Indonesia is one of the most religious country in the world. Religion is mandatory, not again just a matter of people’s heart like western people beliefs. Among the 257,6 million people in entire country, almost all of it is Muslim. The amount of Muslim people in Indonesia is now reaching up to 85%, leading Indonesia to be one of the largest Muslim country in Indonesia. However, now let’s talk about another biggest religion in Indonesia : Christianity. In this article, we will talk further about Christianity and the growth of Christianity in this particular country. (Also read :Religion in Indonesia)
As one of the oldest Abrahamic religion, I’m sure you have heard of this religion, if not familiar with it. Christianity is monotheism religion, in which the believers beliefs that there is only one God. They also belief in trinity, which means that the God essence is in three Godhead : Father, Son, and the holy spirit.Christian people believe that Jesus is the Son of God and He was bringing the world a good news from God. This particular religion is the biggest religion in the entire world, however in this country, Christianity is the second largest religion. ( Read also : Christmas in Indonesia )
This particular sect originally came from Yudea and spreading around to Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia, Egypt, Ethiopeia, and India. At the end of fourth century, Christian becomes the official religion of Roman empire. Along its history, Christianity faced many differential opinions and this led to theology controversy that resulting in the emerged of various churches. Three biggest branches of Christian religions are catholic church, east orthodox churches, and Protestant.
The First Arrival of Christianity in Indonesia
The first and foremost source of Christianity was first introduced by Abu Salih Al-Armini, an Egypt Christian who write an encyclopedia book regarding this matter. He lived in the middle of 12th century. According to his book, there were several Nestorian church located in western Sumatera that was located in the near camphor wood production place. However, scientists argue that Al-Armini might be wrong at his book and this location is actually placed in a city of India.
In 1511, Portuguese came to Malacca strain (now it’s called Malaysia) to do some business trade with the locals. They decided to go further to the east and found even better place filled with resources : Ternate, the capital city of Maluku Island (Indonesia). They then settled with little village to live in this place. They were welcomed by the majority of the locals because both parties knew the benefits of this business cooperation. ( Read : Communist party in Indonesia )
Then, 1524 was the year when Portuguese starting to actively promote Christianity to the locals, making the amount of people that entered Christianity in this particular area were increasing until up to 20%. However, even though Portuguese was one of the first influencer of this religion, later in 1960s, there were big war between the citizen of Maluku island and Portuguese people about religion matter. This makes the citizen of Maluku lost their faith to Portuguese people and their influence was seriously damaged. The era of Portuguese was over and it was replaced by the Netherlands. However, everyone knows that the first influencer of people in Indonesia regarding Christianity was Portuguese people.
The Growth of Christianity in Indonesia
Christianity Growth in Indonesia began in 2014, About 90 percent from 245,3 million people in Indonesia are Muslim. Indonesia come to the 47th position for open door world watch list, 50 countries with “Most difficult country to be when you are a Christian” (Said the quotable media). However, a report from CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) in 2012 said that the growth of Christianity in Indonesia is phenomenal. Billy Njotorahardjo, a pastor from the country of Indonesia said that the amount of churches in Indonesia is growing rapidly, from 400 churches to more than 6000 churches. This is all happening in only 4 years.
Meanwhile, according to TIME magazine (Indonesian version), when the Jakarta Praise community was found 10 years ago, this particular community has only 200 members. Now, the events and public worship that is held could be attended by no less than 5.500 members (majority of them comes from urban community). Evangelic community claimed that their members reaches the number of 15.000 members in only two years. They even managed to build Evangelical Reformed Millennium Center Churches complex in Kemayoran area, with the capacity of 4500 people. The building of this churches complex needs around $30 million and the government license was given in the time of 17 years. (see also: Festivals in Indonesia)
Christianity and Islamic people are able to live together and they tend to respect each other. Even though there were some serious cases in the past regarding this differences of religion, nowadays, such cases has been reducing by much amount. The amount of people that are converting to Christianity is also jumping up nowadays, with the Christian representing almost 15% of Indonesia’s overall citizens. According to Mercy Mission data, about 2 million Muslims people convert to Christianity every single year, resulting in the significance improvement in the amount of overall Christians people here in Indonesia. The growth of Christianity was reaching 9% (Catholic+protestant) in 2014 alone (According to Al-Atsar foundation – Magelang ).
According to a survey from Teologia USA, the reason of why people chose to convert to Christianity is varied. However, it is a fact that the growth in Christianity happened because there are much people that are converting to this religion, rather than just following their family (religion from birth). These reasons are the most popular ones. (see also: Scouting in Indonesia)
- Christianity lifestyle – people know that in Christianity, men and women are having the same level of worth. There is no favorite in between, they are two different things and they are beautiful together, needing one another. Other than that, Christians are also take compassion to the next level, as it is one of the most important thing that Christian do : love one another.
- The terms love your enemy – This is another favorite reason as to why people are interested in entering the Christianity world. Jesus preach that we must love our enemy just like we love our friends, and this is one of the most compassionate thing that we could do as human beings as human are all basically the same. This is also one of the many reasons why more and more people are converting to Christianity each day. (see also: Table Manners in Indonesia)
Christianity in Indonesia Nowadays
Christianity Growth in Indonesia has been developed in each country in archipelago. Even if Christianity is the biggest religion in the entire world, you could practically say that this is a minority religion in this country, especially when you compare it with Islam. This is why there is certain effects that you could get from being a Christian in this country. You have a slighter disadvantage when it comes to your social and politics life, because Muslim people tend to favor another people with the same religion as them. However, the case of certain differences nowadays has been reducing.
So, there you have it. The brief explanation about Christianity and the growth of Christianity in Indonesia. If you want to learn more about it, you could always read books that is related to that matter or doing further research. Regardless of your religion, I personally believe that this is a beliefs in our hearth that are personal and we suppose to keep it to ourselves. Religion always teaching human beings to do good things, so practically, the foundation of all religion is good. Everything is depending on the person who interprets it. The real important thing is that we find ways to live peacefully together as human being; the one species here on planet earth.
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