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Shamanistic influences on Korean Christianity 
15th-Feb-2006 01:37 pm
I’ve been reading an article about Shamanistic influences in Korean Christianity at the Rick Ross website. (http://www.rickross.com/reference/yoidoyonggi/yoido3.html) I have seen this discussed on forums before, but I was able to connect some of the things that were said to my own experiences with UBF.

For example, the author of the article, Jeremy Reynalds, writes:
“One Korean scholar believes that Shamanism poses a very real danger to Biblical Christianity. He writes, "Korean Christianity faces imminent and dramatic confrontation with the power of Shamanism. If we overcome, we remain true to Jesus Christ. If we compromise, we are reduced to yet another form of Shamanism with Christian veneer" (Lee 1994:3-4). This same scholar says that "bok," or material blessing, lies at the heart of Shamanism. He says that among other (negative concepts) shamanism emphasizes material blessing and success in society without any accompanying concern for others. "It is individualistic, self-centered and possessed with selfism; a combination which results in divisiveness. Bok is not amenable to either individual or social ethics" (Lee 1994:4). With this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that the concept of Biblical blessing eventually became distorted in the Korean church.”

I remember that after spending time with UBF members, I started to hear a lot about how God will "bless" us, not only with spiritual riches, but also materially (for example, when we got a large tax return, this was “God’s blessing” in our lives). Also, these blessings were connected with the things we would do in life; if we faithfully carried out the “ministry” God had for us (a UBF-based ministry), we would gain God’s blessing. I have no problem believing that God blesses us when we obey him (for example, He blessed Daniel when Daniel abstained from food forbidden by God). But I have also learned that sometimes, people who live godly lives have hard lives in this world, and sometimes those who live apart from God have comfortable lives in this world (for example, in the parable about the rich man and Lazarus, in which the sinful man is rich in this life, and godly Lazarus is a poor man). We had started to think we would be guaranteed “blessings” if we did the things UBF prescribed for us. When things in our lives started to get difficult, we thought we were doing something wrong, even though God often uses hard times to test and strengthen our faith. Another quote in the comments section...
Comments 
16th-Feb-2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
To use a familiar phrase that I just hate: No culture is perfect. But IMO, it needs to be recognized that not all cultural "imperfections" that infect Christianity are equal in the impact they may have on "the flock." The confucianism that infects Korean Christianity has a greater chance of reaching a point where members of a church are severely abused, manipulated and taken advantage of and nothing done about it. I also don't think that all cultures are created equal. UBF, in using the "it's just a cultural difference" argument, tries to leverage the post-modernish notion that "cultural elements" are somehow beyond good and evil, exempt from any judgment based on any moral standards.
17th-Feb-2006 01:11 am (UTC) - cultural relativism
UBF, in using the "it's just a cultural difference" argument, tries to leverage the post-modernish notion that "cultural elements" are somehow beyond good and evil, exempt from any judgment based on any moral standards.

Actually, it's not a post-modernish notion. It's just good old-fashioned cultural relativism. So, UBF, this supposedly Christian organization has continually appealed to cultural relativism to try to defend its practices for the last 30 years or so.
17th-Feb-2006 01:22 am (UTC) - Re: cultural relativism
Here's another (more Christian worldview oriented) link on cultural relativism: http://www.cultural-relativism.com/
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