Opinions on faith and life

Where Satan Has His Throne

2012-02-01

History is littered with tyrants and the trail of suffering and death they left behind them, but I can’t imagine anything could ever have been worse than what exists today in North Korea. This video shows us why (link), and it is probably the mildest of most videos you’ll see on this topic.

There is also an article about it here, if you can’t see the video. There is another account about the prison camps here, and many more are still available via internet search. Be forewarned that the content is very disturbing. Places like that remind us to be grateful that we don’t live there, and put our problems and hardships in their place. Even the horrors of many African nations are surpassed by that of N. Korea.

But some important issues arise from this:

  • why God allows suffering
  • where the line is to be drawn on an acceptable degree of suffering before God is deemed evil
  • whether there is a point at which the rights of autonomy are outweighed by the rights of humanity, and who draws that line
  • I’ve written about the first issue before. It essentially boils down to the fact that people can freely choose whom they will serve, be it God or Satan, and that they must be allowed to either enjoy or suffer the consequences of that choice. What transpired in Genesis 3 was the handing over of rule of the earth to Satan, though even then God has placed limits of both time and extent. Revelation’s early chapters speak of a place “where Satan has his throne”, so we know that God has allowed him limited places and times wherein Satan can demonstrate how he wishes the whole world were ordered. And I’ve explained to the best of my ability why this does not make God either evil or impotent.

    So the question remaining about this nation of brainwashed slaves (and I mean that in terms of pity, not condemnation), is what level of responsibility they would have regarding the gospel and salvation. Clearly no one is allowed to speak of Jesus to them, and from birth they have all been kept in the dark on everything the rest of the world considers basic humanity. They have been turned into a nation of biological robots. But I have always maintained that God only holds people responsible for what they are capable of grasping. As far as I’m concerned, the people of Korea (excepting their leaders who freely partake of “western” decadence and affluence) are no more responsible for accepting the gospel than are young children or the mentally disabled.

    Some will read that and conclude that Universalism must be true, but the key difference is that Uni holds that even the vile leaders, who deliberately lie and abuse their own people, will wind up in heaven. And to that I respond that Uni cares nothing about justice for the poor victims but only mercy for the monsters, as I’ve written before. If Uni is true, it is actually worse to spread the gospel than to leave people in ignorance. For those who have no excuses (adults of sound mind and not kept in the dark about basic human rights), hearing and accepting the gospel is absolutely necessary. Salvation is all about knowing, deliberate rebellion against God. I trust God to be as merciful as possible and as just as necessary. And if he has commanded us to spread the gospel, then we must, rather than take the Uni approach and leave people in the dark.

    The situation in N. Korea is an excellent object lesson in why this is so. How could anyone know what goes on there but refuse to intervene because the slaves are “happy”? How could anyone not want with every fiber of their being to punish the leaders and teach the people about freedom, and end the starvation and horrible prison camps? Is it loving or tolerant to fail to intervene, knowing that all generations to follow will suffer the same hell on earth? So why is it that God should not ever have a “Judgment Day” wherein evil people are sent to hell and victims finally get both justice and mercy? How can people feel justified in wanting to free N. Korea politically but never free anyone spiritually? What difference is there between leaving people in spiritual darkness and leaving them in political or humanitarian darkness?

    That question is not entirely rhetorical, because I’ve encountered many professing Christians who believe it is wrong to spread the gospel. They call us “fundies”, “hatemongers”, “intolerant”, “bigoted”, and many more, all because we think people need to be told about the risen Jesus. From now on, I will respond to such people by declaring that they believe the N. Koreans should never be told about living in a free country or having enough to eat, all out of some twisted definition of tolerance or respect for the culture. “Love Wins”-- but only when that includes justice for the victims. If being humane means opposing oppressive regimes, then it also means opposing oppressive ideologies which insult victims by making them treat their tormentors as “brothers” and making them absorb all the suffering they’ve endured. Love does not tolerate injustice but demands true repentance before forgiving.

    Yet another issue arises, concerning the religious zeal of the people of N. Korea to worship a man as a god. Did Jesus not “embody” God? What’s the difference? How do we know we are not just like the N. Koreans, worshiping a mere man? Some try to argue that Jesus never claimed to be God, and I’ve countered that claim before. But the question here is how we would know whether Jesus’ claim is true and not just another depostic or deluded leader.

    The answer of course begins with a comparison between Jesus and any other leader that ever lived. His teachings were of love and mercy, his judgment was only against oppressors and disbelievers, his actions were compassionate to the point of dying for the people. All these things are the precise opposite of other would-be gods, who serve only themselves and treat their people worse than animals. Unlike the others, Jesus gives people time to make a free choice about whether they’d like to spend eternity with God. There is a saying that “the gates of hell are locked from the inside”. People are not forced to stay with God, and neither are they forced to go to hell but choose it. (I’ve gone over that before too; there is only God and Not God to choose from. And since all good comes from God, then Not God is devoid of all good.)

    It is not loving or tolerant or sensitive to leave people in bondage and deny them a chance to choose. Don’t forget the N. Koreans, and don’t forget the lost.

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