Religion in Indonesia was a complex and volatile
issue in the early 1990s, one not easily analyzed in
terms of social class, region, or ethnic group.
Although Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism,
and other religions influenced many aspects of life,
the government generally discouraged religious
groups from playing a political role. The state
guaranteed tolerance for certain religions (agama)
regarded as monotheistic by the government,
including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and
Buddhism, but only as long as these creeds remained
outside of politics.
More than 80 per cent of the Indonesians people
are Muslims, and about 10 per cent are Christians.
Many of Indonesian's Muslim follow the practices of
their religion, Islam, less than strictly than do
most Muslim in Arab countries. Many Indonesians
believe in spirits, and combine ancestor and nature
worship with Islam or Christianity. People in Bali
and western Lombok follow a religion called
Bali-Hinduism. It is base on Hinduism, but include
ancient Balinese and Javanese beliefs. The Bali
Hindus worship the spirit of important natural
features, including mountains and large trees. They
also honor the spirits of ancestor which, they
believe, visit them. Bali has thousands of
Bali-Hindu temple where the religion's many holidays
are celebrated. The ceremonies include colorful
dance and dramas.
Buddhism and Hinduism were important religions on
the island hundred years ago, but Indonesian now has
relatively few Buddhists or Hindus. People in some
isolated areas still follow ancient local religion.
In part of Borneo, for example, people worship
ancestors, idols, and natural feature. The
Government respects religious holidays of Moslems,
Christians and other established religions in
Indonesia. Sunday is the regular weekly holiday in
Indonesia, and on Friday, Government offices close
at 11.30 a.m. to allow the faithful of the Moslem
religions to congregate for prayer at the mosques.