Local Beliefs – Biological Children That Are Abandoned

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Centuries ago, before the six official religions introduce to Indonesia, there were already local religions which were the original religions of Indonesia. However, these local religions are only recognized as a belief and not an official religion. Besides, only a few people in Indonesia that realized about the existence of this local beliefs. Local beliefs that should be treated as biological children are abandoned. Instead, the foreign religions take a very important place in Indonesia.

Baca juga: Religion – Marapu One of Local Beliefs in Indonesia.

Local Beliefs are Under Threat

Discrimination is often felt by adherents of local beliefs after the inauguration of the six religions: Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Even the Confucian religion has experienced this discrimination before. During the New Order era, the Decree of the Minister of Home Affairs in 1974 was issued, which stated that the religion column on the Indonesian identity card must be filled in with the choice of Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

Local beliefs are under threat. Some of its adherents choose to change their religion to the official religion for a while, just to be listed on their Indonesian identity card. However, in practice, they do not follow the obligations and rules of the official religion they chose. Perhaps, this is where the term ‘ID religion or KTP religion’ comes from.

In some cases, there have been interactions between official religions and local beliefs. The adherents do not want to let go of the local belief. Thus, the official religion and local belief influence and shape each other. The examples of this interaction are Kejawen Islamic, Kaharingan Hindu, and Dayak Christians. It is not surprising that there are many varieties of each of the six official religions.

Humanity and Tolerance Need to be Instilled

However, the government has never turned a blind eye to this issue. In November 2017, the inclusion of a belief in the religion column on the Indonesian identity card was permitted through a judicial review of the Population Administration Law by The Mahkama of the Constitution. However, the Indonesian Ulama Council expressed regret over that decision which was considered inaccurate and hurt the feelings of religious communities. The Indonesian Ulama Council has proposed that instead of put the belief in the Indonesia identity card, adherents of local belief should be made a special Indonesian identity card that is different from other citizens of the country.

In Bandung, the religion column in the identity card for adherents of local beliefs can be written as ‘Belief in One Almighty God’ or ‘Kepercayaan terhadap Tuhan Yang Maha Esa’. On the one side, this can be seen as the beginning of the acknowledgement towards adherents of local religions. On the other side, this can be seen as the distinction and separation between adherents of the six official religions and adherents of local beliefs whose belief’s names are not included.

In fact, there have been many attempts by the Indonesian government on issues of local trust, such as guidance through the Ministry of Education and Culture. However, the community paradigm towards local beliefs needs to be reexamined. Humanity and tolerance need to be instilled even more in Indonesian society so that local beliefs, which are the beliefs of Indonesia’s ancestors, are not discriminated and ignored.

Writer: Ivanna Caroline Tarabu
Student of Sampoerna University