Here is a sampling of the houses of worship I have seen mostly in Bangka.
Do you think society there is more spiritual in general than ours? Wonderful pictures!
Hi Janet. Thanks for the comment/question. I've thought a lot about it the past few days. So here goes...
1. Religion in Indonesia is very present. You see mosques, temples, and churches on a regular basis. You also hear the call of prayer several times a day and observe groups going to prayer. In this sense religion is integrated into the culture in a more seamless way.
2. Because religion is so closely tied to nationalism, religion is also found in public institutions like schools. Monotheism is thus forwarded as a civic value and an important source of character education.
3. Despite the presence of religion--and the requirement for everyone to have a religion--the spectrum of piety or religiosity seems about the same. You find very religious/spiritual people, moderately religious and those who only hit the big holidays.
4. On Bali it's a bit different. Religion is all over the place. Each family has a temple. Then there are village temples and temples for the sea and the land and even world temples. Everyone makes offerings--everyone--cabbies, McDonalds, hotels--literally everyone. (More in a subsequent post).
Seth Brady teaches Comparative Religions and World Cultures at Naperville Central High School in Naperville, IL