Author Topic: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?  (Read 1993 times)

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Offline Xenia

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Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« on: February 23, 2013, 02:39:43 PM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?   

-xenia

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2013, 02:44:56 PM »
I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth—pagans and all included—can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship?—to do the will of God—THAT is worship. And what is the will of God?—to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me—THAT is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator.

Not that I agree with the above sentiment; I'm just enjoying my current reading very much.

I generally don't think there's anything wrong with offering flowers in memorial of a human being, but in Kim Il Sung's case he is basically a god. In any case, as curious as I am about the place, I don't think I would ever visit North Korea.

Offline Xenia

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2013, 02:55:24 PM »


I should have included in my post that the North Koreans regard Glorious Leader as a god.  I would happily bow before the Queen of England, for example, if I were presented to her.

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 03:06:15 PM »
I have thought about this before. I would really like to visit North Korea, but I don't think I could ever make myself bow to that man.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 03:14:34 PM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?   

-xenia
Hence the reason why I wouldn't take the opportunity to visit North Korea (the south would be different-I have relatives there).
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Offline Opus118

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 03:54:51 PM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?   

-xenia

Yes, but it would not be veneration. It is a small price to pay in order to visit another planet. My reception of Voice of Korea at 9335 kHz was not particularly good this morning so I did not stick around after the songs to the two Kims.

Offline JamesR

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 04:07:16 PM »
No, I don't think it would be right. On the other hand, I also don't think it would be right to go over there intentionally and to just resist the practice. That's just stirring up trouble for no reason; if you aren't willing to follow their rules, then you shouldn't visit. No one is forcing you.
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 04:16:07 PM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?  

-xenia

Yes, but it would not be veneration. It is a small price to pay in order to visit another planet. My reception of Voice of Korea at 9335 kHz was not particularly good this morning so I did not stick around after the songs to the two Kims.
First, it is not religious veneration.

Second, in Asian culture, people bow when meeting eachother as a normal acknowledgement, while in western culture this is considered a sign of very strong submission. In Asian culture, however, there is a full "falling on the ground" I have seen where the person kneels or lies down in front of an emperor or Mongol leader. This full falling down would be more akin to the veneration or strong submission we feel in the west.

If you are averse to greeting a North Korean government staffperson or official, you are not going to go there in the first place. :)  I think it would be a nice trip, and would say that about most places in the world whether  I agree with their politics or not. Some places though really are dangerous for tourists like Singapore.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 04:18:32 PM by rakovsky »

Offline Xenia

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 04:37:11 PM »
Quote
First, it is not religious veneration.

I think in this case it does fall into the category of religious veneration, at least in the eyes of the Koreans.

One of the videos I watched was the story of a Nepalese eye surgeon who performed 1000 cataract surgeries in North Korea.  When the bandages were removed, the people did not thank the good doctor but ran to the front of the room where there were "icons" of Glorious Leader and son and thanked him (Kim Il-sung)for restoring their sight, in a rather hysterical way.  Then the whole group waved their arms and chanted "Praise him, praise him." 

One person I asked about this said they'd make the obeisance but would say the Jesus Prayer under their breath, or mutter curses. 

I agree with those who say it's better to stay home than to be deliberately offensive. As you say, no one is forcing anyone to go to North Korea!

Let me clarify by saying that if protocol required me to bow (or curtsy) to a living NK official who was not considered to be a god, I could do that, no problem.

« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 04:40:45 PM by Xenia »

Offline William

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 05:04:21 PM »
Nah.
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 05:48:51 PM »
When they opened the first (only?) branch of the Goethe Institute in North Korea, the Germans didn't.

It was an awkward moment.

But I think the entire country of North Korea share a single copy of Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers now in spite of the hiccup.
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Offline genesisone

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 06:37:52 PM »
Quote
First, it is not religious veneration.

I think in this case it does fall into the category of religious veneration, at least in the eyes of the Koreans.

...


I agree with those who say it's better to stay home than to be deliberately offensive. As you say, no one is forcing anyone to go to North Korea!

Let me clarify by saying that if protocol required me to bow (or curtsy) to a living NK official who was not considered to be a god, I could do that, no problem.


Agreed.

Offline AMM

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 06:47:25 PM »
Why not, it's not like the regime he founded runs a network of secret prison camps where people are starved and killed.

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2013, 06:52:50 PM »
Why not, it's not like the regime he founded runs a network of secret prison camps where people are starved and killed.

No, of course not. That is just evil propaganda, created by South Korea, Japan and America in order to undermine the great values and sovereignty of the korean people.



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Offline Opus118

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2013, 10:41:06 PM »
Quote
First, it is not religious veneration.

I think in this case it does fall into the category of religious veneration, at least in the eyes of the Koreans.

I understand that your statement is par for the course around here, but it still disturbs me.

I do not know how the majority or minority of North Koreans think. I do not understand what give you the right to say that you do know what is in the hearts and mind of North Koreans.

I do know that I live in a country that reveres financial success and the material outcomes of that success. I also know that its ultimate emptiness destroys people. This is also veneration. This particular reverence and idolatry (I will one day write about idolatry) permeates my world so as to almost blot out alternative perspectives.

The distinction is one of absolute denial vs practical denial.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2013, 10:44:15 PM »
Quote
First, it is not religious veneration.

I think in this case it does fall into the category of religious veneration, at least in the eyes of the Koreans.

One of the videos I watched was the story of a Nepalese eye surgeon who performed 1000 cataract surgeries in North Korea.  When the bandages were removed, the people did not thank the good doctor but ran to the front of the room where there were "icons" of Glorious Leader and son and thanked him (Kim Il-sung)for restoring their sight, in a rather hysterical way.  Then the whole group waved their arms and chanted "Praise him, praise him."
I have mixed emotions about swearing allegiance to any government, because the Bible says to avoid oaths. So it's a healthy impulse to be hesitant about "bowing" to government authority.

In any case, I saw the video and don't think it counts as religious veneration. We have portraits of dead presidents next to the American flag that we salute and pledge allegiance to in school. Being hysterical and praising a political leader in a public room with their portrait is not the same thing as religious veneration.

This is part of the issue that comes up with venerating ikons. One of the claims is that we are worshipping the ikons or consider them or the saints to be Gods. We don't consider the ikons to be gods or the saints to be gods, or even the ikons to be the saints themselves. They are just images of the saints that we can keep in mind when we communicate to them.

In the case of the North Korean portraits, they don't think that the portrait is the leader or that it is a metaphorical telephone to call him. Anyway, I think when the movie was made the North Korean leader was still alive.

Regards.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 10:48:12 PM by rakovsky »

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2013, 10:46:36 PM »
Opus,

Where are you that you can get V.o.K. radio?

Offline Nadege

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2013, 11:08:47 PM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?  

-xenia

It's a non-issue for curious visitors to the country.  For North Koreans it is.  If I were a North Korean and it's ether bow to the portrait (and everything else the regime requires) or I'm the "enemy of the people" with all the consequences for me and my family, then sure, I would.

Did you see a film about how a Turkish doctor after so many difficulties managed to come to North Korea and treat cataracta patients whom no one treated there, and before they were allowed to take the bandages off their eyes they were all gathered in a big room, and then as they took off their bandages one by one and could see, the first thing they were required to do was fall on their knees repeatedly before the portrait of the beloved leader thanking him (God who?) for the miracle.

Communist cults of personality are this exactly.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 11:13:34 PM by Nadege »

Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2013, 11:51:57 PM »
Quote
First, it is not religious veneration.

I think in this case it does fall into the category of religious veneration, at least in the eyes of the Koreans.

One of the videos I watched was the story of a Nepalese eye surgeon who performed 1000 cataract surgeries in North Korea.  When the bandages were removed, the people did not thank the good doctor but ran to the front of the room where there were "icons" of Glorious Leader and son and thanked him (Kim Il-sung)for restoring their sight, in a rather hysterical way.  Then the whole group waved their arms and chanted "Praise him, praise him." 

One person I asked about this said they'd make the obeisance but would say the Jesus Prayer under their breath, or mutter curses. 

I agree with those who say it's better to stay home than to be deliberately offensive. As you say, no one is forcing anyone to go to North Korea!

Let me clarify by saying that if protocol required me to bow (or curtsy) to a living NK official who was not considered to be a god, I could do that, no problem.

In the context of the show the video was from, I think it was from a 60 Minutes episode, it was made clear people thank the "Glorious Leader" for everything because they fear reprisals for not doing so.  The exuberance in the above was because they knew officials would be reviweing the footage.
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Offline Opus118

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2013, 04:17:21 AM »
Opus,

Where are you that you can get V.o.K. radio?

I am near San Diego, California

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2013, 07:11:57 AM »
I remember reading that when Kim Jong Un visited Russia, the nartional new agency reported that the russians were amazed by the "Great Leader's" ability to make the sun appear and the rain fall from the sky.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2013, 01:28:04 PM »
I remember reading that when Kim Jong Un visited Russia, the nartional new agency reported that the russians were amazed by the "Great Leader's" ability to make the sun appear and the rain fall from the sky.
It's called Cloud Seeding. (joke)


NBC explains it this way:
Quote
North Korea's poets of propaganda stay true to their muse despite world's laughter

"His parka was that of a great father, with which he kept all the people on this land from snow, rain and cold,” the Voice of Korea report said. Kim – a "peerless sage of mankind, possessed with warm humanity, broad magnanimity and noble sense of moral obligation” – had apparently worn the parka as a reminder of his country’s grim history after the death of his father Kim Il Sung.

'Outlandish superlatives'
Seoul-based North Korea expert Daniel Pinkston, North East Asia deputy project director for the International Crisis Group, said [such] stories... were not really meant to be taken literally. “The whole point is not that people necessarily believe it,” he said, noting there was also a degree of mythologizing about revered figures from the past in the West.
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/24/16676455-north-koreas-poets-of-propaganda-stay-true-to-their-muse-despite-worlds-laughter?lite
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 01:43:57 PM by rakovsky »

Offline Anastasia1

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2013, 10:20:51 PM »
I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth—pagans and all included—can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship?—to do the will of God—THAT is worship. And what is the will of God?—to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me—THAT is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator.

Not that I agree with the above sentiment; I'm just enjoying my current reading very much.

I generally don't think there's anything wrong with offering flowers in memorial of a human being, but in Kim Il Sung's case he is basically a god. In any case, as curious as I am about the place, I don't think I would ever visit North Korea.
In light of other religions, I think you just defeated a secular understanding of the "golden rule".  I am reminded of a non-denom's sermon where he mentioned his earlier misunderstanding of what it means to be all things to all men. What are you reading, btw?

I would not do more than would necessarily be required in a secular cultural context. I could not consider or fully treat such a person as Kim Jong Il as any sort of saint or what-not.
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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2013, 12:27:45 AM »
Quote
In the past, the kings of North Korea were considered gods. Today it feels like the three Kims are considered gods. Kim il-sung was God the Father, Kim Jong-il God the Son, and the current Kim Jong-un is God the Grandson....

This is a zombie state ruled by a zombie, the only necrocracy in the world.  Kim il-Sung is the reigning president, even though he’s been dead since 1994. I met people who talk about the joy of meeting Kim Il-sung. He presided over a famine where 3 million people died and yet he’s venerated. We went to where his body is interned and were asked to bow in front of a dead man, a waxwork. It’s hideous. I have respect for other people’s belief in God, but I found this to be foul. This was the only place where the power was on and it was comfortably air-conditioned. In hospitals, factories and restaurants there were power cuts, everywhere apart from where the dead gods live.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2013, 12:32:43 AM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?   

-xenia

Why would any sane person want to visit North Korea?
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Offline Opus118

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2013, 12:34:50 AM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?   

-xenia

Why would any sane person want to visit North Korea?

I already gave my reason in this thread.

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2013, 12:35:03 AM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?   

-xenia

Why would any sane person want to visit North Korea?
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2013, 01:02:31 AM »
I've been doing some reading and YouTube-watching about North Korea. It appears that all tourists are taken to enormous statues of Kim Il-sung and his son and the tourists are required to bow and place flowers before the statue.  This seems very much like offering "a pinch of incense" to the Roman ceasars and our Christian forefathers and foremothers chose martyrdom instead of compromising in this way. If you were ever given the opportunity to visit North Korea,  could you "venerate" this statue?   

-xenia

Why would any sane person want to visit North Korea?

Weird countries are intriguing. I'd like to visit US, Russia and Saudi-Arabia too.

Offline IoanC

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2013, 10:03:41 AM »
I would do it, but just as I would for anybody in the world. It doesn't mean I venerate whatever you do, but that I respect you as a person that God knows why He "ordained" in such a way.

Offline Revelation_1:7

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2013, 12:14:41 PM »
if koreans consider him divine and a god this make that statue an idol.
the Holy Spirit will guide the Church in choosing the right path between martyrdom or idolatry.
"Whosoever, therefore, declares that there is but one God, only so as to take away the divinity of Christ, is a devil, and an enemy of all righteousness"

St. Ignatius - Epistle to the Antiochians

Offline mike

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2013, 01:49:27 PM »
if koreans consider him divine and a god this make that statue an idol.
the Holy Spirit will guide the Church in choosing the right path between martyrdom or idolatry.

Posting such is quite easy from liberal US.

Offline Gorazd

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2013, 02:07:46 PM »
Weird countries are intriguing. I'd like to visit US, Russia and Saudi-Arabia too.

Why dont you go to Russia? I think it's not far from you.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2013, 02:18:02 PM »
I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth—pagans and all included—can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship?—to do the will of God—THAT is worship. And what is the will of God?—to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me—THAT is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator.
Jesuitry rationalizes a multitude of sins.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2013, 02:19:44 PM »
Quote
First, it is not religious veneration.

I think in this case it does fall into the category of religious veneration, at least in the eyes of the Koreans.

I understand that your statement is par for the course around here, but it still disturbs me.

I do not know how the majority or minority of North Koreans think. I do not understand what give you the right to say that you do know what is in the hearts and mind of North Koreans.

I do know that I live in a country that reveres financial success and the material outcomes of that success. I also know that its ultimate emptiness destroys people. This is also veneration. This particular reverence and idolatry (I will one day write about idolatry) permeates my world so as to almost blot out alternative perspectives.

The distinction is one of absolute denial vs practical denial.
A carrot-stick, abundance-starvation distinction.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Opus118

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Re: Could you "venerate" the statue of Kim Il-sung?
« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2013, 12:16:17 AM »
Quote
First, it is not religious veneration.

I think in this case it does fall into the category of religious veneration, at least in the eyes of the Koreans.

I understand that your statement is par for the course around here, but it still disturbs me.

I do not know how the majority or minority of North Koreans think. I do not understand what give you the right to say that you do know what is in the hearts and mind of North Koreans.

I do know that I live in a country that reveres financial success and the material outcomes of that success. I also know that its ultimate emptiness destroys people. This is also veneration. This particular reverence and idolatry (I will one day write about idolatry) permeates my world so as to almost blot out alternative perspectives.

The distinction is one of absolute denial vs practical denial.
A carrot-stick, abundance-starvation distinction.

I do not comprehend what you are trying to say. If it goes political I will not get into this conversation. Currently I see nothing wrong with my statement.