North Koreans are supposed to worship the Kim family as their god, says a North Korean defector in an interview with The Telegraph, but an increasing number of people are turning to God and Christianity instead.
"In the past, the people were told to worship the Kim family as their god, but many North Koreans no longer respect Kim Jong-un," said the defector. "That means they are looking for something else to sustain their faith.
The man, who is now a member of the Seoul-based Worldwide Coalition to Stop Genocide in North Korea, declined to give his name because he's still involved with the underground church in North Korea. However, he wasn't shy about telling the Telegraph about how North Korea continues to violate religious liberty.
"Officially sanctioned persecution of people for religious reasons is still there and, I would say, even stronger than before."
However, government sanctioned persecution of Christians hasn't caused a decrease in Christian. Quite the opposite, in fact. The aforementioned waning respect for Kim Jong Un means more people than ever are looking toward a higher power.
"In some places, that has led to the emergence of shamens, but the Christian church is also growing and deepening its roots there," said the North Korean defector. (Christians North Korean defectors in South Korea shown below).
He continued, "Even though people know they could be sent to prison—or worse—they are still choosing to worship, and that means that more cracks are appearing in the regime and the system."
According to The Telegraph, a U.S. government study released in August underscores the same religious persecution trends that the defector points out. That persecution includes torture and even execution, says the study. The US State Department also released the annual report on global religious freedoms, and they highlighted North Korea for denying its people the "right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion."
The report says that the North Korean government "continued to deal harshly with those who engaged in almost any religious practices through executions, torture, beatings, and arrests."
The report adds that an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners—some imprisoned for political reasons—are in North Korea's prison camp system. In the face of all of this persecution, the North Korean Christian church may be stronger than ever.
There's been a lot of unrest related to North Korea lately. Please pray for the people in North Korea that are living under a repressive regime. While Christians are being persecuted for their faith in North Korea, Christian university students are protesting their universities stance on President Trump.