Religion and Beliefs
This paper explores the way Matteo Ricci’s method of inculturation has impacted on the interpretation of Christian faith among the early Korean Catholics. Ricci’s method of inculturation or fusion of different cultures has influenced the formation of a faith-bound community among the early Korean Catholics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Ricci’s method of inculturation aspired to give Christianity a more familiar Asian outlook, more understandable and acceptable, on the one hand, while Christianity would complement and enrich Chinese culture, on the other. According to Ricci’s vision of complementarity of Christianity with Asian cultures, the Christian God manifests Himself to different minds in different ways, and thus any Asian can understand manifestations of God in their cultural context. In Ricci’s The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven, the word ‘learning’ of the truth refers to personal understanding and its authenticity. Ricci’s self-progressing process of learning based on personalistic faith of God challenged and reshaped the Korean society the people who made it up. Christian personal and authentic faith led to spiritual confrontation against the Neo-Confucian way of learning that claims universal, fixed and absolute true understanding. In contrast, for the general public who tended to maintain the conventional worship of ancestors and spirits at the individual level, the Christian God and personal faith provided the spiritual liberty of self-progressing learning beyond the barriers of class and gender.