A Guide to Religions, Religious Information and Help in Search for God

Juche (a.k.a. Chuch'e and Kimilsungism)

Juche is a Communist government sponsored mixture of ideology, philosophy and religion for an estimated 22,000,000 people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Juche was created by North Korea's President Kim Il-Sung (April 15, 1912-July 8, 1994) in 1955. At that time, North Korea was being influenced by the Communist governments of the U.S.S.R. and People's Republic of China.

Initially, Juche was an ideology consisting of two basic ideas. First, the Korean Worker's Party revolution belonged to the people. Second, the masses of people needed to be organized or guided by a "Great Leader", who was none other than Kim Il-Sung himself.

Later, the idea of self-reliance or self-sufficiency as a country was added to Juche. Overall, Kim Il-Sung proved himself to be a man of ideas as well as a strong ruler.

Juche was further developed by General Secretary Kim Jong-il, who was Kim Il-Sung's son and successor in 1994. Confucian ideas were added in regards to family values, material possessions and self-sacrifice.

Some scholars have likened Juche to a religious movement. At the very least, there are some similarities between the Juche ideology and a religious movement. However, Juche authorities insist that the Juche ideology is secular (or worldly rather than spiritual).

At Juche's peak, there were small Juche study groups around the world, especially in small Third World countries. Some of these groups were reported to be funded by Pyongyang (the capital of North Korea).

Regardless of what North Koreans believe internally, most of the outside world knows that a) North Korea has been a dismal failure economically as the U.S.S.R. was, b) the North Korean government has been spreading grossly exaggerated stories about the respect and admiration that the North Korean leaders have internationally and c) the North Korean government has been spreading other false propaganda. Juche is noteworthy in that a comparable ideology is absent in Cuba, which is another small Communist-ruled country that was greatly influenced by the U.S.S.R..


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