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Word Count: 744
Juche The North Korean Religion Juche is one of the largest religions of the world with 19 million followers whom are mostly North Korean Its literal translation in English is self-reliance This is translated in practice by North Korea to conduct itself as an independent self-reliant nation Juche was founded by the late North Korean President Kim Il Sung as a communist related revolutionary philosophy that formed the basis of the political ideology of the dictatorship like North Korean government Although officially promoters of Juche would not call it a religion those who have studied Juche consider it as a religion Oxtoby provides a definition of religion that can be used to describe the characteristics of Juche that classify it as a religion However Juche does not fulfill all the criteria of Oxtobys definition The first part of Oxtobys definition of religion states that religion is a sense of power beyond the human Oxtoby pg 454 embraced celebrated and passed on by its followers Juche in theory has the basic underlying principle that man through his independence creativity and consciousness is the master of his own destiny and decides how the world around him changes In theory this principle does not suggest any power or force beyond that of the human but in practice of Juche this is not the case In Juche the Suryong leader is worshiped as a god Kim Il Sung is considered the divine father and his son Kim Jong Il the current President of North Korea is also worshiped as divine The official North Korean account of Kim Jungs Ils birth alludes to his divinity stating At the time of his birth there were flashes of lightning and thunder the iceberg in the pond on Mount Paektu emitted a mysterious sound as it broke and bright double rainbows rose up Barnes Thus the leader of Juche although human in form is considered to be a power beyond the human
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