November 15, 2005

THE THREAT TO REASON:

A Vigil Against Faith in N. Korea: Believers allege brutal repression in the 1990s. Christianity may be crossing the border. (Barbara Demick, November 15, 2005, LA Times)

A few years ago, an astonishing rumor spread among the teenagers of Musan, a sad, hungry mining town hugging the North Korean side of the border with China.

If you slipped over and looked for a house with a cross, the people inside would give you a lecture on Christianity and a bowl of rice.

Choi Hwa knew this was dangerous stuff. Back when she was an impressionable 12-year-old, she and her classmates had been called out to watch the execution of a young woman and her father who were caught with a Bible. But Choi knew as well that the pangs in her stomach meant she might soon succumb to the starvation that had killed dozens of neighbors.

The girl followed her stomach. Through it, she found her way to faith.

It would be an overstatement to say there is a sizable religious revival in North Korea. With the possible exception of communist-era Albania, no communist country had managed to so thoroughly eradicate organized religion. But there is little doubt that it is seeping back in through porous borders and challenging the idiosyncratic doctrine of juche that reveres founder Kim Il Sung and his son, current leader Kim Jong Il, as gods.

"Once you read the Bible, you stop believing in Kim Il Sung," said Choi, who is now 19 and living in Seoul, the South Korean capital.


Dangerous stuff in that book, eh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 15, 2005 10:02 AM
Comments

At the start of the 20th century nearly 50% of Korea's military were Christians. It may be the only country which adopted the faith before missionaries arrived (see: Catholic Encyclopedia, Corea)

Posted by: David at November 15, 2005 10:39 AM

The implosion is just a matter of time, and it's gonna be darned entertaining - from the this side of the Pacific.

Posted by: Mikey at November 16, 2005 10:38 AM
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