The Fall and Rise of Barbarism Part 1

Believing Lies

Did you know that in North Korea the following iron-clad “truths” are well known:

  • Most people in North Korea don’t know that Kim Jung Il has 3 sons. Two of them fell out of favor with him some time ago, so he erased them from the public record.
  • It is widely reported in North Korean news that most of the country has plenty of food, but that people living in the West are starving.
  • Many North Koreans are taught that Kim Jung Il sleeps very little, because he is worried about his people so much. In reality, he lives a very luxurious life.
  • On Kim Jung Il’s birthday each year, teachers give their children little wrapped presents that they buy for their students. They tell their students that the presents are from Kim Jung Il, himself.
  • Many people believe that Kim Jung Il can control the weather with his moods.
  • North Korean news reports that Kim Jung Il, who is an avid golfer, regularly gets a hole-in-one.
  • US and Korean forces regularly participate in joint military excerices to prepare for the possibility of war in the region. North Korea’s official news agency responded to one of these recently, by saying:

The war exercises kicked off by the U.S. and the South Korean conservative authorities are a blatant challenge to the Korean nation and the peace-loving people of the world. This goes to prove that their scenario to seize the DPRK through surprise preemptive attack has reached a very grave phase. -Korean Central News Agency, August 20

I recently read a Reuters news report of North Koreans who had fleed the North and were living in South Korea.  Imagine believing the above things for your whole life, and then suddenly you learn that many fundamental things you had believed your whole life turn out to be nothing but lies.  It would take a lifetime just to learn to be “normal.”

One of the interesting aspects of this is that many of the people in the North don’t have much of an inclination that they believe such ridiculousness.  Or do they?  I have thought about this issue for quite some time.  If truth is an ironclad reality, as Christians must by nature believe, then those who are desperately clinging to lies must intrinsically sense that they are deceiving themselves.

This may be a mere intellectual exercise when dealing with the unwilling deception of the North Koreans, but more significant and ominous when we look at large groups of people who believe that blowing themselves up on a bus full of children is something that their god would approve of, and even reward them for.  It is almost impossible to get my modern American mind around a mindset that would not be horrified by such an act.  It is no less confusing than believing a middle-aged fat man would golf better than Tiger Woods.

Our age must answer the important issue of what to do about these lives.  Killing those who believe and espouse them hasn’t worked.  But simply being nice hasn’t worked either.  A modern mindset would say that education and enlightenment will conquer these lies, and a post-modern mindset might deny that they are lies at all.  One of the biggest questions of our time is if we as a world can quarantine these lies, and conquer them.

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