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1 IntroductionThis paper is designed to answer the puzzle Why have Koreansincreasingly converted to Christianity during the 1970s I argue thatKoreans came to favor Christianity due to the aftermath of modernizationthat took place during 1950s-80s Among the key characteristics ofmodernization two factors caused the growth of Christianity in thisperiod Democratization and Christianitys attempt to fulfill thespiritual needs of Koreans in the turbulent timesBackgroundDespite having a few obstacles in the beginning overall Christianattempt to take root in Korea was rather smooth In this section Iwould like to talk about the background factors that improved the statusof Christianity in Korea before the liberation in the year 1945A century before the Protestant missionaries began to arrive in Koreaduring the 1880s Catholic faith visited the peninsula first in 1784Catholicism began to spread in the aristocratic class yangban charmedby this new religion and their western view of seeing the world But thegovernment regarded this catholic believers as subversive elements whoquestion the conventional root of society by refusing to performtraditional rites such as chesa an annual ceremony toward theancestors A series of persecution and martyrdom soon followed in theearly 1800s and Catholics suffered heavily for 70 years But theywithstood the severe suppression and continued to hold meetings andspread the gospel to expand the Catholic communities in KoreaSome scholars argue that because of Catholics effort to plantthemselves in the nation and propagate their religion Protestantism hadless trouble settling down in the nation Catholicism fulfilled its jobas a pioneer and therefore it was less likely for Koreans to showhostility towards Protestantism In other words they were alreadyfamiliar with the characteristics of western religion their ideas andvalues With less or no obstacles on the way Protestantism evangelizedeasily with the help of translated scriptures and naturalizedtheological termsWe can count the establishment of schools and hospitals as practicaland concrete contributions of Christianity to the Korean society Beforethe Japanese colonization period primary purpose of these schools wasmissionary work But their impact on society and culture cannot beregarded
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