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Open AccessArticle

Similar but Superior: Rhetoric of Coexistence Employed by Religions in Jeju Island, Korea

Department of Religious Studies, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
This article relies on many of the materials that I used in a paper that was published in Korean in a Korean journal (Yoo 2012). Unlike the former work that devoted many pages to a general explanation of religious topography of Jeju Island, this article focuses on the rhetoric of coexistence employed by Jeju religions.
Religions 2020, 11(4), 198;
Received: 25 March 2020 / Revised: 10 April 2020 / Accepted: 15 April 2020 / Published: 18 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence: The Korean Context and Beyond)
Religions in Jeju, South Korea, have sometimes been in conflict with each other, but have generally coexisted peacefully. In a situation where diverse religions share an island that is isolated from the mainland, they have emphasized that they are similar yet superior to their rivals. Religions that were imported to Jeju, including Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity, have tried to make themselves look familiar to Jeju people on the basis of people’s knowledge of preexisting religions. These religions sometimes embraced rituals of preexisting religions to which people were strongly attached. The Jeju indigenous religion has also acknowledged that the ideas and practices of Buddhism and Confucianism have remarkable similarities to those of its own. Simultaneously, each religion in Jeju has claimed its superiority over others. Religions in Jeju have argued that other religions’ partial truth and limited value are in sharp contrast with the complete truth and superior value of their own. They have asserted that only they can provide the proper way of keeping the order of the universe or attaining salvation of human beings. This common rhetoric that “my religion is similar but superior to other religions” has been repeated in Jeju, in order to persuade people outside the religion to accept or at least approve it on the one hand, and to maintain the peaceful coexistence with other religions on the other hand. View Full-Text
Keywords: religious conflicts; coexistence of religions; Korean religions; Jeju Island religious conflicts; coexistence of religions; Korean religions; Jeju Island
MDPI and ACS Style

Yoo, Y. Similar but Superior: Rhetoric of Coexistence Employed by Religions in Jeju Island, Korea. Religions 2020, 11, 198.

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