.livejournal.com/users/rsqubf/25150.html
14th-Mar-2006 07:12 am (UTC)
What is somewhat new in this article is that it also emphasizes Shamanism, not only Confucianism, though somebody has quoted another article about that aspect recently. And yes, I start to see that Korean Christianity has these Shamanistic elements which may be just as harmful as the Confucianistic ones. A third negative element is Nationalism, i.e. the belief that *Korean* Christianity and *Korean* World Mission is the best or should be the best. They even export this nationalism to other countries, by teaching us that *our* country should be a "priestful nation". This is not what the Bible says which emphasizes the global unity of all Christians of every nation as the priestful nation. UBF-like nationalism and pride however is opposed to unity. Thus the many divisions in Korea (about which Samuel Lee complained, but he himself divided from the church and was the cause for later divisions in his own organization).

We can see all of these negative elemets at work in the little world of UBF.

Confucianism -> sets up the stage for authority abuse
Shamanism -> sets up the stage for magical thinking, wrong image of God, subconcious fears
Nationalism -> sets up the stage for pride, elitism, divisions

With "magical thinking" I mean beliefs like "if I obey the leader, I will be blessed, otherwise I might experience an accident" or "if I obey the leader, I will get the best partner for marriage". What is called "by faith" in UBF is often actually this kind of "magical thinking". It's also the image of a God who must be "appeased" and "placated" by regular offerings (tithe), Sogam writing, obedience to superiors, "absolute" attendance of prescribed meetings, who must be "persuaded" to accomplish certain number goals by repeated prayer etc. What makes UBF so harmful and aberrant is the poisonous mix of these three negative elements, plus a power monger leader who is skillfully exploiting these things.

What I find particularly annoying is not that these negative things exist, but that many Koreans (particularly the UBF Koreans) are not aware of them, and even if they see the bad fruit, as in UBF, they stupidly claim that everything is ok with them, nothing needs to be changed, and criticism is only "persecution". There is a frightening lack of ability of self-introspection and self-criticism and an inability to accept criticism from outsiders. Did you ever see an UBFers think about such possible negative elements or dangers? If they criticize anything about themselves, then they would only cricize that they were not obedient enough, or were not able to produce enough numbers etc. But they never question their general paradigms, the root of their faith, motivation etc. The bad root is never treated in UBF, and if they claim "we have changed..." it's only a cosmetic change or simply a lie to fool the members or the public.
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