There are so many local beliefs that exist in Indonesia. Some of these beliefs even exist before Hinduism and Buddhism reached Indonesia. But they were not considered as a part of the “legal religions” which is Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. Because of that, the local beliefs are often discriminated but they do not have legal protection from the country, they even can not make an id card if they do not admit themselves as one of the legal religions believers.
Finally, on 7th November 2017, the constitutional court granting the claims of the local beliefs community. They finally have legal protection from the country. But they are still can not be identified as local beliefs believer or penghayat kepercayaan in their id. A representative from the Indonesian local beliefs, specifically Sunda Wiwitan, Afiat Ginanjar Akil mentioned an interesting fact, he said that there is not a single person in the national army that is identified as a local beliefs believer because you have to be identified as one of the 6 legal religions believers to join the national army. Then after another 2 years of struggling, finally they can identify themselves as penghayat kepercayaan in their id.
Another problem for the local beliefs is they are not included in the curriculum in Indonesia. This is a problem because religion is a mandatory subject for students in Indonesia. So, for instance, if you are a student and also a penghayat kepercayaan, you have to choose either taking other religions subject or get a zero which can cause you to fail the class.
Not only struggling to get recognition from the country but now they are also struggling to get recognition from the people because there are a lot of misconceptions towards them. People often see them as a cult because of the lack of awareness about Indonesian local beliefs. The local beliefs are thought in sociology subject in high school but its only mentioning brief information of 3 biggest local beliefs in Indonesia which is Sunda Wiwitan, Kejawen, and Kaharingan and in most of the schools in Indonesia sociology is only for those who take the social class. Afiat Ginanjar Akil in one of his interviews also mentioned that the government has to raise awareness about the local beliefs because it is part of the history and culture of Indonesia.
As time passes by and technology improves, now penghayat kepercayaan across the country can access the Internet. There is a lot of penghayat kepercayaan that feel comfortable publishing their belief to the public and start posting their religious activity. This also happens on the most trending video-based social media platform in 2020, Tiktok. There are various kinds of videos they posted. There are videos where they straightaway explaining about their belief. There are also some creative videos like videos posted by a Tiktok account named @abhirupaa, she is posting about cultures of Javanese beliefs and her beliefs activity with aesthetically eye-pleasing visual. The comments in the videos are very interesting, some people said things like “We are not supposed to believe in something like this” or even things like “I learn more about our culture from Tiktok rather than the school”, and for the rest, they usually asking more about the beliefs because this is something new for them.
Hopefully, in the future local beliefs will truly be recognized and most importantly there will be no more discrimination toward them. Not only we have to respect the beliefs but we also have to accept the believers as fellow Indonesian and realizing the true meaning of Bhineka Tunggal Ika.
Writer: Tamma Irawan
Student Of Sampoerna University