The Christian and Buddhist Environmental Movements in Contemporary Korea: Common Efforts and Their Limitations
(Vol.54. No.4 Winter, 2014 pp.52~79)
Nam Chul BU , Young-hae CHI
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Scholars of Korean religions have commonly held the view that Christianity and Buddhism
have deliberately tried to exclude one another as they struggled to win popular
favor over the previous three decades of radical socio-economic change in Korea. The
authors of this article argue that, contrary to the existing view, the two religions have
been broadening a common ground of understanding and creating an allied action
front. At the core of this positive engagement has been the environmental movement.
Christian and Buddhist environmental activists have set a model agenda and viable
action plans, and share a conception of the meaning of life and human happiness
revolving around various environmental issues. To show how the environmental
movement has brought the two parties closer, this article examines how ecological
concerns emerged within the two religions in the first place, explores the ways they
managed to cooperate on concrete environmental issues, and assesses the extent to
which those common efforts have been successful. It concludes with the implications of
such cooperation for the present and future relationship between Korean Buddhism
and Christianity.
Keywords: Korean religion, environmental movement, nuclear issue, religious
ecology, Korean Buddhism, Korean Christianity, religious dialogue, environmental
Types: Articles
Subject: Religion , Sociology
About the author(s) Nam Chul BU is Professor in the Department of Liberal Studies at Youngsan University.

Young-hae CHI is University Instructor in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University
of Oxford.