Last Updated 24 Mar 2020

Juche Ideology and Religion

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Juche Ideology and Religion Juche is a Communist led and sponsored religion in North Korea made up of a mixture of ideology, philosophy, and religion for over 22,000,000 people, most of which are North Koreans, as stated by John Chin of the Religion-Info website (Chin). Juche is practiced, mandatorily, in North Korea by their government leader Kim Jong-Il, and is more of a social ideology instead of an actual religion. Although, the only way this ideology is promoted as a religion is by the way that Juche adopted some of the Confucius ideas.

John Chin also states the ideas of Juche following only one “Great Leader”, and secondly that the Korean Worker's Party revolution belongs to the people (Chin). Then later the idea of self-reliance or self-sufficiency as a country was added to Juche which the word itself by Korean language means “self-reliance” (Adherents. com). Also, Jurgen Kleiner states that Kim Il-Sung created this ideology to save him from political and social obstacles of the day.

So, really this religion in my opinion is not a true religion, but actually a social ideology; as a matter of fact, if Juche were really a religion then it would be a choice to adhere to not forced like it is in North Korea. Juche ideology is practiced majorly in North Korea where the choice is not given to the people on whether they want to believe in something else or to follow the Juche beliefs. By Jurgen Kleiner the Juche ideology saved Kim Il-Sung from getting too deeply involved in the earlier rift between the Soviet Union and China (Kleiner).

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So, by what Kleiner is saying the Juche ideology was used to keep Kim Il-Sung from being involved with any Soviet or Chinese involvement. This “religion” does not have a main saint who has a life or death childhood experience nor does it have a saint who has a God experince where the God of their culture passes a vision onto that main saint. The closest thing that Juche has to a main saint figure, and in the working people’s eyes he is a sain by what he declares, is Kim Il-Sung who is then followed by his son Kim Jong-Il.

Kim Il-Sung who creates the social ideology of Juche declares one main ideal of Juche to be that there is one “Great Leader” who is to lead the world to the utopian philosophy (Oh and Hassig). Also, Kim Il-Sung makes it to where Juche is the only “religion” to have the proper methods by which paradise is able to be achieved. Now in my eyes these ideas are not the way that Juche can be called a religion. As I have stated, and will state again, I believe that Juche is not a religion, but actually a social ideology that is forced upon its people.

Kim Il-Sung is making the typical dictator move to secure power over his subjects by making a nation wide religion. The easiest way that he procures such a feat is by finding the most abundant social class and makes them the most important of the social ideology. The manner in which Kim Il-Sung makes this “religion” such an accepted ideology among the common people is by the way in which he proclaimed the Korean Worker's Party revolution belonged to the people, and by making this move Kim Il-Sung has the entire working social class behind him to support him.

By making this monstrously important move Kim Il-sung guarantees himself the survival of this ideology because of how the societal notions are regulated in North Korea. Secondly though, by Kim Il-Sung making this move he allows there to be someone to lead such a large group of people. So, Il-Sung by making such a large group without a leader comes up with the idea of a “Great Leader” in which the people who believe in Juche should follow, and who will also lead the world to the idea of a utopian society and paradise on Earth.

Juche ideology made by Kim Il-Sung also led to the idea that there would be an abolishment of the social classes. Il-Sung stated that only with the establishment of communism, in which there would be no competing classes- the working class having taken control of the means of production- would contradictions disappear. If this dissolve of social classes is so important in the Juche beliefs then Kim Il-Sung should not have made the idea that the Korean Worker’s Party was so important.

I am sure that Il-Sung is using the Juche ideology to control the people of Korea because if the absolving of social classes is so important then the idea that the Korean Worker’s Party belonging to the people would no longer be applicable to the ideology of Juche beliefs. Making the Korean Worker’s Party an important part of Juche ideals goes completely against the belief of having social classes become absolved because if the working class is so important then how could the Korean working social class still be important. Il-Sung made a mistake in adopting the idea that the Korean Worker’s Party s being so important while also saying that the social classes will be absolved. Now, the closest that Juche comes to being a religion is by how some beliefs of Confucianism are adopted. The ideas that are adopted are family values, material possessions, and self-sacrifice. The adoption of family values in that the family is important in society does coincide with the idea of getting rid of societal classes, but also the adoption also could lead to a clash between these two ideas by how a rich family would treat its own family members as say a poor family.

Family values are adopted to help strengthen society by making those family systems stronger in the way that they commune with each other and by the way they act with each other. The adoption of how to hold material possessions in life makes Juche closer to being a true religion in my eyes. Juche takes the idea that material possessions are not important in how life is valued, but that the family values that are shared and learned are more important. The adoption that material possessions come easily and go just as easily stresses the importance of the people and the bond between each other and not their possessions.

Lastly, the adoption of the idea of self-sacrifice also strengthens the idea of absolving society to the point of where an individual is not more important than the whole. Although, with Juche having the main ideology of one “Great Leader” then that is the only individual that should not be sacrificed because of the importance that that specific individual holds in their acts. So, in part this idea of one “Great Leader” the idea of self-sacrifice cannot be fully applied so there is another contradiction in the ideology and belief system of Juche practice.

So, overall in everything I have presented I believe that Juche is not a religion nor will it ever be one even if it were to adopt other ideals of other religions, and the reason it would not be even with the other adoptions is because of the two main reasons the foundation of Juche has in its own beginning. The two main beliefs of the Korean Worker’s Party being so important, and the belief of one “Great Leader”. Juche is not a religion, but rather a form of social ideology used to control a nation and her people. Kim Il-Sung making such a monumental Communist move to control the

Korean people, and then trying to justify such a move by approving what he did as a form of religious worship does not make Juche a religion. In all actuality in my eyes, what Kim Il-Sung did was basically make himself a God by claiming himself and his male descendants as the “Great Leader” is the biggest flaw in Juche ideology, and will that single fact can keep Juche from being a religion. Also as a final side-note and to be kind of funny, another way I know that Juche is not a religion is because everytime I have typed it so far it is underlined by the red line as if I have mistakenly miswritten a word.

If juche were a religion then I would not see that red line. Works Cited Adherents. com. Major Religions of the World. January 2000. 4 April 2009 . Chin, John. RELIGION-INFO. COM:A Guide to Religions, Religious Information and Help in Search for God. 21 December 2004. 6 April 2009 . Kleiner, Jurgen. Korea, A Century of Change. World Scientific, 2001. Marshall Cavendish Corporation. World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia. Marshall Cavendish, 2007. Oh, Kong Dan and Ralph c. Hassig. North Korea Through the Looking Glass. Brookings Institution Press, 2000.

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