Religions in Indonesia – Facts and History

Indonesia is already known as country with full of diversity. Indonesia is a home of numerous ethnic groups, languages, and also religions. The National motto of Indonesia called “Unity in Diversity” helps the 17,500 islands united together. Meanwhile, religion in Indonesia has an important role to developed the positive change of country. It stated in Indonesian National Ideology. Then, every aspects such as politics, and economies, have been influenced some religions in Indonesia.

In the 1945 Constitution said that each citizen ensured for given the freedom in choosing and practicing their religion. In fact, around 90% of Indonesians identify themselves as Muslim. Although It has six religions recognized by the government. Indonesia got the title of the world largest Muslim population of any country. The religions are Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism

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Immigrants who came to Indonesia have a main role of religious and cultural diversity in the country. Immigrants mainly came from India, China, Portugal, Arabic and Dutch. However, It changed regularly for adjusted cultures in Indonesia.

The first official religion which adopted in Indonesia is Confucianism, followed by Hinduism and Buddhism. Confucianism adapted in third century with not so much influence. Meanwhile, Hinduism and Buddhism were around second and fourth century. The traders established Hinduism and Buddhism to influenced kingdoms such as Kutai, Srivijaya, Majapahit, and Sailendra.

Then, In 14th century, Islam was entered Indonesia through Gujarat, India. Islam spread around west Sumatra. Both of Christianity religion entered in different century. Catholicism entered in 14th century, while Protestantism entered in 16th century.

Catholicism was brought by Italian named Franciscan monk Odorico Mattiussi. He led a Roman Catholic mission to the country. In 1603,  The Netherlands company came to Indonesia and influenced the Protestantism religion. Mostly in Sumatra Island.

Overall, The development of religions in Indonesia has taken along time to adopted in . Meanwhile, the spread of each religion in archipelago has growth rapidly. Therefore, the religion can be embraced by Indonesian as well as the growth population in every territory until now.

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Historical record said that Hinduism entered Indonesia around 1st century. Hinduism brought by Dwipayana from India and Buddha payien from China. The entry of Hinduism to Indonesia made a big impacts. It ended the period of prehistoric with the changed of beliefs into religion. Hinduism was influence for the most kingdom in Indonesia. The archaeological objects in the 4th century has contained information about Hinduism existence.

There are some Theories about the development of Hinduism in Indonesia

  • Brahma Theory – It presented by Van Leur. Hinduism was entered in Indonesia through Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma did a long journey for spread religion.
  • Ksatria Theory – It presented by Nehru. Hinduism was entered through India’s army who want to take over Indonesia.
  • Waisya Theory – It presented by Krom. Traders entered Indonesia and spread Hinduism in Indonesia.

[toggle title=”1. Kutai Kingdom” state=”opened”]

The first Kingdom who adopted Hinduism in Indonesia is Kutai kingdom. It located in Muara Kaman, around the edge of the Mahakam River in East Kalimantan, Kalimantan island.  It established by Kudungga during the 4th century. The evidence was found the heritage of Kutai kingdom called Yupa. Yupa is a stone pillar to tie the animal and offered to Lord Brahma. Yupa is written by Pallawa words in Sansekerta.

Based on Yupa, the first king of Hinduism kingdom is Aswawarman. It proven by the Greatness of Dinasty founder. Aswawarman has three children, one of whom was named Mulawarman. In Mulawarman era, Kutai kingdom successfully developed into a great empire.

Mulawarman ruled Kutai kingdom wisely. During his reign, The Brahmas also built an inscribed stone. It for showed gratitude to the King Mulawarman. The king has given gifts to them a viscous oil, light, and cattle as many as 20,000 birds.

There are some heritage of Kutai kingdom which assembly of Hinduism.

  • Yupa – The oldest relic which proved about Hinduism kingdom in Kalimantan.
  • The Golden Turtle – This is the unique of Hinduism heritage and now being kept in Mulawarman museum. The shape is half size of fist. It used by a prince of the kingdom in China for the princess Kutai, Aji Bidara Putih. The Prince gave the golden turtle as a proof of his sincerity who wanted to marry the princess.
  • The Sultan Throne – One of heritage which still kept in Mulawarman Museum. It used by Kings of Kutai kingdom and decorated with umbrellas, banners and Bride places.

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[toggle title=”2.Tarumanegara Kingdom“]

Hinduism was entered in Java since 5th century. It adopted as religion by Tarumanegara Kingdom. The heritage was found in Tarumanegara kingdom is a Bronze in Cebaya. It used attributes of Lord Shiva. Then, King Purnawarman built a drain for prevent flood. The process of drain marked by handover 1000 cows to Lord Brahma. It obtained information that King Purnawarman of Tarumanegara kingdom was hinduism. He was brave as Lord Vhisnu.

The discovery of inscriptions found there as the evidence of Hinduism existence. There are:

  • Ciareuteun inscription – Found in Bogor, west Java. There are the feet of King Purnawarman. King Purnawarman considered a manifestation of Lord Vishnu.
  • Jambu inscription – Found in southwest Bogor. The evidence is letter “Tarumayam” (Tarumanegara)
  • Lebak inscription – Found in Pandeglang, Banten city. It said that King Purnawarman was a great king.
  • Kebon Kopi inscription – Found in Bogor with elephant vehicle of Lord Vhisnu’s footprint named “Airawata”.
  • Tugu inscription – Found in North Jakarta. It described a story of drain.
  • Pasir Awi inscription – Found in Bogor. The painting of footprints and some words with curl shape.

Kingdom Tarumanegara was the oldest Hinduism kingdom in Java. Monk Gunawarman was taught about Hinduism theories at that time.

[toggle title=”3.Kediri Kingdom“]

Kediri kingdom is a kingdom with shades of Hindu-Buddhist. It established since 10th century and part of the Ancient Mataram Kingdom. The center of the kingdom located in the Brantas river. Kediri kingdom is an agrarian empire with their first king named Samarawijaya.

King Jayabaya was a popular king with his predictions. Its prediction are recorded in a book called literature of Jayabaya. Kediri kingdom is left many heritages of Hinduism like temples, inscriptions, and literature.

There are some heritage of temples by Kediri kingdom.

  1. Penataran temple – Located on the slope of Kelud mount, east Java. It was built in King Srengga era until Wirakramawardhan about 12th and 14th century.
  2. Tondowongso temple – The temple was found in east Java. According to the shape of statues at the temple, it known was built in ninth century. Along with movement of politic center from central to east Java.

Second, some heritage of inscriptions such as:

  1. Kamulan inscription – Found in Kamulan, east Java. It was built in King Kertajaya era about 11th century. It describes about Trenggalek city.
  2. Galunggung inscription – Found in Tulung Agung, east Java. It contains a letter in Javanese with a total of 20 lines. The engraved letters still difficult to read.
  3. Talan inscription – Found in Blitar, east Java. The inscription made in 11th century. It contains Garudhamukalanca sculpture, sculptural shape of the human body with the head of Garuda bird.

Third, some heritage of literature, such as:

  1. Krisnayana literature – Authored by Ancestor Triguna. It tells the story of Krisna. Krisna has extraordinary strength but likes to help others. Krishna is beloved by most people and then married to Goddess Rukmin.
  2. Sumarasantaka literature – Authored by Ancestor Monaguna. It tells about Harini curse, Angel of heaven who lived in earth until the curse is over.
  3. Gatotkacasraya literature – Authored by Ancestor Panuluh. It tells the story the heroic side of Ghatotkacha who managed to unite the son of Arjuna. Namely Abimayu with Siti Sundhari.

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[toggle title=”4.Singosari Kingdom“]

This kingdom was established by Ken Arok. Before known as Akuwu Tumapel and helped Brahma of Kediri to defeated King Kertajaya, last prince of Kediri. It around 12th century and located in Malang, east Java. There are some heritage of Hinduism existence such as temples, statue, and inscriptions.

The temples are:

  1. Singosari temple – The first heritage of Singosari kingdom. It used for tombs of Singosari king.
  2. Kidal temple – Located in east Java and built in mid 13th century. It was an expression of respected the great King Anusapati. The king ruled the government of kingdom for 20 years.
  3. Jawi temple – Located in Pasuruan, east Java. It can be find right at the foot of Welirang mount. It was as the ash storage area for the latest King of Singosari kingdom, King Kertanegara.
  4. Jago temple – The temple made of andesite rock arranged. It also resembles a terrace punden known to have uniqueness. The uniqueness lies in the upper part of the temple were decapitated and only the remaining part of it.

[toggle title=”5.Mataram Kuno Kingdom“]

Mataram Kuno kingdom was the biggest kingdom in Java. It located in central Java since eighth century, but moved to east Java in 10th century. Mataram Kuno kingdom is often called by Bhumi Mataram. The first King named King Sanjaya. Kingdom collapsed in 11th century with many historical heritage. Most of them are temples and inscriptions with Hinduism-Buddhism existence on it.

There are the heritage of temples by Mataram Kuno kingdom.

  1. Borobudur temple – The biggest temple of Mataram Kuno kingdom’s heritage. It also already well-known as the largest Buddhism temple in the world.
  2. Sewu temple – Located around Prambanan temple area. Sewu is the second largest temple after Borobudur.
  3. Bima temple – Located in central Java. Its architecture is similar with India temple.
  4. Puntadewa temple – Located in Arjuna temple area. It has a small size but looks tall and patterned by Hinduism.

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[toggle title=”6. Majapahit Kingdom“]

Majapahit kingdom is the greatest and the last empire in archipelago. It left many heritage and Palapa pledge was the one which formed the Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Cultural in Diversity). It established in 1293 and collapsed at 15th century. There are some temples of Hinduism heritage by Majapahit kingdom.

  1. Wringin Lawang temple – Made by red brick and it reaches 15,5 meters in 14th century. The temple expected to be the gate for enter Majapahit kingdom.
  2. Bajang Ratu temple – Located in east Java and established in 14th century. The gate is used for entrance sacred building and commemorates the death of King Jayanegara.
  3. Brahu temple – Located in Archaeological site of Trowulan. Brahu temple used for burial place of the kings of Majapahit.



Buddhism was the second religion in Indonesia. It said that Buddhism came around 4th century along with Hinduism. According to experts, Buddhism was brought by Fa Shien, traveler from China. Fa Hien arrived in Java at 414 AD. After he visited India for six years, he opened the darkness of religious life in Java. For 5 months, he stayed in Java and said that many Buddhism have different faith with India. However, Monk Gunawarman, the son of King of Kashmir (India) helped to spread Buddhism in Java.

Meanwhile, In Sumatra, Buddhism religion was dark at the first. Then, the arrival of I-Tsing around 671 AD brought the light. He came to Sribhoja kingdom which near to Palembang, South Sumatera. He said that the kings are Buddhists and the kingdom was the most important center. Over 1,000  Monk of Dhamma studied as India students did. So this is an indication that Buddhism had entered Indonesia.

In eighth century, Buddhism spread by Dharmadutas of Sarvastivada school. It came from north India. The arrival of the Dharmadutas to Indonesia encouraged people to go to India. Then, visit the holy places and educational centers of Buddhism. Sriwijaya kingdom was the first Buddhism kingdom and the Buddhism center in century.

Buddhism in Indonesia has its own literature. The literature are “The Admission of Four Noble Truth” which contain ” The eighth of life”. The Four Noble Truths are the literature which the first introduced by the Buddha. Every Buddha always taught the four Noble Truths, although with a different language in every country.

The Four noble truths are :

  • Truths about their ‘suffering’ (dukkha)
  • The noble truth about the cause of suffering
  • The noble truth of the cessation of suffering
  • The noble truth about the path to the cessation of suffering

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[toggle title=”1. Kalingga Kingdom” state=”opened”]

Kalingga kingdom was popular as Holing kingdom, is one of the Buddhist kingdom in Java. Located in central Java. The name of Kalingga was adopted from the name of kingdom in south India. Kalingga kingdom was ruled by a queen named Sima. It was in 674 AD.

Queen Sima was a honest, thoughtful, decisive, and also adhere to the rules of the kingdom. So, People adhere to all regulations cause queen Sima doesn’t discriminate people. There are some heritage of Kalingga kingdom such as inscriptions and temples.

There are some heritage of Kalingga kingdom.

  1. Tukmas inscription – Located in Magelang, central Java. It contains the Pallawa letters with Sansekerta language. There are also pictures of jugs, axes, and lotus flower. Meanwhile, The inscription said that the river flow is clear as Ganges river in India.
  2. Angin temple – Located in Jepara city. It has an older age than Borobudur temple.
  3. Bubrah temple – One of Buddhist temple located between Rara Jonggrang and Sewu temple in central Java.

[toggle title=”2. Srivijaya Kingdom“]

Srivijaya kingdom is one of the largest Buddhist kingdom in Indonesia. It controlled the Strait of Malacca in their era. It established in seventh century. the name of Srivijaya also has history. Sri means luminous while Wijaya means victory. So that Srivijaya means resounding victory.

According of the historal record of I-Tsing, Srivijaya has an important role as a science and Buddhism in southeast in Asia.Srivijaya became the center of meeting between the scholars of Buddhism from China to India. Scholars came from various countries gathered to discuss a literature of Buddhism.

Then, Srivijaya envolved Mahayana’s literature. The development of Buddhism was widely reported by I-Tsing. He stayed in Srivijaya kingdom for 10 years. he studied and taught Buddhism literature from Sanskrit to Chinese language.

There are some inscriptions which represent the Buddhism existence in Srivijaya kingdom.

  • Kota Kapur inscription – It contains a request to the Gods for the safety of the people and also Srivijaya kingdom
  • Ligor inscription – Located in South Thailand. The sculptures is written in both sides. First side is about the valor of Srivijaya kingdom. The king of the king in the world. Meanwhile the other side is about the award called “Visnu Sesawarimadawimathana” for Sri Maharaja.
  • Kedukan Bukit inscription – It contains a story about delegate from Srivijaya named Dapunta Hyang which did a long journey with boat called “Sidhayarta”. Along with 2000 troops, He conquered other territories.
  • Talang Tuwo inscription – Found in Palembang, South Sumatera. It contains prayers which potrayed the Buddhism religion used by Srivijaya is Mahayana Buddhism



Islam came to Indonesia when various religion already spread in Indonesia. The arrival of Islam in every regions were not same at the time. Then, It risen a several theories and opinions about when the influenced of Islam in Indonesia. Both of these are not only based on the evidence, but also the historical records.

The theories include three times. There are :

  1. The Entry of Islam since 7th Century – Some historians said that Islam was entered Indonesia since 7th century. This opinion based on the news which derived from Arab traders. The Arab traders came to built trade relations between Arab and Indonesia in Srivijaya kingdom era. The first territory which adopted Islam is Samudera Pasai in North Sumatera. Samudera Pasai was the gateway to other parts in Indonesia.  From Samudera Pasai, Islam spred to Malaka then into Java. The entry of islam to Java was explained in China news during Tang Dynasty.
  2. The Entry of Islam since 11th Century – Some historians told that Islam was entered since 11th century based on found one tombstone. The tombstone was belong to Fatimah bin Maimun in Gresik city, east Java. It contains a letter “1082” AD.
  3. The Entry of Islam since 13th century – In addition to some opinions, other historians believed that Islam was spread in 13th century.  The evidences was found are Abasiah Dynasty was collapsed in Baghdad (1285), news of Marcopolo (1292), then a tombstone of Sultan Malik Al Saleh in Samudera Pasai (1297), lastly a news of Ibn Battuta (1345).

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There are also Theories about what countries which brought Islam to Indonesia and spread it all over areas.

[toggle title=”Mecca Theory” state=”opened”]It said that Islam directly came from Mecca in Hijriyah century around 7th century. It based on an opinion from Hj. Abdul Karim Amrullah or known as Hamka. It said that Islam spread in Indonesia not because economic factors. HAMKA actually believes the people of Islam in Indonesia embraced Islam thanks to the Arabs, not only through trade alone.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Gujarat Theory”]Gujarat argues that Islam came to Indonesian since 13th century from Gujarat. It based on Netherlands scholar named Pinapel, student of Laiden University. However, the direct spread of Islam to Indonesia for the first time it was not the Arabs, but the merchants of Gujarat who had converted to Islam first. Furthermore, the people of Gujarat which first opened trade relations with Indonesia than Arab traders.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Persia Theory”]This theory argues that Islam came from Persia (Iran).  The opinion came from a historian named Hosein Djajadiningrat. He is more focused on analysis about comparation both cultures between Indonesia and Persia.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”China Theory”]The advent of Islam for the first time originated from China immigrants. Through trade, China has been contact with Indonesian before Islam was known in Indonesia. In some sources said that the first king in Demak kingdom is Chinese.[/toggle]

The Development of Islam in Indonesia

The spread of Islam carried by Arab traders. In seventh century, there is only a few people who embrace Islam as their religion. It because of the power Hindu-Budhism still maintenance their existence. The distribute of Islam takes a long process from 7th century until 13th century. During that time, Traders from Gujarat, India, and Persia influence Islam intensively in all over areas they visit. Mainly in area of trade center. Meanwhile, Indonesian traders who already embraced Islam also contributed as well to spread Islam in other parts of Indonesia.

As a results, Islam became spread widely among the public, especially in coastal areas. At the end of 12th century, Srivijaya kingdom has began to slump. Moreover, Muslim traders active to contribute on conducting political role.Then, in 13th century, around the year 1285, It established the first Islam Kingdom named Samudera Pasai. Meanwhile, Malaka as an important trading center also the center of Islam development changed into a new kingdom called the Sultanate of Malacca.

In Java, Demak stood as the first Islam kingdom around 1500 AD. The development of the Demak kingdom as the islamic kingdom followed by the Sultanate of Banten and Cirebon Sultanate. In other Java, also spread and established Islam kingdom such as Gowa Sultanate, Ternate Sultanate, and Banjar Sultanate.

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Spreads of Islam Development in Indonesia

The process of Islam came to Indonesia and spread all over territory needs a long time. There are the several ways how Islam peacefully adopted in Indonesia.

  • Trade – The development of Islam carried out by Muslim traders who settled in the port cities to established the town became muslim town. It already selected since the early history of Islam in Indonesia.
  • Marriage – The spread of Islam also done by someone who already embrace Islam marry someone who has not embrace Islam. Eventually, His/Her partner will embrace Islam.
  • Literature – Muslim scholars spread Islam through give out some information about Islam religion. In Java, the spread of Islam cannot be separated from the role of Wali Songo. The word “Wali” is a term for people who reached the highest level of knowledge and appreciation in Islam. They also have magical powers because some of the, are Sufism. There are some Wali who spread Islam in Java.
    • Sunan Kalijaga
    • Sunan Ampel
    • Sunan Giri
    • Sunan Bonang
    • Sunan Drajat
    • Sunan Muria
    • Sunan Gunung Jati
    • Sunan Kudus
    • Maulana Malik Ibrahim
  • Education – This process is done b setting up the boarding school in order to learn Islam deepen than before.
  • Cultures and Traditions – Using arts and cultures such as a leather puppet made by Sunan Kalijaga, Sekaten ceremony, and other literary arts.
  • Sufism – Sufism is religion literature that has mixed with mystical and magical things. Therefore, Sufism usually proficient using magical and mystic to heal other people. Along with the development of Sufism, the scholars also teaching Islam by adjusting the mindset of society which oriented in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Heritage of Islam Development in Indonesia

Since the culture and Islam religion came to Indonesia, There was a process calles “Islamisasi” of the society in entire archipelago. Along with that process, Socio-cultural began to change towards the information of culture based on Islam. As we already know above that the culture of Indonesia still full of Hindu-Buddhist pattern. However, when Islam entered, the process of cultural integration of Hindu-Buddhist with Islamic culture become unavoidable.

The process of intergration with three elements on it happened caused no tension between them. As in the intergration process, some historical heritage can be seen as evidence until now.

[toggle title=”Mosque” state=”opened”]Mosque is one of historical record of Islam development in Indonesia. As it is known that Mosque is a place for Muslim to pray, So that it is easy to find Islamic architecture. As related to the strong culture of Hinduism and Buddhism in the early spread of Islam in Indonesia, the art architecture of the mosque is also influenced by the local culture acculturation that time. The uniqueness can be found in the arrangement of the roof and a pyramid-shaped staircase.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Calligraphy”]Aside of Mosque, the art of calligraphy is one of historical record of Islam existence. Calligraphy is an art of writing Arabic with beautiful style and composition. Arabic writing type is generally taken from pieces of Qur’an version.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Palace Keraton”]Palace is home to the king and his family actually has existed since the time of cultural influences of Hinduism and Buddhism. Palace is home to the king and his family actually has existed since the time of cultural influences of Hinduism and Buddhism. The architecture of Keraton was influenced by Islam since Islam entered Indonesia. Keraton mostly find in Java island.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Islam Literature”]Literature is written with mysticism, tale, chronicle, and poetry on it.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Boarding school”]Boarding school is an educational institution that spawned many scholars. Boarding school is regarded as one of historical record which considered to have participated as symbols of Islam.[/toggle]

The Reasons that Islam Easily Accepted in Indonesia

The process of Islam development is easily accepted has many reasons. It supported the following factors, such as:

  1. For being Muslim, Someone only said a “Syahadat Sentences”.
  2. The Prayer is easy to follow and remember.
  3. Islam does not recognize a division of caste.
  4. The rule of Islam is flexible.
  5. The spread of Islam is done peacefully without any violence.
  6. Easily adapted in society.


Catholic is a religion which used to refer Christianity based on Vatican, Rome. Later known as “Catholic Christianity” . It because the historical record said that Catholic is very closely to Christianity in Nazerat. led by Jesus Christ. The term comes from Greek letter. Catholic means the religion is universal for all human. Therefore, Church  must spread his literature to the world.

Historical record reveals that Christianity came to Indonesia along with the arrival of the western nations in 16th century. Then people began to embraced Christianity in Maluku, by the Roman of the church which came from Portuguese.

The Christianity development also come through shipping and trading activities. Chatolic entered Indonesia along with arrival of Portuguese. followed by Spanish who want to traded herbs and spices. Many Portuguese want to spread Catholitism in Indonesia. It began in Maluku around 1534. Then between 1546 until 1547. the pioneer of Christian missionary named Francis Xavier, visited the islands and did baptize for several thousand locals.

Durin 16th century. Portuguese and Spanish began to expand the influence of Christianity in Manado and Minahasa, North Sulawesi. One of the mission is spread Catholic, but it did not lasting since the VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie), the Netherlands East India Company, managed to expel the Spanish and Portuguese of North Sulawesi.

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Development during 16th and 17th centuries

  1. Maluku – City which became main target by Portuguese people. Maluku is a trade center of herbs and spices. In 1512 They arrived in Hitu city to buy cloves and nutmeg. They visited in village near Hatiwi and Tawiri beaches. Then, They spread Catholic by Pastor named Fransiscus Xaverius . He devoted his life to the development of Chatolic religion.
  2. Minahasa – One of city in north Sulawesi. The spread of Catholic began since Portuguese visited the area in the second half of 16th century. It for political and economic factors. In 1585, there was a visit from pastors in Manado. Then, Spain taken over north Sulawesi and Maluku. Their power also influenced the spread of Catholic religion until VOC taken over and prohibited all Catholic religion activities in North Sulawesi.

Development during 18th to 20th centuries

After in the mid of 18th century,  The war was won by VOC then the spreading of Catholic was prohibited. It changed to development of Protestant religion. Meanwhile, The development of Catholic became stagnant due to there is no political protection from Portuguese.

During 18th century, Catholic religion not so much has an improvement in development. The influence between the power of Portuguese which already decrease and the war of powee by local people became concerned in Sulawesi.

Then in 19th century, The development between Catholic and Protestant began to increase in Netherlands east indies. It because influence of development in Europe, for conquer the world which still undeveloped. It also the spirit of Protestants which built a new organizations.

Next, Sumatra island the next target for spread the Catholic religion. Catholic pioneer came after the Protestant in their third decade of 19th century. Meanwhile, in Kalimantan, Catholic spread began in late 19th century. The island which development a Catholic religion is west Papua.


The Development of  Protestant Christianity in Indonesia began during the Netherlands colonial period (VOC), around 16th century. VOC which condemns the Catholic religion succesfully managed to increase the number of Protestant followers in Indonesia. Protestant growth rapidly in 20th century. It marked by the arrival of missionaries from Europe to several territories in Indonesia, such as in the western Papua island and less in Sunda island.

In 1965,  people who have not embraced any religion considered as Atheism. Threfore, they do not get their rights as citizens. As a results, Protestant church experienced a growth of member rapidly, and most of them feel uneasy over the political ideals of Islamic parties. VOC also helped to fund the establisment of schools and financing efforts to translate a gospel to local language.

The spread of Protestant gained rapidly at Rafflesia Arnoldi era. Christian religion developed rapidly in eastern Indonesia. Catholic religion is also growing in Minahasa after the Portuguese stopped at the site in the 16th century.


Confucianism is also known as Kong Hu Cu was a named of the great sage and philosopher from China. He was concerned with personal and governmental morality. It became so popular because of strong principle of traditional Chinese. For those who embraced Confucianism, He was recognized as prophet.

Kong Hu Cu was the first developers to intergrate between the minds and beliefs in fundamental aspects of China. The Philosophy related with morality of human being and conception of  a government for serve the people with his attitude. It absorbed deeply both of lifes and cultures in China people for over two thousand years.  Moreover, it also effect the half of population in the world.

The Literature of Confucianism 

Kong Hu Cu is often regarded as one that found a religion but he declined it. He seldom tangled his philosophy with God’s literature, rejected topic about afterlife, dodged every assumptions which closed to astrology. He is only a Philosopher who dealing with the problems of political morality and private morality and behavior.

Ancestor Worship is the mainly basic of Chinese beliefs even before the birth of Kong Hu Cu. It proved that Chinese is emphasis on loyalty to relatives and respects for parents. There are literature in Confucianism :

  1. Human is born to the world to carry out of building a better work for every human generation. It used to make a better and comfortable life in future. Therefore, Old generation must be teach the young people about faith, skill, and courage to face life.
  2. Human must development his/herself for increases all potential and skill which given by God. So that human can be useful to other people.
  3. Confucianism must willing to give his best to their nationality.
  4. The basic manifestation of human faith is devote to parents. The family is where a life begins. Therefore, every human must be prepare to have a prosperous and happy family.

The Development of Confucianism in Indonesia

The spread of Confucianism began with the arrival of Chinese people in Indonesia. They teach their children for doing prayer in Confucianism every day. If many people already embrace Confucianism, they will built a temple to pray together. Temples in Indonesia was generally established by the Confucianism people.

During late 19th and early 20th century, there was an idea to established a formal institutions of Confucianism religion. Its kind of formal schools around the world including the Netherlands East Indies. The first school of Confucianism was Tionghoa Hwee Koan school. The effort was not really successful. This school initially teach about Confuniacism then turned to be public school. Meanwhile, Hwee Koan school managed to attract other Tionghoa children in Netherlands East Indies for learn Chinese language and cultures.

Therefore, Netherlands government worried about the adverse impact of their government. Then, Netherlands builth a Netherlands school for Chinese people called HCS while for Indonesian is HIS. However, The Netherlands never thought the proper education to Indonesia. Then the establishment of Chinese school in Netherlands forced the growth of Chinese people population in Indonesia.

The growth of the Confucianism school in Indonesia became stagnant. Then, It forced the leaders of Confucianism built other Confucianism schools in several cities. In 1923, The first institute established in Jogjakarta called disebut “Khong Kauw Cong Hwee”. However, this school not bring the significant improvement for Confucianism. It because  the influences of World War I and II.

Pros and Cons of Confucianism in Indonesia

The pros of Confucianism in Indonesia alleges that the cons have their own motive include the followers (Ummah) and funds. The more followers, the more the funds that can be assembled.  It based on reality in life. Meanwhile, the cons declined all statements by the pros. they throw the fact about the literature of Confucianism.

The cons said that the development about teachings in Monotheism. It said that religion is the revelation to God revealed by prophet through their holy. In fact, the prophet is the messenger of God. Because Kong Hu Cu only human, not Prophet which recorded in Monotheism, So Confucianism can not claimed as religion.

This argument is basically a conflict between the teachings of monotheism to polytheism. Then the endless debate can not be avoided at that time. In reality, there is the Prophet in Monotheism but not recognized by other religions.  Moreover, there is religion which not claimed other religion as the proper religion. The opposition to the recognition based on the argument above. However, many people do not want to shouted about this argument.

The Legal Basic of Confucianism Recognition in Indonesia

Human right is a fundamental right which already inherent to human since birth. No one can revoke or violate human rights. One of the common rights for people is choosing religion. Everyone is free to embrace their religion according his beliefs. Its already guaranteed in Constitution of Indonesia in Article 28 E paragraph 1. It explains that “everyone is free to embrace and worship according to his religion”.

Indonesia as pluralistic country which consists of a wide variety of cultures, respects for differences. Differences should not be perceived as triggers of conflict. It should be viewed as an asset of cultural wealth. Each region in Indonesia has its culture respectively. As well as the confidence in Indonesia. Even in old times, Indonesia known as religion country which characterized by Animism and Dynamism in society. Therefore, the protection of religion become important in Indonesia.

For more than 20 years, the Confucius stayed in uncertainty. Finally, during the reform era, K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid, The third president of Indonesia, issued Presidential decree No.6 of 2000. It concern about revocation of Presidential decree No.14 in 1967 about religion, beliefs, and customs of China. Therefore, with the declaration of this decree, the Confucius can be free to do everything in order to develop their religion in Indonesia.

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