Korean Juche Religion
Juche permeates all aspects of the North Korean society. Juche is most often thought to be a socio-political ideology. But in reality, Juche is a religion and the 24 million adherents of this religion make Juche the world’s fifth largest religion after Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.
Moreover, the Juche religion is modeled after Christianity. Instead of God the Father, the Juche religion worships Kim Il-sung, North Korea's first dictator who died in 1994 yet continues to rule as North Korea's "Eternal President" and official head of state. The Juche religion teaches North Koreans that upon death, they will be reunited with Kim Il-sung and be with him forever.
Instead of God the Son, Juche worships Kim Il-sung's son, Kim Jong-il, who until his own recent death, reigned as the surrogate of his dead father. And instead of God the Holy Spirit, Juche worships Kim Jong-soko, the mother of Kim Jong-il and the wife of Kim Il-sung.
Juche requires North Koreans to bow daily to the three Kims' portraits (above), which must hang on the “best” wall of their homes. Neglecting proper care of the portraits is a capital crime and North Koreans are praised for rushing back into burning homes to save the portraits of the three Kims.
How the Juche's idolatrous trinity will adapt to the death of Kim Jong-il and the accession of his son Kim Jong-un remains to be seen.
How did the Juche come to be modeled after Christianity?
Before it was ruled by Kim Il-sung, North Korea was the site of an early 20th century Christian revival. So many Christians lived in and so many churches dotted Pyongyang, the present North Korean capital, that the city was even called, “The Jerusalem of the East”.
The son of Christian parents and the grandson of a Christian pastor, Kim Il-sung was intimately familiar with Christianity and witnessed Christians choose martyrdom over worshipping the Japanese Emperor during Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula.
Recognizing the power of Christianity, Kim wanted it to be directed at himself. So he took Christianity, removed God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, set up himself, his wife and son as the new trinity, and called it Juche. At its core, Juche is a counterfeit Christianity that is deathly afraid of true version, and rightfully so.
Why did the North Koreans let him get away with it?
They apparently tried to stop him and many groups, including Christians, rose up in protest, but were brutally crushed. Those who weren't shot were sent to and remain in prison camps.
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