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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The tenth biggest religion

Would you believe Juche?

North Korea's "juche" (self-reliance) ideology ranks 10th in the world's major religions in terms of the number of believers, American religion website said Monday.

The website collected information and statistics on major religions around the globe and says juche is the 10th largest in the world.

"Juche is the only government-authorized ideology in North Korea, to the point of excluding all other religions," the website says. By counting North Korea's total post-famine population, the website says the ideology has 19 million followers.

Christianity is cited as having the largest number of believers at 2.1 billion. Islam claims 1.3 billion and Hinduism claims 900 million. The site says non-religious people, including agnostics, atheists and secular humanists, number 1.1 billion.

"Its promoters describe juche as simply a secular, ethical philosophy and not a religion," the website says. "But, from a sociological viewpoint juche is clearly a religion, and in many ways is even more overtly religious than Soviet-era Communism or Chinese Maoism.”

According to Thomas J. Belke who wrote a book on the North Korean ideology, its sacred grounds, rituals, and belief structures meet the conditions of a religion.

"Some other religions which exist substantially only within a single country have been excluded from this list," the website says. "But [juche] has so many adherents, is so influential in their lives, and is so different from any other religious system, that including it on this list may be necessary in order to accurately reflect the total world religious economy."

With its 19 million followers, juche outnumbers Spiritism (15 million), Judaism (14 million), and Shinto (4 million). The website said it compiled the list using statistics from various countries and advice from professors of comparative religion.
Juche is a bigger religion than judaism? The website is IMHO mistaking ideology for religion. What is the definition of religion?

a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; "he lost his faith but not his morality"
Is Kim Jong-il supernatural? He is a human being(a disturbed and warped one I may add) like you or me. gives this definition for religion.

We are using the groupings most described used in contemporary comparative religion literature (listed above). Each of these "world religions" is actually a classification of multiple distinct movements, sects, divisions, denominations, etc. None of these world religions is a single, unified, monolithic organization. The diversity within these groupings varies. Hinduism is often described as a collection very different traditions, bound by a geographical and national identity. So broad is this religious "umbrella" that it includes clearly polytheistic, tritheistic, monotheistic, pantheistic, nontheistic, and atheistic traditions.
This website seems to be mistaking a belief system or ideology for religon. Look what is #3 on their religion list.

Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
That's a religion? If we're to take ideology as meaning a religion wouldn't we have to count people who believe in communism, socialism, or capitalism?

Personally I think comparing juche to judaism and other religious beliefs is like comparing a rhinoceros to a penguin. Feel free to disagree.

Hat tip- Marmot's Hole
Linked to- Adam, Morewhat, Right Wing Nation, StikNstein,

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