Be Careful About Mixing Our Faith With Indigenous Beliefs

Someone asked this question during Living Life Bible Study. “My parents recently received Jesus and were baptized. When they moved furniture, they followed the rules of feng shui. They said that feng shui was accepted as a branch of science and awards a Ph D…”

It is natural for older generations who have been accustomed to the traditional belief system of Korea to be drawn to such a theory. In fact, my mother was saved in her advanced age, she often mentioned her horoscope and I had to correct her each time. It has been more than 10 years since she was saved and she attends church regularly and reads the bible diligently. I am pleased to report that as a result she gained a better understanding about such matters which relate to false belief and truth.

Fen Shui, horoscopes, fortune telling, etc. are deeply ingrained into Korean culture and are mostly from Yin -Yang and the Five Elements theory. These days some claim that based on modern science, some of these make sense and therefore, they are believable. These are not scholarly facts but work of evil spirit. Therefore, God strictly forbids us from turning to mediums or seeking spiritualists for we will be defiled by them. (Leviticus 19:31)

In particular, we need to be careful not to mix Christianity with indigenous beliefs. In the 4th century, Christianity became the national religion of the Roman Empire and as an effort to expand its political power, Christianity continuously absorbed aboriginal beliefs and several of those unpleasant vestiges can be still observed. For example, Resurrection Sunday is called Easter. This word is from Easter, goddess of Canaan which is mentioned in the Bible. It stemmed from the idea that it might be easier to convert natives if they name the day of worshiping Easter to the day of resurrection.

One thing which was unknowingly mixed up in our lives is ‘memorial service on the 49th day after death’. Previously, Catholics offered a 49th day memorial service to late bishop Kim SuHwan. Recently, they offered the same to Mr. Kim Youngsam, the former president who was a Christian. With these, this 49th day memorial service is becoming a norm. However, this is originally from Hinduism and based on the doctrine of samsara of Buddhism.

According to the doctrine of samsara, when someone passes away, his spirit waits for 49 days to receive the next life. During this time period, the living offer a memorial service for the dead so that the dead will go to a better place and receive a better life. Samohje (visiting grave on 3rd day after the burial to comfort the spirit of dead) is in a similar line. However, we believe in God’s words which teach that our souls return to Him upon our death. Also, we need to worship God only. Comforting the spirit of dead or praying so that the spirit will go to a better place is not according to God’s words. It is very important for us to remember that.

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