In Indonesia, religion plays a great role. The Indonesian Constitution guarantees all people in Indonesia the freedom of religion or of worship according to their own beliefs. In Indonesia there are 6 official religions: Islam, Catholicism, Protestanism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. The growth of religion has come way before the Independence of the Nation. It has built up somewhat of the life of Indonesians today. Read about 20 Importance of Religion in Indonesia to find out more:
- First Principle of Pancasila
Pancasila is the foundation of Indonesia that consists of 5 principles that outlines everything there is in Indonesia. Pancasila was introduced in 1945 by Soekarno, the first president of Indonesia. The first principle states the belief upon “the one and only God”. Underlining the importance of religion and faith in Indonesia.
- Regional Identity
Most of the people of Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan are Muslims. Some parts of Sumatra and East Timor as well as Papua largely practices Christianity. Hinduism and Buddhism are practiced in Bali. In Indonesia, someone’s religion commonly can be identified by where they are from. But it’s not always true.
- Law and Policies
As it has been said before, the constitution protects the freedom of religion. Even so, there are some law and policies that limit that freedom. Meaning, there are some law and policies that control the religious activity in Indonesia and some that are influenced by religion as well.
Religion is a huge deal in Indonesia. It is illegal to not have a religion. Someone’s religion is even stated on the ID card (KTP) along with the usual information of name, date of birth, address.
- Culture Infusion
Religion practices in Indonesia is viewed as an acculturation of religion and culture. For example, Islam has been infused with the Javanese culture, which holds some Buddhism and Hinduism values. As Buddhism and Hinduism are the two of the earliest religions that came into the country.
The early history of Indonesia (even when it wasn’t even called Indonesia yet) was influenced by the religion. Buddhism and Hinduism was the first to arrive, brought by traders from India. That is why, the oldest temples and statues in Indonesia was Hindu and Buddha temples/statues. After that came along Islam by traders from Arab. Followed by Christianity from Europe. Religion played a big role in every era of Indonesia’s history, shaping Indonesia like what it is today.
See also: Buddhist Temples in Bali
In Indonesia, there are currently a lot of religion-related problems, especially in Politics. Religion are used to be a political weapon by politicians for campaigns etc. In some countries, the political system is influeced by religion especially the monarchs.
- Daily activities
Daily life schedule of Indonesian are influenced by their religion. Especially for Muslims who pray 5 times a day with a definite schedule. That is why it is very common to find a room provided for praying in offices and public places as well.
Individuals identify strongly with their religion. It is a public assumption to label people based on their religion. In Indonesia, that is mostly the case. For example by assuming most Christians are westerns. Even with knowing the fact that each person is different and not supposed to be identified by their religion.
Each religion has different rules and needs. The habit of eating, behaving, and clothing are among the things that is clearly stated by the rules of certain religions. For example for Muslims, they are forbidden to eat pork. That grows into a habit that is commonly known, that is why most restaurants serves halal or pork-free food.
- Social Welfare
Religion promotes social welfare. All religions teach to love and care the poor and needy. It emphasises on social welfare activites such as charity and volunteering to help others.
- More Holidays
Every religion has their own special day. Muslims have their Eid, Christians have their Christmas, Buddhists have their Vesak, and many more. In Indonesia, each special day is marked as a holiday for everyone!
Religions have their own values or dogma. Some schools or institutions focus on teaching that. Therefore there are some schools that is specialized to teach certain religious dogma. In Indonesia these schools are available in every level of education (primary, secondary, to higher education).
Religion teaches values on how to be a better individual. I don’t believe that there is a religion that teaches the contrary. Emphaty, honesty, respect especially to the elders, and so on. Religion becomes important in Indonesia because it supports Indonesians to be a better person and citizen.
Indonesia acknowledges 6 different religions, each with different cultures and values. These religions can be found all across the land rising the diversity in Indonesia. When you are in Indonesia you can find different people with different beliefs in one place. This is one of the reason Indonesia has a very high diversity.
With all the differences of beliefs in Indonesia, Indonesians grow to respect one another. Everyone are treated equally because it doesn’t matter what religion you have, in the eyes of law we are all the same. Even so, lately there are conflicts that contradicts the equality of all religions in Indonesia.
More on why religion is important in Indonesia:
- Solidarity: Strengthens social solidarity based on common belief
- Art: Religion influences art such as music, paintings, calligraphy, etc.
- Social status: In some religions there are significant status given to people with higher religious knowlede. These people are respected and have a certain role in the society.
- Influences the Economy: The economic condition is influenced by religious activities or events. In Indonesia it mostly happens in Islam special days such as Eid.
Religion is considered one of the most important aspects in the society in Indonesia. Indonesia has a high religious diversity in Indonesia and it is found everywhere across the land. The diversity teaches us to respect and love one another.