Indonesia's Religions and the Gospel Truth |

TBC Staff - EN

Indonesia's Religions and the 'Gospel Truth' [Excerpts]

Indonesians must declare which of the seven state-sanctioned religions they follow, but there appears to be a big difference between what they say and what they do.

While more Muslims live in Indonesia than in any other country in the world, it isn't an Islamic state. Its 1945 constitution guarantees freedom of religion; however, Indonesians are required to declare which one of the state-recognized religions they follow so that it can be stated on their national ID card.

Originally, the five recognized religions were Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Confucianism was added later, and the Baha'i faith became the latest addition in 2014.

According to a 2010 religion census in Indonesia, 87.18 percent of Indonesia's population of 237.6 million people declared themselves as following Islam, 6.96 percent Christian-Protestant, 2.91 percent Christian-Catholic, 1.69 percent Hinduism, .72 percent Buddhism, .05 percent Confucianism, and .49 other, not stated or not asked.

Though these statistics point to a high adherence to the state-sanctioned religions, in practical everyday life, animism and belief in the power of good and evil spirits influence social behavior.

The reality is that "the No. 1 religion in Indonesia is animism: animistic Islam, animistic Catholicism, animistic Christianity, animistic Buddhism," Turnow said. "That's a hard thing for new [Christian] believers to overcome," due to their fear of the spirit world, he added, "because that's how they've grown up all their life."

(Gaston, Baptist Press, " Indonesia's religions and the 'Gospel truth'," February 5, 2016).