17 Unique Beliefs in Indonesia – Faith

We’ve already took a little bit look at some of the list of another 17. Top 17 dishes, Top 17 foods or maybe for just some usual stuff in Indonesia. However, now e’re going into some other thing in human life, belief. Like you can see, in Indonesia there are many beliefs that people have for a long time.

Maybe you’re only thinking about the official religions in Indonesia, like Islam, Christian, Hinduism, or maybe Buddhism. But there are many others to be found! Luckily we can share with you about the rest of  other beliefs in Indonesia, 17 in total. We divided the sections into three, The Official Beliefs, The Traditional, and lastly the beliefs of the ancient that many people still have until now. So lets go to the first one, shall we?

Official Beliefs

Here the information about how many official beliefs in Indonesia, as follows:

1. Islam

Like you can see in many books or informations on the internet, the people who take Islam in Indonesia are so abundant. Stretching from the West Side of Indonesia until the East Side of indonesia, which is Papua Island. According to the informations found in the records, Islam firstly spread by Middle East merchants. They were spreading across the country, because Indonesia was a good place to do trading. By their existence with Islam, many people wanted to know more about Islam, and finally took it as their beliefs until now, passing through generations. And by that, now Islam becomes the dominant belief in Indonesia.

See also:

2. Protestantism

The next is the Protestantism. Actually this is the most famous belief in the Colonial Era. Many people from VOC brought this belief to Indonesia from their homeland. The rules of VOC make them more easy to spread the Protestantism. As the result, the plan of Protestantism was successful in the ’20. Many people took it, and liked it. Then, Protestantism has three major areas of this belief in Indonesia until now. There are mostly areas in the east side, like North Sulawesi, Papua, and West Papua. The people applied it beautifully in their life and finally became better persons thanks to it.

See also:

3. Catholicism

The catholicism actually entered Indonesia in the 7th century. A little old than Protestantism. They actual start was believed to be in North Sumatra, Barus City. There’s standing the church of Maria, believed to be the first center of Catholicism in Indonesia. Then, after the arrival of Spain and Portuguese, the catholicism spreading to other areas. But that didn’t last long, because VOC arrived. They have rules that stricted any connection to Spain and Portuguese in any ways, including religion/belief. But in discreet, people still carrying it through archipelago.

See also:

4. Hinduism

So, this belief existed since the Kingdom Era. You know, the ancient era where Kingdoms still standing firmly attacking each other from glory. This belief arrived at the 1st century, along with the belief of Buddhism. Many temples built in the name of Hinduism. Probably you already know about the famous temple of Prambanan. The people in Bali dominating Indonesia with this belief, for about 1,5 % of Indonesian’s population (about 6,5 million persons).

See also:

5. Buddhism

Now like said above, this belief came along with the Hinduism. And for your information, this is the oldest belief in Indonesia. It existed since long times ago, thanks to those merchants who crossing Silky Way. The people who take Buddhism are about 2% of Indonesian population (4 million). They come mainly from Jakarta, and then areas in West region such as Riau, or Borneo. Even though the number is smaller than Hinduism, but it keeps growing ( even a little) until this time. Fantastic.

See also:

6. Confucianism

This belief is actually came from the Panda’s country, China. This religions ain’t came from the merchants like any other official beliefs in Indonesia. But, it came from the immigrants from that country. From the start, the status of this belief is rather, unclear. Even during the New Order Era. After having the problems here and there, Confucianism’s finally legalled to be the official belief in Indonesia through the rules by President Abdurrahman Wahid. God bless him.

See also:


Then after talking a little bit about the official beliefs, now we’re going into the Traditional ones:

7. Sunda Wiwitan

A group of Sundanese people created a little belief called Sunda Wiwitan. Its now so little to be honest, because it spread throughout the Java Island. The belief itself created long ago, even before the arrival of Hinduism and Buddhism. Sunda Wiwitan praises the ancient spirits and a God they called as Syang Hyang Kersa. Even though they worshipping differen God, but they took the Islam lecture as their base activities. The Islam and also the Hinduism, combination of both.

8. Kejawen

Actually maybe this is rather a tradition than belief. Many Javanese people especially in Central and East Java of course have their primary belief (like Islam or other belief), but they also tend to keep doing their “obligations” and activities of Kejawen. Even though several activities look like the religious ones, but this is actually its far from it. Like said above, its more like a tradition that people always do, brought through generations. Its actually juts one of Indonesian cultures.

See also:

9. Marapu

Marapu is the ancient belief of Sumbanese People. Almost the same like Sunda Wiwitan, they also worship the ancient spirits of old. The old people that died in the past, including their relatives or village chief. The Marapu is really thick with the ways of life. You know, born, live, and die. In their belief, they think when they finally died, their body will go to the Prai Marapu, the place we called Heaven in our belief. Its also included the animism and dinamism in its culture.

10. Buhun

Like Sunda Wiwitan, this belief’s born in the root of Sundanese people. It teaches the believers to the way of the ancestors. Which way? The way to live. The way they should live like their ancestors in the past. Its unknown if they have their unique god or not, but the fact is they are still surviving until now. Even the number of believers is so little. They keep doing the old ways to respect and make their live to be more fit to the ancestor’s.

See also:

11. Kaharingan

Now, we go to the Borneo. In Borneo, there’s a traditional belief that people there have, the Kaharingan. There’s a little debate here and there about separating the Kaharingan with the Hinduism. Because they both have many similarities. Even though they have similarities, Kaharingan has different place to worship, called Balai Basarah. Also, Kaharingan stands with its own unique ways and traditions of Borneo’s people. So, its like the main foundation of them.

12. Ugamo Malim

You knew Lake Toba, right? Now there’s a tribe called Batak Tribe in there, having a belief that has a name of Ugamo Malim. Like the others, they worshipped God Almighty but with different name, Debate Mula Jadi Na Bolon. A bit long isn’t it? The Ugamo Malim brought by several generations in Batak Tribe, about 35 generations. They carried the same meaning and the same teaching way of Ugamo Malim through families. Its believers still counted for about 10.000 people in Sumatra.

See also:

13. Tolotang

The story Tolotang is rather sad to tell. Because of the government didn’t recognize its existence, they desperately blended into the Hinduism even though they have different way of worshipping. They do it “willingly”. The believers of this Tolotang are no more than 5.000 people. They doing their thing with fear, fear of this belief will disappear in the next couple years. So that’s why they keep teaching their kids this belief, to maintained its existence.

14. Madrais

This is other belief that Sundanese take other than Sunda Wiwitan. It looks like almost the same, but with some acculturation with some elements of Javanese traditions. This belief even has the same thing as Buhun have. Now, the believers less than Tolotang, which is only 3.000 people. They keep doing their Sundanese tradition with peace in small areas in West Java. Even though they count as little, they don’t have any fear to love in the future.

See also:

Ancient Beliefs

The last but not the least is the Ancient Beliefs, as follows:

15. Animism

Long long ago, people still confused about the concept of God. Is he really exist? Because their confusion, they thought a simple thing, “We came from our parents, we came from our ancestors”. And the Animism’s born. Many people believed in it, especially in the Kingdom Era. But some people also have it until now. Usually people in the small village, still doing it. Village chief commonly present to lead the ceremonies.

16. Dynamism

After that, there’s Dynamism. Belief that tell people, some of the equipments or tools have their own godlike power. This belief is actually born in prehistoric era, where people is still using equipments like knifes or other weapons to conquer the other living. They’re believing, the tools have powers. Even though its a prehistoric thingy, some people still carrying it until now. As a tradition more likely. The washing of Keris and other stuff in Keraton Yogyakarta is a good example that the belief is still exist.

See also:

17. Totemism

Finally, the Totemism. Many people back there believe that some animals have their own godly spirits, even stronger than humans. Of course the animals are more bigger like the Elephant, Tiger, or Lion. They’re strong enough to defeat a healthy adult man. Those animals are considered holy ones, the ones that they couldn’t hunt because of their strength. They believed, of they hunt them down in several occasions, the curse will get them in a flash. Its an interesting belief to be honest.

Now that covers all. The list of 17 Beliefs in Indonesia is finally completed. Now, whatever your religion is, you must respect and tolerate each other, even though they have different religions of belief. For the sake of human living, for the sake of the world peace.