March 15, 2005


North Korea's missionary position (Andrei Lankov, 3/16/05, Asia Times)

Churches are opening in North Korea, a country long known for its hostility to any religion, and especially Protestantism. But it is not the handful of officially sanctioned churches that are interesting so much as reports of a revival of the North's "catacomb church".

Given the privation and suffering in North Korea, it's not surprising that the masses would find solace in the opiate of the people.

North Korean defectors to South Korea recently were asked about the fate of those escapees who were apprehended in China and sent back for interrogation in North Korea. Their treatment is harsh but they are not necessarily doomed. If an arrested escapee does not make some dangerous confessions while subjected to relatively mild beatings, he or she is likely to be set free very soon (not very nice, but still it's a vast improvement over the situation that existed two decades ago). This correspondent asked, "What do interrogators see as dangerous activity?" The answers were virtually identical across the board: "Contacting missionaries and bringing religious literature to North Korea."

For three decades North Korea and Albania were distinct in being countries without any organized religious worship and without a single temple of any religion. But this is changing fast - and the Pyongyang authorities obviously worry that they do not have complete control over the fast-developing new situation concerning religion. The central authorities also are losing control, as cracks appear in the country's "Stalinist" ideology.

Not only will Christianization turn up the pressure for change from within, it will also get evangelicals to pressure Washington.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2005 12:12 PM

A key difference between Chritianity and Islam is that the former was born as the religion of a persecuted minority the later was born as the religion of a victorius military organization.

Christianity adapts much better to places like North Korea where it is a persectued minority.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 15, 2005 1:05 PM

The Christianity of South Korea will also significantly mitigate the hardship that the South will endure upon reunification--something Germany didn't have. Of course, the SK government doesn't realize this, and is still scared to death of it.

Posted by: Timothy at March 15, 2005 2:18 PM
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